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Friday round-up

As the Judiciary Committee gears up to vote on Elena Kagan’s nomination next week, court-watchers continue to closely track the projected votes of individual Senators.  As we reported on Wednesday, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter announced that he intended to vote for Kagan had done “just enough” during her confirmation hearings to earn his vote.  At the WSJ Law Blog, Ashby Jones examines that announcement, noting that although the Senator’s support for Kagan is reluctant, “it’s an endorsement nonetheless.”  The Huffington Post, Stephanie Condon of CBS News, and Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy all report on Specter’s announcement.  Politico’s Josh Gerstein covers the Senator’s endorsement and a related speech that he delivered yesterday on the Senate floor, while Carrie Severino criticizes Specter’s decision at the NRO’s Bench Memos.  Meanwhile, turning to the other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judith E. Schaeffer discusses Senator Orrin Hatch’s recent NRO op-ed indicating that he intends to vote against Kagan at the Huffington Post, while the Associated Press (via the Chicago Tribune) reports that Senator Russ Feingold has officially joined the list of senators who will vote in Kagan’s favor.

In an article published this morning at Bloomberg, Greg Stohr looks ahead to the future of the Court; he suggests that if, as expected, Elena Kagan is confirmed, her confirmation could “create an unprecedented party-based alignment.”  The Christian Science Monitor’s Warren Richey, also looking forward, discusses whether – as some Republicans have suggested – Kagan would have to recuse herself from any challenges to health-care reform.  Meanwhile, at the NRO’s Bench Memos column, Ed Whelan notes that the Senators who criticized Justice Thurgood Marshall are not alone: another former Justice, William Brennan, once voiced his disappointment with Justice Marshall’s work as well.

Following Tuesday’s Second Circuit decision in Fox v. FCC, which was remanded by the Supreme Court last Term, Hannibal Travis at PrawfsBlawg discusses why “the implications of the decision seem significant enough for the Supreme Court to take the case,” while the editorial board of the Christian Science Monitor urges the FCC to appeal yesterday’s ruling, “simply because of an ongoing need to find a constitutional balance between parental rights and society’s right to free speech.”  The individual members of the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News also weigh in on the decision.

Following up on an even more recent ruling, last month’s gun-rights opinion in McDonald v. Chicago.  Rich Blake reports for ABC News that gun sales in the Chicago area are likely to increase dramatically following the elimination of local- and state-level handgun bans, while Courthouse News Service reports on a Nevada suit – challenging that state’s ban on handguns in state parks – filed in the wake of McDonald.  Josh Blackman discusses the plurality opinion in McDonald at his eponymous blog.


  • Concurring Opinions reports on a recent Second Circuit decision which addresses some of the issues before the Court in next Term’s AT&T v. Concepcion.
  • The Associated Press has coverage of the new amicus briefs filed in support of a fundamentalist church and its members in Snyder v. Phelps, which will also be argued next Term.
  • Howard Wasserman argues at PrawfsBlawg that the Supreme Court’s decision in Iqbal, despite its flaws, does not impose substantially heightened pleading requirements on civil rights cases.
  • At the New York Times’ Opinionator column, Linda Greenhouse argues that the current Court can no longer be fairly characterized as the “Kennedy Court.” (Thanks to How Appealing for the link.)
  • FoxNews reports on a group of students who allege that they were ordered by a Court police officer to stop praying outside the Supreme Court building in May.