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Thursday round-up

The Court’s decision yesterday in Maryland v. Shatzer – holding that a suspect’s request for counsel is only valid for fourteen days if the suspect is released from custody during that time – dominates today’s news coverage of the Court.  Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press, Adam Liptak of the New York Times, James Vicini of Reuters, Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal, Jurist, LA Times, and all provide coverage of the case, as does NPR’s Nina Totenberg, whose story on the decision includes analysis by a law professor who describes the fourteen-day rule as “totally arbitrary” but ultimately a “good” one.

The controversial Citizens United v. FEC decision has continued to stir up emotions on the left.  Today, The Hill reports that Senator Chris Dodd has introduced a constitutional amendment that would overrule Citizens United by expressly authorizing Congress to regulate campaign finance. Senatas also reports that Dodd and co-sponsor Tom Udall “plan to support interim legislative efforts to blunt the effect of the Court’s ruling.”  The L.A. Times points out that California has long allowed corporations and unions to spend money to influence state races, and it suggests that the state may be a harbinger for what is to come after the Court’s decision.  The Boston Globe examines the possibility that some opponents of the decision may face a Catch-22 as they are forced to choose between refusing money from corporate sources and potentially losing influence while rivals avail themselves of such funding.

President Obama yesterday announced two nominees to the federal courts of appeals – the first such nominations since November.  In his story on the nominations, Michael Shear of the Washington Post also reports on a letter to the President by a group of law professors who urged the Administration to be “more aggressive in reshaping the judiciary by stepping up the pace of progressive nominations.”  The L.A. Times, BLT, and the WSJ Law Blog also have coverage of the nominations, with a focus on the nomination of Goodwin Liu – a thirty-nine-year-old constitutional law scholar who would, if confirmed, be the only Asian American serving full-time on the federal appeals court.

In anticipation of next Tuesday’s oral arguments, there are several previews of McDonald v. City of Chicago case, in which the Court will consider whether its 2008 landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller applies to the states.  Ilya Shapiro and Josh Blackman, writing for the Washington Times, contend that the Second Amendment could be “easily incorporated against the states through the” Due Process Clause, but they argue that resolving the case under the Privileges or Immunities Clause would both be “more historically accurate” and “prevent . . . judicial overreach.”  Lawrence Rosenthal, writing for the American Constitution Society Blog, observes that both liberals and conservatives alike favor overturning the Slaughter-House cases.


  • Ashby Jones of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog discusses Tom Goldstein’s piece for this blog, in which he predicts that Elena Kagan will be nominated to replace Justice John Paul Stevens when Stevens retires.  The National Review’s Ed Whelan describes Kagan as the “presumptive favorite” but highlights the extensive recusal obligations that a Solicitor-General-turned-Justice would face.  And Gerard Magliocca of Concurring Opinions shares Whelan’s recusal concern and deems it “not clear that Kagan has been a good Solicitor General.”
  • The New York Times Artsbeat Blog reports on Justice Scalia’s role as an unlikely “script doctor” in response to a screenwriter hoping to write a comedy about Maine seceding from the United States.  Justice Scalia expressed doubts about whether such a question could ever reach the Court, but he assured the aspiring writer that such a barrier could be overcome with artistic license.
  • Yesterday marked the 207th anniversary of judicial review of the constitutionality of statutes, established in Marbury v. Madison (Boston Globe)
  • Aaron Bruhl, writing for PrawfsBlawg, discusses the Court’s failure to act on the petition in Connick v. Thompson, which was one of the cases on the Court’s conference last Friday.  [The Court’s docket now reflects that the Court has called for the record in the case.]
  • David Savage of the L.A. Times chronicles the infelicitous tale behind Los Angeles County v. Humphries, in which the Court granted certiorari on Monday.