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Wednesday round-up

The leading topic in the news is today’s upcoming argument in American Needle v. NFL. The Wall Street Journal editorial page urges the Court to affirm the lower court decision, arguing that the League should not be subject to antitrust law because consumers are not harmed by its economic collaboration.  The New York Times takes the opposite posture, arguing that a ruling in the NFL’s favor would grant it license to inflate prices for its team insignia.

The WSJ Law Blog has a piece predicting that “much could turn on” whether the League is viewed as a single entity or multiple teams under federal antitrust law. Above the Law previews the case, offering details about the case’s procedural history, as does USA Today.

At Above the Law, David Lat discusses the debate over permitting cameras in the courtroom of the California Proposition 8 trial, coming down strongly in support of allowing the cameras.  He quotes extensively from the report on the matter by Lyle Denniston of this blog.  Meanwhile, Ashby Jones of the WSJ Law Blog focuses on the endorsement of cameras by chief judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit, and predicts that the debate over televised proceedings in federal courts might soon be “coming to a head.”  Ed Whelan, on his blog at the National Review Online, remarks on what he sees as the “joint gamesmanship of Judge Walker and Ninth Circuit chief judge Alex Kozinski in support of their goal of televising the anti-Proposition 8 show trial.”  Finally, Law Dork posts a video interview of the two lawyers arguing the case, Ted Olson and David Boies, from The Rachel Maddow show.

Nor, of course, is the controversy of video cameras in the courtroom unfamiliar in the Court itself.  At Huffington Post, the technology and innovations editor laments that “the judicial branch in general and SCOTUS in particular feel distant — out of touch, even.”

Another recurring headline is Comstock v. United States, a case challenging the authority of the federal government to incarcerate a sex offender after he has served his sentence.  However, as Douglas Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy points out, different journalists’ takes on the argument see the reaction of the Court quite differently.  Bloomberg says the law got resounding support, while Reuters says the Court “questioned” the law.  Corey Rayburn Young at the SexCrimes blog – continuing its extensive coverage of Comstock – raises “key points” from the oral argument, suggesting that the Justices were largely sympathetic to the law, analogizing it to the commitment of those who are acquitted based on a plea of insanity and the regulation of certain communicable diseases; he thinks Justice Ginsburg, at least, will vote to uphold the law.  At The Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin opines that the government’s position is weak, but tentatively predicts that the four more liberal Justices will vote for it.  Additional news coverage of the Comstock argument is available at the L.A. Times, the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal.

Dahlia Lithwick has an article at Slate on the oral argument in Abbott v. Abbott, the international child custody case argued yesterday.

The earlier oral argument Monday in the Miranda rights case Briscoe v. Virginia is still making news.  Lauren Altdoerffer at Crime and Consequences suggests that Justice Scalia’s concern that prosecutors at trial could get around the requirement to call as a witness the author of a lab report used as evidence “may be what ultimately decides” the case.  The Christian Science Monitor and NPR have their own stories on the oral argument.

On a lighter note, the BLT reports that Solicitor General Elena Kagan accidentally called Scalia “Chief Justice” during oral argument in Comstock yesterday, but quickly recovered with the quip, “I didn’t mean to promote you quite so quickly.”

Briefly: UPI announces that DNA of Asian carp – fish the threat of which recently motivated a lawsuit by the State of Michigan against the State of Illinois – was found in waters near Lake Michigan.  The ABA Journal reports on the Court’s reinstatement of the death sentence of Frank Spisak in Smith v. Spisak, decided Tuesday.