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Friday round-up

Even though today marks the end of a relatively quiet week at the Court, commentary regarding the upcoming Senate vote on Elena Kagan’s confirmation continues.  The New York Times’ “Caucus” blog yesterday published a graphic with the expected votes of Republican Senators (as well as their votes on Kagan’s confirmation as Solicitor General and on Justice Sotomayor’s confirmation last summer), while TIME’s “Swampland” blog covers continuing GOP opposition to Kagan’s candidacy.  TIME, Ashby Jones of the WSJ Law Blog, and Gary Marx of the National Review Online’s Bench Memos blog also note (as discussed in yesterday’s round-up) that John McCain has publicly declared his intention to vote against Kagan.  USA Today’s Kathy Keily tallies the votes and notes that the GOP Senators who voted to confirm Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year have not yet announced how they plan to vote on Kagan’s nomination.  In the Los Angeles Times, Amanda Frost (also a regular SCOTUSblog contributor) discusses Kagan’s enthusiastic endorsement of cameras in the courtroom during an exchange with Senators.  In an opinion piece in the Christian Science Monitor, John Paul Rollert looks back at last week’s hearings and concludes that, at the hearings, “Thurgood Marshall became the unlikely bridge between empathy, activist judging, and [Elena] Kagan.”

Pennsylvania’s York Daily Record has coverage of the respondents’ brief, filed on Wednesday, in Snyder v. Phelps, the free speech that will likely be argued early in the Court’s 2010 Term.  In a piece at U.S. News & World Report, William & Mary law professor Timothy Zick also addresses Snyder, arguing that, although the speech at issue in the case is repugnant, “the stakes are much higher” than the dignity of the offended parties or the fate of the speakers.

Yesterday’s Washington Post contains an obituary for Barrett McGurn, the former public information officer at the Court, who died last week at the age of 95.  The BLT reports on Mr. McGurn’s passing as well, recalling his “impish smile and eyebrows that had a life of their own,” and remarking on his “quirky but valuable” 1997 memoir, “America’s Court.”


  • At First One @ One First, Mike Sacks reports on yesterday’s district court ruling that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, speculating on the possibility that the case will come before the Supreme Court in the near future.
  • JURIST has coverage of the partially redacted decision issued by the D.C. Circuit on Wednesday in the case of Fawzi Khalid Abdullah Fahad Al Odah, who had sought habeas corpus relief of his detention at Guantanamo Bay. 
  • Rick Hasen looks back at the Court’s Citizens United ruling at Election Law Blog, wondering why the case was not decided 9-0, with five Justices deciding in favor of the petitioners and constitutional grounds, and the other four finding in their favor on statutory grounds.
  • Concurring Opinions has an interview with Mike Sacks, the publisher of the blog First One @ One First, who tried to be first in line for every major Supreme Court argument during the 2009 Term.  The interview addresses Sacks’ insights into the Term, as well as his thoughts on legal journalism – and his “trade secrets” for getting prime seats at oral argument.
  • Finally, the New York Daily News reports that, on a recent trip to New York, Justice Sotomayor divulged the name of the best Chinese restaurant in the city (Joe’s Shanghai) – but refused, unfortunately, to offer an opinion on Lindsay Lohan’s recent legal woes.