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Monday round-up

After several weeks in recess, the Court will hear oral argument in two cases this morning.  This blog has previews of Wall v. Kholi and Walker v. Martin, both of which involve the interaction between state court proceedings and federal habeas corpus.  Tomorrow, the Court will hear argument in Schwarzenegger v. Plata, which raises questions regarding the power of federal judges to take steps to reduce prison overcrowding.  The San Jose Mercury News, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and Politics Daily all have coverage; Lyle has a preview for this blog here.

In other coverage of upcoming cases, the Lakeland (Florida) Ledger discusses Fowler v. United States, while the Des Moines Register reports on Pepper v. United States.  (Thanks to Howard Bashman at How Appealing.)  At Concurring Opinions, Craig Livermore notes the recent grants of certiorari in Camreta v. Greene and J.D.B. v. North Carolina, two cases “involving the rights of juveniles in police interrogations in the school setting.”  Livermore argues that “[i]f the Supreme Court does not elevate the right of parental involvement in school interrogations to Constitutional concern, then it will be throwing judicial weight to society’s growing cynicism toward the ability of parents, especially in challenging urban contexts, to manifest parental responsibility.”  In the Los Angeles Times, David Savage discusses the pending cert. petition in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, which the Court considered at its conference last week; the Wall Street Journal and UPI also have coverage.

In the New York Review of Books, retired Justice John Paul Stevens reviews David Garland’s new book Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition, which sets the American experience with the death penalty in a comparative and historical context. Justice Stevens writes that, despite the book’s “ostensible amorality” it “makes a powerful argument that will persuade many readers that the death penalty is unwise and unjustified.”  In the New York Times, Adam Liptak discusses the book review, as does Mike Dorf of Dorf on Law.  The Sentencing Law and Policy blog provides excerpts of both Justice Stevens’ review and Adam Liptak’s article.  On Sunday, 60 Minutes broadcast a segment featuring a series of interviews conducted with Justice Stevens last summer; retired Justice David Souter also discussed the legacy of his colleague.  A textual summary is here.

Justice Stevens told 60 Minutes that the Court’s decision to intervene in Bush v. Gore was “unwise.”  In the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin looks back on that ten-year-old decision, concluding that “[t]he case didn’t just scar the Court’s record; it damaged the Court’s honor.”

The editorial board of the New York Times weighs in on AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, which it describes as “the latest in the arbitration war — a battle over whether the United States will increasingly have a privatized system of justice that bars people from enforcing rights in court and, if so, what will be considered fair in that system.”  In anticipation of the Court’s decision in the case, Lawrence Cunningham of Concurring Opinions looks at “occasions when the Court’s federal arbitration jurisprudence is at odds with the common law of contracts.”


  • Nina Totenberg of NPR reviews the recent biography of Justice William Brennan.
  • In Slate, Dahlia Lithwick wonders why, “almost 10 years into the War on Terror… there has not been a single consequential free-speech case before the high court,” concluding that “when it comes to antiwar speech we may have reached something like perfect—though that seems the wrong adjective somehow—equilibrium: Americans don’t much care to protest. The government cares very little if we do. And the courts don’t much care about what happens either way.”
  • At Balkinization, Jason Mazzone makes the provocative argument that “[w]e could really diversify the Court by adding one kind of justice who has never served: a foreigner.”
  • The American Agriculturalist discusses a recent amicus brief filed in Terry v. Tyson Farms.

Recommended Citation: James Bickford, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 29, 2010, 9:24 AM),