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Thursday round-up

Yesterday the Court heard oral argument in two cases. Transcripts of both arguments are available here.

The first, Milner v. Department of the Navy, concerns the applicability of a FOIA exemption to “predominantly internal” Navy records detailing the locations and blast ranges of explosives. Mark Sherman of the Associated Press describes the case as “revolv[ing] around competing ideas of public safety,” and he reports that although “Justices Samuel Alito and Stephen Breyer appeared most sympathetic to the government’s view,” several Justices “indicated that they . . . thought the government and several appeals courts . . . have interpreted the exception too broadly.” Courthouse News Service and JURIST also have coverage of the argument.

At issue in yesterday’s second case, Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy v. Stewart, was whether the Eleventh Amendment precludes an independent state agency from suing state officials in federal court for an injunction to remedy a violation of federal law. Courthouse News Service has coverage of the argument.


  • At Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug Berman discusses Schwarzenegger v. Plata, the prison overcrowding case in which the Court heard oral argument on Tuesday. He predicts that Chief Justice Roberts will be “the key player” and that “the Chief’s oft-state interest in having more consensus on the Court could (and perhaps should) come to the fore in Plata.”
  • Guest-blogging at PrawfsBlawg, Berman broaches the topic of the “the size and nature of the Supreme Court’s docket during the early Roberts era.” He observes that the size of the docket has remained generally the same, and he argues that “the Justices continue to worry too much about resolving circuit splits and not quite enough about issues that could benefit from greater jurisprudential clarity.”
  • At the Arizona Capitol Times, Christian Palmer considers the consolidated campaign finance cases, Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom PAC v. Bennett and McComish v. Bennett, in which the Court granted certiorari on Monday.
  • Jost on Justice’s Kenneth Jost and TIME’s Adam Cohen discuss retired Justice John Paul Stevens’ New York Review of Books essay on the death penalty (originally covered in Monday’s round-up).
  • Writing for SCOTUSblog, Jud Campbell recaps Monday’s argument in Walker v. Martin. He suggests that “the Court appeared likely to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that a California timeliness rule for state habeas petitions was not an ‘adequate’ state ground for barring a federal habeas court’s consideration of a petitioner’s federal claims.”
  • Also writing for this blog, Jason Steed recaps Tuesday’s argument in the ERISA case, CIGNA v. Amara.
  • At her Court Beat blog, Joan Biskupic ruminates on the legacy of Bush v. Gore.

Recommended Citation: Amanda Rice, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 2, 2010, 9:04 AM),