Breaking News

Wednesday round-up

Some of the Court’s certiorari decisions from Monday remain in the news. Writing for AOL Politics Daily, Andrew Cohen predicts that the Court is likely to rule in favor of former Attorney General John Ashcroft in Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, explaining that he doesn’t “think the Court would have accepted the review if it wanted to endorse the 9th Circuit’s view and allow former executive branch officials to face trial — even in the stark circumstances presented by al-Kidd and his lawyers.” Meanwhile, both the Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor have stories on the Court’s denial of cert. in Simmons v. Galvin (09-920), a challenge to Massachusetts’s prohibition on voting by incarcerated felons. The Christian Science Monitor also highlights the Court’s decision not to hear a case on whether Texas has adopted adequate procedures to determine whether a capital defendant is mentally retarded (Hall v. Thaler, 10-37).

The impact of Citizens United, which is now nine months old, is a story that is still being written. ACSblog recaps several recent responses to the decision in the political arena. In the courts, a just-filed complaint challenges the ban on political donations from foreign nationals. Both Rick Hasen of Election Law Blog and Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy take note of the complaint, and Hasen explains why the case could be before the Justices “sooner rather than later.” At Salon, Joe Conason criticizes Justice Kennedy’s opinion in Citizens United for asserting that corporate donations would be transparent. In response, Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog places the blame for the lack of disclosure in this year’s elections not with Justice Kennedy, but on members of the political branches.


  • The Associated Press (via the Washington Post), the Buffalo News, and WGRZ (Buffalo, NY) have reports on an appearance by Chief Justice Roberts yesterday at Canisius College in Buffalo. In response to a question, the Chief Justice acknowledged that each member of the Court decides for him- or herself whether to attend the President’s State of the Union addresses.
  • At Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug Berman notes the Second Circuit’s denial of en banc review of a high-profile federal death sentence that had been rejected by a three-judge panel. Berman writes that “there is a good chance the Justices will take up this case” if the government pursues a cert. petition at the Court.
  • The Kansas City Star reports that an execution planned for last night has been postponed because the Supreme Court, as well as the Eighth Circuit, declined to lift a stay of execution issued by a federal district court judge.
  • Virginia Thomas – the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas – recently contacted Anita Hill to ask her to consider apologizing for her role in the Justice’s confirmation hearings. Among others, the Washington Post has coverage.
  • And finally, at the Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh responds to a reader’s question about the Justices’ trial experience.

Recommended Citation: Adam Chandler, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 20, 2010, 10:33 AM),