Breaking News

Thursday round-up

Plans for a legislative response to the Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC were much in the news yesterday. Ryan Grim of The Huffington Post reports that “House Democrats are forming a Citizens United task force to decide on the best set of legislative push back[s].” The BLT has a post on yesterday’s House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the issue, headlined by Harvard’s Laurence Tribe as a witness. In a separate post, the BLT’s David Ingram writes that the idea of banning books looms over the debate: “In two congressional hearings today, advocates for corporate and union spending in campaigns ridiculed the idea that the federal government can ban books, suggesting that they plan to use the specter of extreme censorship to try to block any new legislation.” NPR has a report on yesterday’s hearings, and Yale’s Heather Gerken—author of yesterday’s post on this blog about Justice Kennedy and race—links to her submitted testimony at Balkinization (which is also highlighted at ACSblog).

In the New York Times, Adam Liptak reports on Justice Thomas’s remarks on Tuesday to law students at Stetson University in Florida.  During his speech, Thomas “vigorously defended” the Court’s Citizens United ruling and said that he does not attend the State of the Union address “because the gatherings ha[ve] turned so partisan.” WUSF offers an audio recording of the speech, and Josh Blackman transcribes some excerpts. The St. Petersburg Times also has coverage.

Justice Thomas visits the University of Florida today and will take questions from four law students, according to the Gainesville Sun.  That appearance will be webcast here.

Justice Kennedy was not as forthcoming as Justice Thomas in a speech to Los Angeles lawyers at Pepperdine.  The L.A. Times reports that Justice Kennedy “criticized California sentencing policies and crowded prisons Wednesday night, calling the influence that unionized prison guards had in passing the three-strikes law ‘sick.’ . . . But he sidestepped the audience’s efforts to draw him out” on Citizens United.

Lyle Denniston of this blog reports that two of the seven petitioning Uighurs in the detention case Kiyemba v. Obama have been given an opportunity to resettle in Switzerland. The Associated Press (via NPR) writes that now “[a]t least, the administration will be able to say every Uighur still at Guantanamo has been offered a place to go. . . . The administration could use the changed circumstances to argue that the court should drop the case even before it is argued.”  Lyle links to a letter to the Court from the Uighurs’ lawyer insisting that the case should continue.


  • Tony Mauro writes at the BLT about new Supreme Court rules, particularly one that reduces the maximum word count for a reply brief at the merits stage to 6,000 from 7,500. Practitioners are concerned that with the “‘explosion of amicus practice, it [will be] very difficult to respond adequately to both the respondent’s brief and those of the respondents’ amici in the more limited number of words.’”
  • Marvin Ammori writes for Balkinization about a new cert. petition from Cablevision that “may be the next Citizens United.” (We discussed the case in this round-up post in December.)
  • Jonathan Adler of the Volokh Conspiracy takes note of an opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, sitting by designation on the Sixth Circuit.
  • UniversalHUB reports that the petitioner in last Term’s Confrontation Clause case, Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, had his conviction reversed yesterday by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.