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A SCOTUSblog milestone: Lyle’s 2000th post

Yesterday, our reporter Lyle Denniston marked a milestone in his tenure at SCOTUSblog: his 2000th post.  Quite appropriately, this milestone comes just after Thanksgiving, and in the spirit of the holiday, SCOTUSblog is honored to express how thankful we all are to have the opportunity to publish all 2000 of these posts, and to feature Lyle’s informative, witty, and insightful commentary on the blog.

Since Lyle joined the SCOTUSblog team in 2004, his posts on cases involving detainees in the war on terror have become well known as one of the blog’s strongest features.  In his first post for the blog, Lyle discussed the fall-out from the Court’s 2004 rulings in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Rasul/Al-Odah v. Bush.  A few years later, he wrote extensively on the issues at stake in another detainee case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, beginning with the case’s journey through the lower courts and continuing up to the Supreme Court, where he provided a twopart analysis of the Court’s debate over the legality of military commissions.  Since then, he has continued to offer our readers his insightful and up-to-the-minute commentary:  for example, following the Court’s landmark 2008 ruling in Boumediene v. Bush, he provided an immediate analysis of the ruling, calling it a stunning blow to the Bush Administration in its war-on-terrorism policies; later the same day, he examined the implications of the case for all detainees in the war on terror.  Through these posts and others on the ongoing debate over the rights of individuals held as terrorism suspects, Lyle has emerged as one of the most respected and sought-after commentators on the legal issues raised by the war on terror.

Of course, Lyle’s expertise is by no means limited to national security law. Rather, he demonstrates his unique ability to unpack and analyze a wide array of legal issues in his SCOTUSblog commentary on the myriad issues faced by the Court.  When the Court made history in 2008 with its landmark Second-Amendment ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, Lyle was immediately ready with a nuanced prediction of the case’s implications for gun-rights litigation.  Similarly, after the Court’s follow-up decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago, Lyle discussed the continuing ambiguity over the constitutionality of gun bans, explaining that “a gun right that at its origin seemed fairly narrow has now been nationalized, though it remains surrounded in basic doubt about just what it actually means.”

Lyle has also become known for his analysis of recent challenges to the death penalty.  In 2008, he described two landmark capital-punishment cases – Kennedy v. Louisiana and Baze v. Rees – as “bold declarations” on the future of the death penalty, and he predicted that the Court’s stance on the issue was likely to be influenced by future appointments to the bench.  Further, Lyle has provided our readers with his insightful commentary on other issues ranging from church-state separation (in both Pleasant Grove v. Summum and Salazar v. Buono), school searches, the First Amendment, and executive accountability to sentencing.  Lyle has also kept our readers up to date on election and civil rights laws, clarifying the fine points of cases like Citizens United and NAMUDNO v. Holder.

This Term alone, in addition to keeping us apprised of the most significant petitions before the Court and tracking the arguments and merits briefs in dozens of cases, Lyle has kept our readers informed on one of the major issues currently in the “pipeline” to the Court: the ongoing legal debate over gay rights, particularly the rights to marry and to serve in the armed forces.  Lyle has diligently tracked the progress of the challenge to California’s “Proposition 8” law, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, through the lower courts, offering updates and analysis along the way; he also continues his reporting on the progress of challenges to the military’s ban on openly gay members, keeping us all informed on the issues at stake while making clear when – and how – these cases may come before the Supreme Court.

SCOTUSblog is incredibly privileged to feature Lyle’s brilliant legal commentary as a major component of our Supreme Court coverage.  Lyle’s writing is what allows SCOTUSblog to make the Supreme Court accessible to all our readers – attorneys and non-lawyers alike – and his keen eye for upcoming issues and for post-ruling fallout has allowed us to provide our readers with the most up to date and timely reporting available.  On behalf of the entire SCOTUSblog team and our readers, I sincerely thank Lyle for all 2000 of his SCOTUSblog posts, and look forward to reading 2000 more.

Recommended Citation: Anna Christensen, A SCOTUSblog milestone: Lyle’s 2000th post, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 28, 2010, 11:23 PM),