Breaking News

Yesterday on SCOTUSblog

With both the close of October Term 2009 at the Court and the opening of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings at the Senate yesterday, SCOTUSblog offered extensive analysis and other coverage.  The following is a guide to our posts throughout the day.

SCOTUSblog live-blogged the release of orders and final opinions from the bench in the morning and the Kagan hearings in the afternoon.  The archives of those live blogs, with Tom’s commentary and links to SCOTUSblog materials, are here (orders and opinions) and here (hearings).  Our summary of the Monday orders and opinions is here.

Tom posted a wrap-up of the entire Term last night, discussing in depth several misunderstandings about the Court by conservatives and liberals alike.  (You can see our initial Stat Pack for the Term (technically posted this morning) here.)

On the opinion released in the gun rights case McDonald v. Chicago, Lyle discussed the legal ramifications, suggesting that one “unmistakably clear” point in the opinion (and there aren’t many, he says) is “the right to have a gun for self-defense in the home is a ‘fundamental’ constitutional right.” Matt Scarola discussed the potential implications of the ruling for different types of state and local gun control laws.

We also started hosting a debate between outside commentators on McDonald, starting with entries by Douglas Berman, Steven Calabresi, Ilya Shapiro, Jack Rakove, Nelson Lund, and Randy Barnett.  Additional entries are going up on the blog today.

For the opinion in the patent case Bilski v. Kappos, Tom offered commentary and this upshot: “business method patents survive, and likely are somewhat more patentable than under the Federal Circuit’s standard, though how much more so remains opaque.”

Lyle also analyzed the right-of-association case Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, drawing the “bottom line” of an opinion that “did not make much new law” here: “[S]tate college leaders may reserve official status on campus to groups that admit all comers, provided that the policy genuinely seeks and promotes that aim and does not single out any group because of what it believes.”

For the opinion in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Co. Accounting Oversight Board, Kevin Russell concluded that the ruling has little immediate practical impact, but that the legal rule established could have broad long-term effects.

Guest Kimberly Harding, an Akin Gump summer associate, rounded up early coverage of all four opinions.

In the orders released yesterday, the Court also denied review of seven petitions by and against tobacco companies, as Lyle detailed here.

In our coverage of the hearings to supplement the live blog, we posted statements from senators, and Kagan’s own opening statement.  We also posted the list of witnesses (who will testify later this week) and our latest issue briefing on Kagan, on her views on gun rights.  Tom’s photos from the event are here.