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Friday round-up

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, by a vote of thirteen to six, passed a bill and resolution – which will now go to the full Senate for consideration – that would require the Court to televise oral arguments unless the Justices vote, in a particular case, to bar coverage. The BLT reports on yesterday’s Senate hearing, as does the AP; Matt Sundquist also previewed the Senate hearing yesterday for this blog.

Also yesterday, legislation was introduced to respond to the Court’s decision in Citizens United. The new bill, which would establish strict disclosure requirements on large corporations contributing to electoral campaigns and limit opportunities for foreign-owned corporations to participate in campaign spending, was lauded by President Obama in a statement issued yesterday by the White House, Politico reports.  CNN, the Miami Herald, NPR, and the BLT also have coverage of the new bill, aptly titled the DISCLOSE Act; at the Huffington Post, former Senator Bob Kerrey encourages Congress to support the new legislation.

Continuing the speculation over Justice Stevens’ successor, Jeff Shesol, in a piece at the Huffington Post, comments on President Obama’s opposition to “judicial activism” in his search for a nominee.  ACSblog and the New York Times cover the President’s comments on judicial restraint as well.  At the New York Times’ Room for Debate column, eight commentators set out the criteria they believe the President should use in selecting a new candidate for the Court, including real-world experience, interpersonal skills, and a commitment to judicial limits. At The Hill, Russell Berman identifies sources who say the President is unlikely to nominate another African-American Justice, while at U.S. News, Kenneth T. Walsh discusses predictions that the nomination will lead to a pitted partisan battle.  At PrawfsBlawg, Jonathan Siegel discusses the nomination process as well, criticizing commentators who have suggested that the President should nominate a nonlawyer.

Turning to some of the “short-listed” candidates seen as likely options for a Supreme Court pick, the Huffington Post reports on current Solicitor General Elena Kagan, noting that during the Bush Administration years she endorsed several controversial Bush appointments, including those of Michael McConnell, who served on the Tenth Circuit for several years, and Federalist Society co-founder Peter Keisler, whose nominations to the Fourth and D.C. Circuits were blocked.  And the AP, CNN, the WSJ Law Blog, and Reuters all report that President Obama met recently with Judge Sidney Thomas of the Ninth Circuit, sparking speculation that the Montana judge could be a top contender for the nomination.  CNN also reports on recent top-level meetings, which may suggest that the Administration is close to selecting its nominee.

The Washington Post and ABC News report that a joint poll conducted by the two news outlets has revealed that the public hopes President Obama will nominate a candidate with experience on the bench.  In addition, contrary to recent complaints by the Democratic leadership, the poll reveals that the public feels the Court is either balanced or too liberal.

Following Wednesday’s decision in Salazar v. Buono, a number of news sources continue to comment on the implications of the decision.  At NPR, Nina Totenberg recaps the Court’s opinion and highlights both sides’ interpretations of its implications.  Tony Mauro covers the ruling for the National Law Journal, and also writes at the website of the First Amendment Center that the dispute over the placement of a Christian cross on what was until recently public land will likely continue in the lower courts.  An opinion piece at the Los Angeles Times argues that the Justices’ willingness to accept Justice Kennedy’s interpretation of the cross as a symbol used to honor heroic acts, rather than simply as a reaffirmation of the Christian faith, is “disturbing,” while Jeff Schweitzer at the Huffington Post criticizes the Court for what he describes as the “judicial activism” and “religious extremism” in its ruling.  The New York Times also has an editorial on the decision, which it characterizes as “likely to encourage those who want to entangle government and religion.”  Two local Southern California publications – the Press-Enterprise and the San Diego Union Tribune – offer a local angle on the ruling, which concerns a parcel of land in Southern California.  (Lyle Denniston also recapped the ruling on Wednesday for this blog.)

Following up on this week’s arguments – which are expected to be the last of both the Term  and Justice Stevens’ tenure as a Supreme Court Justice – the Seattle Times has local coverage of Doe v. Reed, in which the Court heard arguments on Wednesday regarding the disclosure of signatures on a petition.  The Constitutional Accountability Center’s David Gans also discusses the argument, on the Center’s Text and History blog.  (Lyle Denniston and Tom Goldstein both recapped the argument Wednesday on this blog.)  And covering Tuesday’s argument, TAPPED (the blog of The American Prospect) reports on Monsanto Co. v. Geerston Seed Farms, which Josh Patashnik previewed for SCOTUSblog earlier this week.

Finally, at Slate, Rick Hasen comments on last week’s decision in United States v. Stevens – specifically, on Justice Alito’s lone dissent, in which he argued that a law banning the creation and sale of depictions of animal cruelty is constitutional.  Justice Alito’s stance, Hasen argues, stands in contrast to his record as a “free speech zealot,” including his position on January’s Citizens United ruling.