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Friday round-up

The media continues to gear up for a Supreme Court nomination, which many have predicted will come early next week.  (As the New York Times notes today, this blog’s Tom Goldstein has predicted that a nominee will be announced on Monday or Tuesday.)  In an opinion piece for Politico, Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network discusses President Obama’s approach to the nomination process.  She also criticizes the President’s criticism of conservative judges, arguing that Obama’s “image of originalism is detached from reality.” As yesterday’s round-up reported, Senator Orrin Hatch met on Wednesday with the President.  After the meeting, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, Senator Hatch went to the Cato Institute, where he told an audience that the President’s emphasis on “core constitutional values” seemed to be “just another cloaking device for judges who seek to control the Constitution.”  (Above the Law also covers the President’s meeting with Senator Hatch.)  At the New York Times’ Opinionator blog, Linda Greenhouse analyzes President Obama’s comments last week on judicial restraint, and the New York Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg profiles Bob Bauer, the White House counsel who has been spearheading the nomination process.

A number of commentators have continued to examine the lives and records of several likely contenders for the nomination as well.  Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Wood, who met privately with President Obama and Vice President Biden on Tuesday, is “known for sparring well and being a persuasive force with conservative jurists”; that trait, explains Warren Richey writes at the Christian Science Monitor, may appeal to the President, who is said to be seeking a nominee who can help to form winning majorities on the often ideologically divided Court.  At the New York Times, John Schwartz examines the background and record of Ninth Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, describing Thomas as having “a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people” – another selling point for the President.  A second New York Times piece, this one by Katharine Q. Seelye, looks back at top contender Elena Kagan’s tenure as Dean of Harvard Law School – particularly her outspoken opposition to the U.S. Military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring openly gay individuals from serving in the armed forces.  At CNN, Bill Mears examines the records of all four presumed front-runners for the nomination, as does CBS News’ Jan Crawford, who notes that “Republican sources concede that any of these candidates would be confirmed without a filibuster.”

According to Dan Friedman of The Ninth Justice, the National Journal’s nomination-news blog, Senator Jeff Sessions – who is the ranking Republican member on the Senate Judiciary Committee – also believes that a nomination will come on Monday.  In an opinion piece in the Washington Post today, Sessions argues that the American public wants the President to nominate a Justice who will curb what he regards as the federal government’s oversized role in public life.

Also at the Washington Post, Robert Barnes looks back at Justice Stevens’ legacy, highlighting the leadership role he has developed as a liberal voice on an increasingly conservative Court.  Recapping the Justice’s comments at Wednesday’s Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, Barnes writes that Stevens also spoke out in favor of life tenure for federal judges at the event.


  • The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland’s Attorney General is giving “serious consideration” to a request to join the state of Kansas in filing an amicus brief in support of Albert Snyder, the petitioner in next Term’s Snyder v. Phelps, involving anti-gay protests at military funerals.
  • At ACSblog, Cardozo School of Law Professor Marci A. Hamilton analyzes last week’s ruling in Salazar v. Buono, arguing that the case represents “further evidence” of a phenomenon in which the Court hands down narrow technical rulings in cases in which the media has taken a particular interest.  The opinions entered by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, however, are of interest, Hamilton notes, because both offer clues as to how those Justices perceive the Establishment Clause.
  • Ilya Somin, at the Volokh Conspiracy, discusses City of Milwaukee Post No. 2874, Veterans of Foreign Wars v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, in which Somin recently filed an amicus brief in support of certiorari.
  • Washington Labor and Employment Wire reported earlier this week on Congress’s efforts to reverse several recent Supreme Court decisions, including Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, and Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc.