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Thursday round-up

Today, the debate continues over remarks made Tuesday at the University of Alabama by Chief Justice John Roberts, who responded to a question regarding President Obama’s criticism of the Court’s Citizens United ruling by noting that although anyone is free to criticize the Court, the atmosphere at January’s State of the Union Address was “very troubling.”  Ashby Jones at the WSJ Law Blog reports on the Chief Justice’s comments, while at the Huffington Post, James Sample examines both the Court’s ruling in Citizens and the Chief Justice’s decision to express his displeasure with President Obama’s assessment.  Paul Horwitz, writing for PrawfsBlawg, also recaps the University of Alabama speech and suggests that the tradition of the justices attending the State of the Union address be replaced by “an annual private dinner for the Court at the White House.”  At the Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Anne Kornblut observe that the President and the Court have “waded again into unfamiliar and strikingly personal territory,” while at the Post’s Post-Partisan Blog, Eva Rodriguez jokes that perhaps Chief Justice Roberts should sell his State of the Union ticket next year.

Characterizing the dispute as “ridiculous” and arguing that the administration seems to “think it should always have the last word,” Jan Crawford opines at CBS that the president might be working against his own interests by challenging the Court.  At the Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin reports on the reaction of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the Chief Justice’s remarks, while Fox News reports that the Chief Justice’s remarks garnered support from Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Jeff Sessions.  Dahlia Lithwick, writing for Slate, chides Chief Justice Roberts for “lobbing long-distance partisan attacks,” a sentiment seconded by Post-Partisan’s Jo-Ann Armao.  ACSblog and Above the Law also have coverage of the Chief Justice’s remarks, and a podcast of his speech is available via How Appealing.

JURIST reports on a hearing held Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee to address new legislative efforts directed at limiting the effects of the Citizens United ruling. Following the hearing, the Constitutional Accountability Center released a report (available at ACSblog) on corporate personhood and the Constitution.  At its own blog, the Center for Competitive Politics also recaps some highlights from the hearing.

Continuing the post-game analysis of McDonald v. Chicago, Tony Mauro reports for on the coalition of academics and advocacy groups – both liberal and conservative – which agreed that the petitioners should pursue the Privileges or Immunities Clause strategy; describing the Court’s reaction to the strategy at oral argument, Mauro observes that “[i]n the space of a dramatic few minutes, an entire movement in the law seemingly crashed and burned.”

At Vanity Fair, Andrew Cohen has a piece on Kansas-based preacher Fred Phelps, one of the respondents in Snyder v. Phelps, in which the Court granted cert. on Monday.  Characterizing Phelps’s speech as “cruel,” Cohen predicts that the Court will reinstate a monetary award granted to the serviceman’s family after they convinced a trial court that they were unable to avoid Phelps’s message while attending the funeral.