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Thursday round-up

After another busy day at the Court yesterday – with two more decisions and two more oral arguments – the headlines are full of cases argued or decided this week.  By far the center of attention is the decision in Padilla v. Kentucky that an immigrant’s lawyer must inform him if a plea bargain is likely to result in deportation.  Among others, the New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, USAToday, National Law Journal, CNN, and NPR all have coverage.

In its story on the decision, the American Bar Association’s Journal quotes ABA President Carolyn Lamm praising the ruling, which she said “acknowledges that deportation can be an even more important penalty” than a jail sentence. Elizabeth Wydra, on the Center for Constitutional Accountability’s Text & History blog, expresses concern that Justice Scalia’s dissent reads too narrowly the constitutional right to counsel.

Tuesday’s ruling in Jones v. Harris Associates is still in the news as well.  Sam Mamudi’s story in the Wall Street Journal predicts that “mutual-fund investors might soon see lower fees for their investments” after the decision.  Law professors John Morley and Quinn Curtis, quoted at the Conglomerate, assert that the opinion is “built on fundamental misunderstandings of the structure of mutual funds.”

The Court dealt with another immigration case yesterday, as David Savage of the Los Angeles Times reports. In Carchuri-Rosendo v. Holder, the Court considered whether a Mexican immigrant could appeal a deportation order following his conviction for two misdemeanor drug offenses.

Yesterday’s decision in Shady Grove Orthopedic v. Allstate Insurance, which allows a class action lawsuit to go forward, is perhaps most noted in the press for, as the Wall Street Journal‘s coverage puts it, an “unusual ideological split among the justices.” Justice Scalia authored the Court’s opinion, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Stevens, Thomas, and Sotomayor.  Daniel Fisher at Forbes focuses on the split in a story titled “Stop the Presses: Scalia Defends Class Actions.”

In light of all this week’s decisions, John Elwood at the Volokh Conspiracy predicts who will author opinions in the cases remaining to be decided from the October Sitting.

Jordan Weissman at the BLT reports that in yesterday’s oral argument in Robertson v. United States ex rel. Watson, four justices appeared unsettled by a Washington, D.C. law allowing victims of domestic abuse to instigate private prosecutions enforcing restraining orders.  At Crime and Consequences, Lauren Altdoerffer describes reactions of other Justices that seemed more favorable to the law.

Tony Mauro at the BLT speculates that, in Tuesday’s oral argument in the criminal sentencing case Dillon v. United States, Justice Kennedy was criticizing President Obama’s failure to use his pardon power since taking office when he commented: “And how many commutations last year? None. How many commutations the year before? Five. Does this show that something is not working in the system?”  After CNN’s coverage of the more boisterous parts of Barber v. Thomas, another argument that day (see the original CNN article here), David Lat at Above the Law uses the dialogue to illustrate a series of practice pointers.

Follow-up coverage of the January Citizens United decision continues full-bore.  Dan Eggen at the Washington Post reports that the political advocacy group Citizens United is now challenging the one aspect of the case that they lost, on an 8-1 vote: disclosure requirements.  At The Hill’s campaign blog, Emily Goodin reports that campaign finance experts do not expect now-freer corporate spending to have tilted the political fundraising scales much during the first quarter of 2010, which ended yesterday, because corporations and unions “tend to save their funds for a final campaign push.”  Brian Mooney at the Boston Globe notes that the ruling did, however, change state law in Massachusetts.

Kurt Lash at PrawfsBlawg discusses an argument about the drafting of the Fourteenth Amendment Privileges or Immunities Clause that he believes the petitioners in McDonald v. Chicago should have made.

Lyle Denniston of this blog adds his thoughts to the discussion about the Court’s potential review of healthcare legislation, writing on Peter Jennings’ blog that “the [healthcare] challengers may have a hard time getting the courts even to consider the constitutionality of the new law, and, even if the courts do opt to grapple with that ultimate question, it may be very hard to convince them that the law must be struck down.”


  • Jeff Shesol’s newly released book Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt v. the Supreme Court is reviewed on NPR (with an excerpt from the book).
  • Jesse Holland of the Associated Press (via the Washington Post) covers Justice Breyer’s remarks at Johns Hopkins yesterday, where the Justice reiterated his view that U.S. judges ought to be able to read and cite foreign legal opinions in making their decisions on the bench.
  • Fredreka Schouten at USAToday follows progress in the movement to end the use of elections to select state judges, which former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has made her signature cause and Justice Ginsburg publicly endorsed in March.
  • Josh Blackman at his blog analyzes how FantasySCOTUS predictions about the outcomes in particular cases have changed over the course of the Term.

CORRECTION: This post originally described the subject of the Above the Law post above as the Dillon v. United States, rather than Barber v. Thomas, oral argument.