Breaking News

Wednesday round-up

Many journalists and Court watchers are focused on today’s oral argument in Doe v. Reed, a case about anonymity for political activists.  The argument will be the final one for the Term, as well as for Justice Stevens. Lyle Denniston previewed the argument for SCOTUSblog yesterday, and the Christian Science Monitor lays out the background of the case, as well. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Dick Carpenter draws on his own research to argue that “forcing people to comply with disclosure rules in order to exercise their First Amendment rights means many will stay silent or uninvolved—with little or no benefit to the public.” A Washington Post editorial argues for the opposite position. [Disclosure: my law school clinic represented amici supporting the respondents in the case.]

Yesterday, the Court heard oral argument in Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) case that Josh Patashnik previewed for SCOTUSblog. Courthouse News Service and the Associated Press (via the Washington Post) agree that the Justices were pointedly skeptical of the injunction issued and upheld by the lower courts. Glenn Sugameli, writing for ACSblog, recalls the perceived unlikelihood of the Monsanto petition being granted and reviews the Court’s recent record in environmental cases.

In addition to the Monsanto argument, the Court also announced decisions in Stolt-Nielson S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International and Merck & Co. v. Reynolds at yesterday’s sitting. Marcia Coyle reports for the National Law Journal that the Stolt-Nielson decision will almost immediately “ignite[] an intense battle in state and federal courts” over its implications. The Volokh Conspiracy’s John Elwood and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (in a series of three posts) dig into the opinion as well, while the WSJ Law Blog and Courthouse News Service offer further coverage. In Merck, the Court “closed off a ‘statute of limitations’ defense for Merck & Co. in its battle against Vioxx-related shareholder suits,” reports Tony Mauro for the Legal Times. The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, WSJ Law Blog, and Courthouse News Service have further coverage of Merck.

Monday’s cert. grant in Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, a case concerning a law banning the sale of violent video games to minors, is still in the headlines. Writing for the First Amendment Center, Tony Mauro highlights the lack of a circuit split on the issue, a circumstance that the State of California conceded in its cert. petition. Arguing that the Court should strike down the California law at issue in the case, Jared Newman of PCWorld observes that even without the law, “[v]ideo games [already] have a system of self-regulation that’s among the best in the entertainment industry.”

On the nomination front, SCOTUSblog’s Tom Goldstein revisits his February prediction that the President will nominate Elena Kagan to Justice Stevens’s seat, reiterating his earlier position. “I just now think that politics will have less to do with the choice,” he writes. Meanwhile, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald discusses Kagan’s hiring record as Harvard Law School’s dean. The New York Times profiles another “short-listed” possible nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, examining the impact of the Oklahoma City bombing on his career. In the Huffington Post, David Perez reflects on past Justices’ backgrounds to make the case that “Harold Koh is best person for the job.” Bloomberg reports that some Democratic Senators, including Dianne Feinstein, have warned President Obama not to “pick a fight” by choosing a controversial nominee for the Supreme Court. Finally, U.S. News & World Report has an interview with Bill Burck, who served as White House deputy counsel under George W. Bush, on preparing Supreme Court nominees for their confirmation hearings.


  • At the Volokh Conspiracy, John Elwood predicts which Justices are writing the outstanding decisions from the November and December sittings.
  • Lyle Denniston reports for SCOTUSblog that both parties in New Process Steel v. National Labor Relations Board, which was argued March 23, have requested that the Court issue a ruling despite President Obama’s recent appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
  • The New York Times has a story on the World Series championship trophy’s visit to the Supreme Court yesterday.
  • Above the Law has an interview with the New York Times’s Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak on his expertise in air guitar.