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Monday round-up

It’s been a quiet weekend for the Supreme Court press: the candidates to replace Justice Stevens are well-established but not yet nominated; the end-of-term rush is still weeks away.  The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek report that Solicitor General Elena Kagan was interviewed on Friday for the coming vacancy; Judge Sidney Thomas of the Ninth Circuit had been interviewed the day before, as the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog noted.  According to Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the Ninth Circuit (via the Wall Street Journal) Judge Thomas considers himself “not likely high on the list” of contenders and “was a little surprised that it was ‘the Full Monty’—that he interviewed with the president and vice president.”  In the National Review Online, Ed Whelan argues in two parts that the legal views of Judge Thomas resemble those of his famously liberal colleague, Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit.

In the New York Times, Adam Liptak recounts a banquet at which General Kagan introduced Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. Circuit, who was interviewed for the Court in April.  At the Blog of Legal Times, Tony Mauro describes Kagan’s praise of Justice Kennedy at an award ceremony last week: she described the Justice’s opinions as “the product of extraordinarily deep care and consideration and thought” and recalled a moment at oral argument in which he “saw in the flash of an instant that … I really had no clue” about a particular line of cases.  The Justice summarized those cases off the cuff and General Kagan was able to answer fluidly.  The Los Angeles Times reports on the pending request for the views of the Solicitor General in U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Candelaria, a case challenging Arizona’s law punishing employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.  David Savage writes that “it will be hard to avoid controversy if [General Kagan] takes a clear stand on whether states can enforce their own tough immigration laws.”

Writing for the Associated Press, Mark Sherman makes a pitch for selecting the nominee with an eye to geographical diversity.

Blogging for the New York Times, Linda Greenhouse places Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, set for argument next term, in the context of the American “habit of trying to fix social problems by banning things.”  Greenhouse speculates that the Court may have granted cert “simply in order to kill the state’s stunningly broad theory” on which games can be constitutionally banned, though she “find[s] it hard to shake the concern that some justices may actually think that social engineering of this sort may actually do some good.”  The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times encourages the Court to “show the same solicitude for free speech” in Schwarzenegger as it did in striking down the speech restriction at issue in United States v. Stevens.


  • In the Washington Post, Robert Barnes explores the political terrain surrounding the Court, in which all sides seem to agree that “judicial activism” is undesirable, even though it is sometimes the Court’s responsibility to strike down laws.
  • The Hi-Desert Star of Yucca County, California offers a local perspective on the Court’s recent decision in Salazar v. Buono, the case involving a seven-foot-tall cross in Mojave National Preserve.
  • In the Seattle Times Ryan Blethen, echoing Justice Scalia views at oral argument in Doe v. Reed, encourages the court to side with “civic courage” by holding that the names of citizens who sign a referendum petition are public information. 
  • Concurring Opinions introduces a cyber-symposium on Deborah Hellman’s article “Money Talks, But It Isn’t Speech,” which challenges the central premise of Citizens United and the rest of “campaign finance law, namely that restrictions on giving and spending money constitute restrictions on speech and thus can only be justified by compelling governmental interests.”
  • In Slate, Dahlia Lithwick and Graham Vyse explore the perils of the intersection between the judiciary and social media.  At the Law Blog of the Wall Street Journal, Vanessa O’Connell reports on the Facebook groups  supporting various contenders to replace Justice Stevens.
  • The Blog of Legal Times recommends a new documentary on the judicial confirmation battles of 2005 and 2006.  Titled “Advice & Dissent,” it will premiere at the E Street Cinema on Wednesday, May 5, as part of the “Politics on Film” festival.  The trailer is here.