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Friday round-up

The commentary on this week’s oral argument in McDonald v. Chicago continues in full force today.  The WSJ Law Blog’s Ashby Jones, Balkinization, PrawfsBlawg, and The Economist all discuss the debate over whether the Court should rely on the Privileges or Immunities Clause or instead the Due Process Clause.  And a second piece at Balkinization today argues that instead of overturning the Slaughter-House Cases, as the petitioners suggested, the Court should overturn its 1875 decision in United States v. Cruikshank, which held that the Bill of Rights did not “grant” most rights, but instead “secured” them against government interference.  The Christian Science Monitor’s Warren Richey, also turning to history to assess the case, comments on the absence at oral argument of any discussion the Second Amendment’s original militia-focused intent.

At The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen speculates that the Court’s expected ruling extending the Second Amendment will effect a “sea change” in gun ordinance policy, while in an opinion piece at the Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman characterizes the basic rationale behind Chicago’s gun ban as “flawed,” observing that the law fails to keep guns away from individuals with actual felonious intent, and that such bans are particularly misguided at the local level.  Tony Mauro, writing for the BLT, reflects on some recent commentary on the case by Douglas Kmiec, the U.S. Ambassador to Malta and a professor at Pepperdine Law School.  Finally, in the second portion of a two-part series, Adam Winkler observes at ACSblog that, during the McDonald argument, the Justices appeared inclined to leave state and local governments with a good deal of leeway for the “reasonable regulation” of firearms. (The first part of Winkler’s piece was posted at ACSblog on Wednesday.)

Following up on the decision by Chief Justice Roberts not to block a D.C. court order permitting same-sex marriage in the District, the New York Times covers the subsequent rush to city hall for marriage licenses, which were issued there starting on Wednesday.  Ashby Jones of the WSJ Law Blog covers the D.C. marriage equality controversy as well, and Lyle reported on the Chief Justice’s decision Tuesday on this blog.


  • Assessing this term’s “honest services fraud” cases, an editorial today in the Los Angeles Times urges the Court to strike down the law in question on the basis that it is “vague and open-ended.”
  • The Baltimore Sun reports on an appearance by former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on a panel convened by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler to discuss judicial reforms.  According to the Sun, O’Connor used the opportunity to call, as she has in the past, for an end to judicial elections.
  • The Hartford Courant has coverage of the Court’s denial of cert. on Monday in Sincerely Yours, Inc. v. Cooper, in which a church-operated post office had challenged a lower court ruling ordering it to remove religious materials from its postal counter.
  • On Wednesday, the Court hosted U.K. Supreme Court president Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, and Washington Briefs covers the visit.
  • Following the Court’s per curiam order last week vacating the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Kiyemba v. Obama, David J. Cynamon opines at ACSblog that the ruling is a positive one for Guantánamo detainees who have already won their habeas corpus challenges.  By suggesting that the lower court’s ruling might pose a threat to Boumediene, Cynamon argues, the Supreme Court has lifted – at least for now – the “perceived constraints” on the release of detainees awaiting release after successfully challenging their detention.
  • In response to Tom’s post on this blog anticipating Justice Stevens’s upcoming retirement, Above the Law’s latest edition of FantasySCOTUS analysis examines Stevens’s behavior in the fourteen cases decided so far this Term.