Breaking News

Wednesday round-up

With Elena Kagan now embarking on her new role as a Justice, attention has turned to who might fill the role she is leaving, and when. In an article for the Daily Journal, Lawrence Hurley reports that although “the White House does not have a solicitor general nominee lined up,” the current Acting Solicitor General, Neal Katyal, and Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who is currently serving in the White House Counsel’s Office, are the “two frontrunners for the position.” (Thanks to Howard Bashman of How Appealing for the link.) Meanwhile, the Seattle Times reports that Christine Gregoire, the Governor of Washington, withdrew her name from consideration for the post yesterday.

But the Solicitor General’s position is not the only one in the office earning notice. Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that Katyal had selected Leondra Kruger, an Assistant to the Solicitor General, to be his “acting principal deputy.” SCOTUSblog’s Tom Goldstein remarks on Kruger’s “sterling reputation . . . as an extraordinary advocate before the Court” and observes that the appointment “vaults her into the discussion for the very most significant legal appointments in Democratic administrations in a potential second Obama term and beyond.” Similarly, Ashby Jones of the WSJ Law Blog predicts that Kruger’s name is one “that you’re likely going to be hearing for years to come.” Even so, Tony Mauro of the Blog of LegalTimes explains why the appointment is a bit of a “surprise.”

In response to Justice Ginsburg’s speech accepting the ABA Medal—which was covered in yesterday’s round-up, with video available from the ABA Journal—Joan Biskupic writes on her Court Beat blog that Ginsburg appears “ready for the long haul, eager to see more changes in the law and profession.” In her speech, Ginsburg advocated for a return to less contentious confirmation processes for judicial nominees, a theme that the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus addresses in her column today. Marcus similarly expresses regret that that “[t]he Supreme Court confirmation process has been degraded into a partisan political fight, in which senators of each side line up, with a few odd defections, with their own party.” (ACSblog also has a post on Ginsburg’s speech.)


  • Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto discusses partisanship and Supreme Court nominations in a video at the Journal’s website.
  • Justice Kagan will deliver the 2011 commencement address for the University of New Mexico School of Law.
  • NPR reports that the Senate has “returned several of President Obama’s judicial nominations to the White House”—including Goodwin Liu’s—after failing to act on them.
  • The Tri-City Herald editorial board adds its voice to those advocating that oral arguments be televised.
  • And finally, as JURIST notes, today marks the 218th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s first reported decision, Georgia v. Brailsford, 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 402 (1792).