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Thursday round-up

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that sixty-five percent of Americans polled “strongly oppose” “the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that says corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections” (look to questions 35 and 36, or see the Court-related excerpt here). The Washington Post zeroes in on the similar results across party lines, while Cato@Liberty responds that not all law should be approved by majorities.  ACSblog and Bloomberg also cover the poll.

In other news relating to Citizens United, Jeff Rosen suggests in The New Republic that the decision was “precisely the kind of divisive and unnecessarily sweeping opinion that Chief Justice John Roberts had once pledged to avoid.”  The L.A. Times reports that Los Angeles and San Diego have removed their local restrictions on corporate and union spending on elections.  At Fox News, Harry Diamond, CEO of a multinational public relations firm, predicts that independent voters will not be persuaded by direct advertising from either businesses or unions in the wake of Citizens.  The American Constitution Society Blog also announces an event on the consequences of Citizens.

At Slate, Rebecca Crootof and Oona Hathaway caution that a dismissal of Kiyemba v. Obama – which raises the authority of federal judges to order government detainees released into the United States – would “represent an exceedingly transparent effort by the court to avoid conflict with the president and to dodge wrestling with the difficult questions presented by this case.”  Last week the Court ordered supplemental briefs in the case to address the issue of dismissal.

David Savage of the L.A. Times previews Holder v. Humanitarian Law  Project, a challenge to the law prohibiting the provision of aid to a designated terrorist organization.

At The New Republic, Richard Posner reviews Jeff Shesol’s new book, Franklin Roosevelt Versus the Supreme Court, praising it as “timely” because of what he regards as the parallels between Roosevelt and President Obama.

Lyrissa Lidsky at PrawfsBlawg critiques the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Doe v. Reed, slated for argument in April, and she predicts that oral arguments will focus on the question whether to apply intermediate scrutiny to the petitioners’ claims that their identities should remain anonymous.

The AP (via NPR) reports that local officials are trawling Lake Michigan for the suspected invasion of Asian carp that caused Michigan to seek an injunction to shut down the Chicago locks.  The Wall Street Journal reports on calls for a more fundamental solution: reconstructing the man-made barriers to the Chicago River.  The New York Times editorial page weighs in, too, suggesting that measures proposed by the federal government to stop the carp may be inadequate to save Lake Michigan.

In response to a letter by screenwriter Daniel Turkewitz asking for clarification of the law on state secession, Justice Scalia wrote a reply that has been caught up by the WSJ Law Blog: “the answer is clear” that, as the Civil War settled, secession is illegal.  The issue was raised by a recent forum on The Volokh Conspiracy, where Eugene Volokh disagrees with the Justice.


  • The Cato Institute has produced a series of audio pieces with commentary from its scholars, including one by Ilya Shapiro on the Privileges or Immunities Clause.  You can read the paper on which Shapiro’s piece is based here.
  • Also at PrawfsBlawg, Aaron Bruhl discusses the relatively rare request for a response in a petition for rehearing, Melson v. Allen.
  • At the New York Times blog Economix, Casey Mulligan explains how, if the Citizens decision produces less campaign spending on candidates who support entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, the Court could have helped balance the federal budget.

CORRECTION: This post originally named the author of the above-mentioned letter to Justice Scalia as Eric Turkewitz, when it was in fact his brother Daniel.