on Apr 20, 2010 at 9:50 am
Coverage ofÂ Christian Legal Society v. Martinez andÂ City of Ontario v. Quon dominates the Court-related headlines this morning. Anticipation ran high for Monday’s oral arguments in both cases; Mike Sacks ofÂ First One @ One First writes that the line began forming at noon on Sunday for those that sought to ensure themselves a seat in the courtroom.
Most of the coverage ofÂ Christian Legal Society noted whatÂ Warren Richey of theÂ Christian Science Monitor called the “sharply divided” nature of the justices’ lines of questioning.Â In her recap of the proceedings atÂ Slate, Dahlia Lithwick calls it an â€œunbelievably hard caseâ€ and sees the matter as indicative of the increasing polarization of the Court.Â InÂ NPRâ€™s coverage, Nina Totenberg also calls the oral argument â€œfast and furiousâ€ and characterizes the justicesâ€™ positions as â€œanimated and sharply divided.â€Â Joan Biskupic ofÂ USA Today writes that the Court â€œseemed divided along ideological grounds,â€ but she also notes the concern displayed by Justices Kennedy and Breyer about the sufficiency of the lower court record. Â Bob Egelko of theÂ San Francisco Chronicle, Lyle Deniston of SCTOUSblog, Adelle Banks at theÂ Huffington Post, Tony Mauro at theÂ National Law Journal, and James Vicini ofÂ Reuters also have coverage of the case.
In the first of a trio ofÂ CLS-related posts atÂ theÂ ACS Blog, Paul Cates of the ACLU editorializes in favor of the school and its policies, making several comparisons of CLSâ€™s position to historical clashes between religious expression and nondiscrimination policies; Cates concludes that â€œ[p]ublicly funded universities have a[n]â€¦imperative to ensure that tuition-paying students are not discriminated against.â€Â The ACS Blog also posted clips from itsÂ press brief on the case, as well as anÂ extended interview on the same subject with Ayesha Khan of Americans United for Separation of Church and State . Ashby Jones at theÂ WSJ Law Blog recaps the proceedings and concludes that the justices are â€œpretty well split along predictable lines.â€Â In a post on theÂ Baltimore Sunâ€™s blog, Rev. Jason Polling opines in favor of the petitioners, writing that â€œa learning environment, like a guitar string, is useless without some tension[.]â€Â Finally, looking ahead, atÂ The New York Times, Adam Liptak analyzes how the justices might one day rule on a same-sex marriage case through this monthâ€™s â€œproxy battlesâ€ ofÂ Christian Legal Society andÂ Doe v. Reed.
Leading coverage of the second case,Â Quon,Â Joan Biskupic’s recap of oral argument atÂ USA Today concludes that the Court, led by Justice Stevens during questioning, seems likely to rule in favor of the petitioner.Â Â AtÂ The New York Times, Adam Liptak asserted that problems with the record, among other issues, point toward â€œa limited ruling that might provide little guidance to government employers and perhaps none to private ones.â€Â David Savage of the L.A. Times also covered the story and similarly concluded the Court may decide the case based on Quonâ€™s status as a police officer, which would allow it to issue a narrower ruling.Â Lee Ross atÂ Fox News, Mark Sherman at theÂ AP, Lyle Deniston of SCOTUSblog, and Marcia Coyle at theÂ National Law Journal also have coverage of Mondayâ€™s argument.
In the blogosphere, Orin Kerr at theÂ Volokh Conspiracy shares his thoughts after Mondayâ€™s proceedings, writing that a compromise of sorts, hinted at by Justice Breyer during questioning, may allow the case to be resolved without delving into broader issues of Fourth Amendment privacy. Kerr also notes the Chief Justice appeared to be the strongest supporter of the respondentâ€™s position. In another post at theÂ Volokh Conspiracy, Kerr also raises his doubts about whether the Stored Communications Act was actually violated in the case, and he encourages the justices to reexamine the issue if the lower courtâ€™s decision is not binding. At theÂ Sentencing Law Blog, Douglas Berman writes that he expects the eventual ruling â€œto have inevitable echo effects into a lot of cybercrime and punishment matters.â€Â And at theÂ WSJ Law Blog, Ashby Jones takes a humorous look at some of the justicesâ€™ less-than-tech-savvy comments in their lines of questioning inÂ Quon.
At theÂ BLT, Tony Mauro covers the Courtâ€™s decision to deny cert. inÂ Hood v. Texas, the high-profile case in which the petitionerâ€™s lawyers asked for a new trial after it was discovered that the judge and the prosecutor had once been engaged in a romantic affair. Dianne Jennings at theÂ Dallas Morning News and Michael Graczyk of theÂ Houston Chronicle provide further coverage of the denial. Â James Vinici atÂ Reuters, Greg Stohr atÂ Bloomberg, and Melissa Allison of theÂ Seattle Times all cover the justicesâ€™ decision to grant cert. in the latest test of the so-called â€œgrey market,â€Â Costco v. Omega. Â Finally, Bill Mears atÂ CNN covers the Courtâ€™s various orders issued on Monday.
In other Court-related news, Robert Barnes of theÂ Washington Post discusses the possibility of allowing cameras in the Supreme Court, as Justices Breyer and Thomas discussed with members of Congress last week.Â Barnes notes that though Justice Breyer hinted that he would be receptive to the idea under the right circumstances, concern for the ramifications of televising criminal court proceedings, among other reservations, may prevent this change from occurring.
In nomination-related news:
- At theÂ Washington Post, Perry Bacon, Jr. reports that President Obama plans to meet on Wednesday with the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the nominees.Â Bacon also notes that the Senate Rules Committee will hold a hearing on the filibuster as Republicans continue to consider its use during the confirmation process.
- AtÂ Bloomberg, James Rowley and Kristin Jensen profile possible Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, noting in particular how the judge was affected by his work coordinating the federal investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing.
- In the Baltimore Sun,Â Dan Rodricks highlights several of Justice Stevensâ€™ pro-defendant opinions and calls the justiceâ€™s retirement the loss of a â€œvoice of reason against the war on drugs.â€
- In an editorial at theÂ L.A. Times, Princeton University provost Christopher Eisgruber studies howÂ Roe v. Wade has changed the Supreme Court nomination process and writes that President Obama will have a difficult time replacing the â€œquirky jurisprudenceâ€ and â€œimaginative independenceâ€ of Justice Stevens, the â€œlast justice appointed before the abortion debate changed the Court.â€
- An editorialist at theÂ New Jersey Star-Ledger calls the rhetoric of criticizing so-called â€œactivist judgesâ€ a â€œritual rhetorical clash that does neither party credit,â€ and the author opines that since President Obama will likely choose a nominee as liberal as Justice Stevens, â€œ[t]here would be no justification for the Republicans to block a nomineeâ€ on the basis of ideology.
- At theÂ Christian Science Monitorâ€™s Mises Economics Blog, Gary Galles quotes from the Founding Fathers in calling for a return to the principle of the Court as a defender of individual liberties against â€œencroachmentâ€¦by an overbearing national government.â€
- David Lat ofÂ Above the Law asserts that former President Clintonâ€™s recent comments may indicate his support for the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Court this summer.
- Mark Sherman of theÂ AP covers Justice Stevensâ€™ ninetieth birthday and draws comparisons between the justice and the Courtâ€™s only other nonagenarian, Justice Holmes. Â Mike Sacks of First One @ One First takes a humorous look at yesterday’s proceedings inÂ CLS in light of the justice’s birthday.
- TheÂ AP also briefly highlights the Courtâ€™s granting of cert. inÂ Staub v. Proctor Hospital.
- An editorialist atÂ The New York Times discourages the Court from hearingÂ Republican National Committee v. FEC, writing that the justices should not â€œcompound [the] mistake” ofÂ Citizens United v. FEC by striking down the standing ban on â€œsoft moneyâ€ contributions.