Breaking News

Friday round-up

Discussing a recent poll (which Erin covered yesterday on this blog) on public perceptions of last month’s Citizens United decision, PrawfsBlawg’s Robin Effron notes in a post today that it is unclear whether Americans believe that the ruling is simply erroneous or instead disapprove of its implications for campaign finance.  However, Effron speculates, public perceptions of why the ruling is erroneous should inform the growing push for new campaign finance legislation in response to the decision.

Also opining on the response to the Citizens decision, an L.A. Times editorial argues that in its efforts to mitigate the impact of the ruling, Congress needs to think carefully about balancing campaign-spending concerns with First Amendment considerations, increasing disclosure requirements to permit voters to make informed decisions, rather than working to effectively negate the ruling altogether.  ACSblog, discussing a recent New Republic column, speculates that the decision’s “polarizing” effect might signal a trend within the Roberts Court away from narrow rulings and towards decisions split along ideological lines.  And at the Daily Journal (via How Appealing), Lawrence Hurley predicts that the decision’s First Amendment implications might bode well for other free speech cases on the Court’s docket this Term, such as Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project and Milavetz v. United States.

Jess Bravin, writing for the Wall Street Journal, previews the upcoming oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, highlighting the legal history surrounding the case and the unexpected alliances and rifts that have developed between gun-rights advocates and opponents in the months leading up to the argument date.  Bloomberg News also examines the issues at stake in McDonald in an article published today.  As Lyle reports on this blog, the stakes in McDonald were raised yesterday when the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments.
Today, tobacco giant Philip Morris filed a cert. petition seeking review of a D.C. Circuit ruling, the Wall Street Journal reports, affirming a trial court’s finding that the cigarette maker violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by intentionally concealing information about the dangers of smoking from the public.  The Huffington Post and the AP also have coverage of the case.

Continuing the speculation over the next SCOTUS nominations, Jeffrey Rosen writes in the Washington Post that President Obama, already plagued by criticism of his judicial focus and his willingness to compromise, would be qualified for another high-profile position: Supreme Court Justice. Rosen points to Obama’s legal credentials, his commitment to constitutional values and judicial restraint, and his economic populism, noting that these factors could theoretically make the president a well-qualified and well-prepared Justice.  Lawrence Cunningham at Concurring Opinions discusses Rosen’s article, highlighting the possible routes by which the President could make the switch.

At PrawfsBlawg, Aaron Bruhl highlights a GVR (Grant-Vacate-Remand) order from one of January’s orders lists.  The Court generally “GVRs” when it wants lower courts to reconsider a case in light of new developments, but in this case, Linton v. United States, the Court asked the Fourth Circuit to reconsider in the context of United States v. Booker – which it decided five years ago.

Finally, following on the Court’s order last month blocking the broadcast of the California Proposition 8 trial, another commentator has joined the debate over live broadcasting in the courtroom: Judith Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy, argued in an interview on Wednesday night that oral arguments in the Supreme Court and elsewhere should be televised, The BLT reports.