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Monday round-up

Not surprisingly, coverage of last week’s oral argument in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the challenge to Chicago’s handgun ban, continues.  At ACSblog, David H. Gans opines that Alan Gura, who represented McDonald, made the “right decision” when he urged the Court to rely on the Privileges or Immunities Clause, notwithstanding that the argument received a “chilly reception” from the Court.  George Will of the Washington Post also supports a restoration of the Privileges or Immunities clause, which in his view would provide “useful protection against the statism of the states.”

Writing at, Calvin Johnson urges the Court to eschew secondary histories in favor of digital searches of the “surviving documents from the adoption of the Constitution.”  In the McDonald case, Johnson contends, the digital archives support Chicago’s arguments in favor of the handgun ban. And the Columbus Dispatch has this editorial supporting local and state gun regulations.

The Court also heard argument last week in Samantar v. Yousuf.  Chimene Keitner at Opinio Juris predicts that the outcome of the case will likely hinge on whether the Court concludes that Congress was “addressing a significant but narrow problem” when it enacted the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act in 1976 and simply did not address the immunity of current or former officials, or whether the Court instead “feels compelled” to rule on the individual immunity issue “without any statutory guidance.”   [Disclosure:  Akin Gump and Howe & Russell represented the respondents in the case.]


  • John Yoo, the Justice Department lawyer who authored memos authorizing simulated drowning, was a clerk for Justice Thomas; David Savage of the Los Angeles Times observes that their similar stances on cruel and unusual punishment “represent[ ] a strain of conservative thinking that looks back in history to define cruelty and torture.”
  • Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers reports that the Court’s opinion in Maryland v. Shatzer will likely make it easier to prosecute Ingmar Guandique, who is accused of killing congressional intern Chandra Levy.
  • In the Washington Post, Robert Barnes explores the possibility that President Obama would feel compelled to nominate a Protestant to the Court if Justice John Paul Stevens were to retire, leaving the Court with six Catholic and two Jewish Justices.
  • Last week, the Australian Federal Court released a decision in Habib v. Commonwealth of Australia which quoted extensively from three United States Supreme Court cases that examined similar issues, reports Evan Criddle of PrawfsBlawg.
  • The Center for Competitive Politics recently released a poll on Citizens United, and The Foundry reports.