Breaking News

Monday round-up

Justices both past and present made news over the holiday weekend.  In the New York Times Book Review, Dahlia Lithwick describes the new biography of Justice William Brennan as “a far more informative account of what the man achieved than why he did it.”  Stewart Pollock also reviews the book in the Newark Star-Ledger.  (Thanks to How Appealing for the link.)  Meanwhile, ACSblog interviews Stephen Wermiel, one of the book’s co-authors; he participated in a live chat on this blog last week.

At the Opinionator blog of the New York Times, Linda Greenhouse links Justice Stephen Breyer’s view of the relationship between Congress and the Court to the tradition of Legal Process scholarship.  Mark Sherman of the Associated Press (via reports on Justice Breyer’s ambivalence at the prospect of introducing cameras to the Court.  Mike Sacks of First One @ One First talks to retired Justice John Paul Stevens.

The editorial board of the New York Times commends Justice Elena Kagan for her decision to recuse herself from as many cases as she has, but nonetheless argues that “the court’s voluntary system of recusal isn’t enough to protect its impartiality and credibility.”  At Balkinization, Jason Mazzone deems the occasional four-four tie to be preferable to the system recently proposed by Senator Patrick Leahy, in which a retired Justice would step in when an active Justice was recused.

In yesterday’s New York Times, Adam Liptak examines the rise of the Supreme Court specialty practice, including law school clinics.  (Disclosure: Tom, Amy, and Kevin teach the Supreme Court clinic at both Stanford and Harvard, where I took the course.)  Orin Kerr comments on the Liptak piece at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and Janelle Stecklein of the Amarillo Globe-News preview Wednesday’s oral argument in Skinner v. Switzer, in which the Court will address whether a convicted prisoner can demand DNA testing through a civil rights suit brought under Section 1983.

Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, also made the headlines for her work as head of the conservative nonprofit Liberty Central.  In the New York Times, Jackie Calmes discusses the implications of the group’s acceptance of undisclosed contributions, while at Balkinization Jason Mazzone disputes any suggestion that Citizens United improperly benefited Liberty Central.   Lisa Miller of Newsweek has a profile of Mrs. Thomas, while Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick also discusses the issues raised by her work.


  • In the New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger reports from Topeka, home of the church at issue in Snyder v. Phelps, where residents “have grown weary of the ubiquitous protests, which are blamed for chasing away prospective businesses, touring entertainers and potential visitors.”
  • The Blog of Legal Times reports on a request by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to intervene before the Court to oppose a motion to file a petition for certiorari under seal.
  • In the Washington Post, Robin Givhan discusses Supreme Court fashion in the context of the Court’s recent photo – the first with new Justice Elena Kagan.

Recommended Citation: James Bickford, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 11, 2010, 1:35 PM),