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Wednesday round-up

The unfolding impact of the Citizens United decision remains in the news.  On NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” NPR’s Peter Overby, Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig, and former Republican strategist Dan Schnur discuss the ruling’s effect on the upcoming midterm elections. has video of a panel discussion on how Citizens United will affect nonprofit organizations, an event sponsored by the Hudson Institute, the Alliance for Justice, the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest, and OMB Watch.  And today’s New York Times features an editorial describing the Schumer-Van Hollen bill, a legislative response to Citizens United, as a “welcome, if partial, fix”: “[o]ne important element missing is a requirement that shareholders approve of campaign expenditures.”

Amidst recent online chatter about whether states have a right to secede emerges a 2006 letter from Justice Scalia, written to a writer seeking advice for a screenplay.  Justice Scalia’s take?: “[T]he answer is clear. If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)”  Eric Turkewitz of New York Personal Injury Law Blog has a copy of the letter, which was written to his brother, along with the letter’s back-story.

Justice Breyer’s visit to Yale for a pair of lectures (noted in yesterday’s round-up) is covered in stories in the Yale Daily News and the New Haven Register.  Breyer discussed Bush v. Gore, citing it “as an example of just how strong the rule of law is in this country,” according to the WSJ Law Blog.

On her Court Beat blog, USA Today’s Joan Biskupic reflects on the speculation that there could be two vacancies on the Court soon, and she catalogs “when retiring justices told us when they were going” in each such instance over the last twenty-five years. (Tom Goldstein of this blog gives his take on the speculation on our Twitter feed: “so much, grossly overblown discussion of ‘two vacancies’ this summer. Will. Not. Happen.”)

At the Volokh Conspiracy, John Elwood writes about a petition that has been relisted twice, Harrington v. Richter (09-587), which he characterizes as “in some ways a stereotype of a summary reversal candidate.”  (Indeed, this blog has deemed it a “petition to watch.”)  On the topic of summary reversals, Kevin Russell has a post on this blog analyzing the “unusually large number of summary reversals this term.”

Briefly, Doug Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy takes issue with a New York Times editorial, featured in yesterday’s round-up, on the Supreme Court and California’s three-strikes law; changes to Arizona’s judicial selection process, opposed by Justice O’Connor and covered in Monday’s round-up, have passed Arizona’s Senate Judiciary Committee, according to the East Valley Tribune; and Steven Skurka of writes about the impact of this Term’s trio of “honest services” cases (Black, Weyhrauch, and Skilling) on the prosecution of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.