on Mar 17, 2010 at 9:02 am
As the chatter over Jeffrey Toobinâ€™s profile of Justice Stevens quiets down, the debate over Virginia Thomasâ€™s new role at the helm of a Tea Party advocacy group continues unabated. Emily Bazelon of Slate writes that â€œthis has turned into the kind of roll-out Thomas couldn’t have planned betterâ€¦[A]ll the dragon-breathing makes for a great show.â€ In a post at the BLT, Tony Mauro investigates Thomasâ€™s statement that she was â€œvetted by the Supreme Court ethics office.â€Â According to Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg, it was a reference to the Courtâ€™s legal office, which Mauro describes in his post. The Atlanticâ€™s Andrew Cohen, Newsweekâ€™s The Gaggle blog, the New York Timesâ€™s The Caucus blog, and the Chicago Tribuneâ€™s The Swamp blog all have posts on the story.
Dahlia Lithwick, also of Slate, discusses the Courtâ€™s intersection with political life more generally.Â Lithwick describes a Justiceâ€™s â€œimpossible double-life, with one foot in the world of neutral, pristine-seeming legal rules and the other in the rough-and-tumble of politicsâ€¦[E]very once in a while the justices explode into the brutish, AM-radio world of Democrats vs. Republicansâ€”whether it’s Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, the State of the Union address, or a confirmation hearing.â€Â She concludes that â€œthe real lesson for the justices here is that no random act of partisan politics by any member of the court will ever go undetected againâ€¦[T]heir political action is always big news.â€
At the BLT, David Ingram reports that the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a conservative Christian litigation group, has aligned itself with some â€œunlikely alliesâ€ in opposition to the Courtâ€™s ruling last Term in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, a decision that raised the pleading standards for civil lawsuits.Â Gary McCaleb of the ADF sent a letter to senators in January to register ADFâ€™s views as the House and Senate held hearings on whether to restore the pre-Iqbal pleading standard through legislation. Ashby Jones picks up on the BLT story at the WSJ Law Blog and asks, â€œ[I]s [Iqbal] in some ways making life harder for defense lawyers?â€
Lawrence Lessig has an essay in the New Republic advocating for a constitutional amendment in response to Citizens United that â€œrestrict[s] freedom as little as possible.â€ Lessigâ€™s proposed language? â€œNothing in this Constitution shall be construed to restrict the power to limit, though not to ban, campaign expenditures of non-citizens of the United States during the last 60 days before an election.â€Â In other Citizens United news, NPRâ€™s All Things Considered features an interview with Eric Hensal, the man behind a Maryland PR firmâ€™s attempt to run for Congress.Â Hensal says that â€œthe American public should see the logic of this majority decision [Citizens United] played out to its conclusion.â€ Meanwhile, Citizens Unitedâ€”the winning party in the caseâ€”is threatening, on grounds of trademark infringement, a Wisconsin group named â€œCitizens United against Citizens Unitedâ€ that is protesting the Courtâ€™s decision.Â The Wisconsin State Journal has the report, which David Post discusses at the Volokh Conspiracy.
Daniel Solove has two posts at Concurring Opinions analyzing the tort issues at the heart of Snyder v. Phelps, the recently granted funeral-picketing case.Â Solove argues that Snyderâ€™s â€œintrusion upon seclusionâ€ and â€œintentional infliction of emotional distressâ€ claims are weak as matters of tort and First Amendment law. Howard Wasserman agrees at Prawfsblawg.
- At the Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh notes a pending petition on abortion clinic protests and the First Amendment (McCullen v. Coakley, No. 09-592). The petition is relisted for Fridayâ€™s conference and is one of this blogâ€™s Petitions to Watch.
- Joan Biskupic, on her Court Beat blog, discusses the Justicesâ€™ letter-writing habits and quotes notable correspondences by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Scalia.
- Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says the Court will reconsider Michiganâ€™s plea to temporarily close Chicagoâ€™s shipping locks to prevent an invasion of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. Barrie Barber of the Saginaw News has the story.
- JURIST reports on the Courtâ€™s refusal on Monday to stay the execution of an Ohio inmate challenging the stateâ€™s single-drug lethal injection procedure. Lawrence Reynoldsâ€™s execution had been delayed after a suicide attempt last week; he was executed yesterday.
- The Washington Postâ€™s Reliable Source blog reports that both Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg, to their mutual surprise, celebrated their March birthdays at the Inn at Little Washington on Saturday.