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Thursday round-up

Yesterday’s landmark gay-rights ruling in a federal district court in San Francisco was the primary news story of the day, with general coverage by (among others) the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle (here), the San Jose Mercury News, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as Lyle Denniston of this blog.

Some coverage focused in more detail on the Court’s past and potential future role in the case.  At Slate, Dahlia Lithwick highlights Judge Walker’s many references to landmark gay rights rulings authored by Justice Kennedy, including Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Evans, and she argues that “nobody can fairly accuse Judge [Vaughn] Walker of putting together an insubstantial or unsubstantiated opinion.”  At First One @ One First, Mike Sacks also covers the Judge Walker’s reliance on Supreme Court precedent.  At the Volokh Conspiracy, Orin Kerr explains why – contrary to arguments made by others, including Lithwick – the extensive factual record in the case will not “matter very much” if the case reaches the Court; Dave Hoffman makes a similar argument at Concurring Opinions.

The WSJ Law Blog’s Ashby Jones explores the potential next steps in the case, concluding that the law is “quite possibly” bound for the Supreme Court in the very near future, a sentiment echoed by John Schwartz of the New York Times and Ilya Shapiro at Cato @ Liberty.

A floor vote is expected today on Elena Kagan’s confirmation to the Court, and the media and blogosphere are reporting that a vote in her favor is all but assured.  James Oliphant reports  on the proceedings at the Los Angeles Times, writing that the GOP is not expected to attempt to filibuster the confirmation, and JURIST also reports on the Senate debate. Laura Litvan has coverage of yesterday’s developments at Bloomberg, and at the Associated Press, Julie Hirschfeld Davis addresses the GOP’s continuing opposition to Kagan’s candidacy.  Meanwhile, in an opinion piece at Politico, Doug Kendall and Jim Ryan discuss the apparent similarities between the approaches to constitutional interpretation endorsed by Elena Kagan and the Chief Justice.  A second Politico piece covers the opposition voiced yesterday by Senators McCain and Sessions to a Court dominated exclusively by graduates of Harvard and Yale.

At U.S. News & World Report, Mary Kate Cary opines that, with Kagan’s anticipated confirmation, the presence of three women on the Court will significantly influence the way the Justices ask questions.  The New York Daily News, meanwhile, reports that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has called the possibility of three women on the Court “exhilarating.”

The Wall Street Journal has coverage of the upcoming military tribunal for Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr, who was captured in Afghanistan at the age of fifteen.  (On Monday, Lyle reported on Khadr’s trial for this blog.)  JURIST also has coverage of the Khadr trial.


  • The AP’s Mark Sherman covers Justice Ginsburg’s response to speculation that she might step down soon; in an interview on Tuesday with the AP, the seventy-seven-year-old Justice indicated that she hopes to match the late Justice Brandeis, who retired at the age of eighty-two.
  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Senator Arlen Specter has said he hopes to spur a floor vote on the issue of television cameras in the Supreme Court before he leaves the Senate in the coming months.
  • At the NRO’s Bench Memos blog, Ed Whelan tallies up the anticipated votes against Kagan.