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Tuesday round-up

At the WSJ Law Blog, Ashby Jones summarizes Jeffrey Toobin’s profile (in this week’s New Yorker) of Justice John Paul Stevens, which he characterizes as “among the most compelling, surprising and interesting pieces to emerge out of the legal world.”  USA Today covers the New Yorker piece as well, predicting a pitched battle over the next Supreme Court nomination if Justice Stevens does decide to retire, while ACSblog highlights Toobin’s analysis of Justice Stevens’s work on decisions involving military detainees.  On NPR’s Fresh Air, Toobin discusses both his article and some of the higher-profile cases Justice Stevens and his colleagues are set to decide this term.  The Huffington Post and The Economist also cover the article, which James Bickford and Lyle Denniston both discussed yesterday for this blog.

In yesterday’s Washington Post, Scott Wilson reported on President Obama’s efforts to mitigate the effects of Citizens United – a push which, according to Wilson, could politicize the rest of this year’s legislative calendar and force Republicans to choose between supporting the President and defending corporate interests.  And at the Post’s Political Bookworm page, Jeffrey Rosen analyzes the President’s outspoken criticism of the Court’s reasoning in Citizens.  Jeffrey Toobin, in an opinion piece at CNN, discusses the Citizens dispute and the ensuing debate about the Court’s role more generally; Toobin also discusses both Virginia Thomas’s political activism and Justice Stevens’s possible retirement in the context of the dispute.

The announcement that Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, has launched a non-profit “tea party” group continues to garner attention.  At NPR, Nina Totenberg offers an overview of the new organization and reports that Mrs. Thomas’ work has raised questions with regard to possible conflicts of interest for her husband, a sentiment echoed by Ashby Jones in the WSJ Law Blog.  FoxNews covers the creation of the new group here and here, while Robert Barnes and Dan Eggen of the Washington Post discuss Mrs. Thomas’s work in context of the recent tension between the White House and the Court’s conservatives.  Above the Law also has coverage of Mrs. Thomas’s new venture, and it features short profiles of the other seven Supreme Court spouses.


  • The ACLU’s Matt Coles, in the second installment of a two-part article at the Huffington Post, speculates on the possible outcomes if the California Prop 8 case were to reach the Supreme Court.
  • Looking back at the Court’s March 2 ruling in Johnson v. United States, the Florida Times-Union reports on the decision’s broader implications for the sentencing of so-called armed career criminals.  In Johnson, the Court found that a Jacksonville man’s fifteen-year sentence for the unlawful transportation of firearms should be reduced because Florida’s simple battery statute could not be used to enhance the man’s sentence.
  • At the National Law Journal (via, Tresa Baldas reports that a number of states have either passed or are considering legislation to end life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, in advance of anticipated rulings by the Court on the issue in Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida.
  • Howard Wasserman, writing for PrawfsBlawg, covers the recent introduction of a working version of the Notice Pleading Restoration Act of 2010, which provides that the standards applicable on May 20, 2007 – the day Bell Atlantic v. Twombly was decided – should govern motions to dismiss, strike, or for judgment on the pleadings.  Wasserman also comments on a forthcoming Iowa Law Review Bulletin piece criticizing the movement to overturn Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal.
  • Also at PrawfsBlawg, Rick Hills comments on the oral argument in McDonald v. Chicago, speculating that the Court will “Grutter-ize” the Second Amendment by determining that gun ownership is a fundamental individual right, while allowing states to continue to regulate gun ownership as long as a federal judge determines that the regulations are the “least intrusive means” possible.
  • In the L.A. Times, James Oliphant reports that the pace of President Obama’s judicial nominations – which has been slow relative to that of George W. Bush in the first year of his presidency – has distressed many of his liberal supporters.
  • Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy recaps Saturday’s Washington Post piece on one public relations firm’s response to the Citizens United ruling, writing that the steps taken by Murray Hill, Inc. to run for political office reflect an effort to demonstrate that because corporations cannot run for office, they should not be able to contribute money to political campaigns.
  • A piece by Sherry F. Colb, a professor at Cornell Law School, on the implications of last month’s ruling in Florida v. Powell is available at
  • Finally, Above the Law features the winners of its own caption contest for a recent SCOTUS-related New Yorker cartoon.