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Tuesday round-up

Between climate change, health-care litigation, Guantanamo detainees, and patent infringement, there is plenty of coverage of the Court – and there is no sign of letting up, as the Court is expected to issue one or more opinions on both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.  We will have a Live Blog both days.

Today the Court will hear oral argument in American Electric Power Co. Inc. v. Connecticut, which considers whether federal law permits states and private parties to sue utilities for contributing to global warming.  In an op-ed for the Christian Science Monitor, Megan Brown describes the case as “novel, and far more aggressive and disruptive than” Massachusetts v. EPA, a 2007 decision in which the Court held that the federal Environmental Protection Agency could regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act.  The editorial board of the New York Times provides a contrary view, arguing that the purpose of the case is “not to solve global warming or usurp the government’s role in doing so” but to “get major utilities to curb their greenhouse-gas emissions before the government acts.” At the Atlantic, Andrew Cohen opines that in American Electric Power, “as we’ve already seen so often this Term, the legal battle is not on the merits of the matter but rather on gateway issues like ‘standing’ and jurisdiction”; at bottom, he contends, political leaders should regard the litigation as “proof of  their own lingering failure to adequately address yet another compelling problem the nation faces.” Jonathan Adler weighs in with his take on the merits of the case at the Volokh Conspiracy, while Lyle Denniston of this blog offers an expanded argument preview (as James mentioned yesterday).  The Associated Press also provides a short summary of the case.

Yesterday the Court heard oral argument in Microsoft v. i4i Limited Partnership, which parses the standard by which companies accused of infringement must prove that the patent is invalid, eliciting a flurry of day-after commentary. PatentlyO, PCWorld, CNET,  Seattle Times, and Wall Street Journal all highlight quotes from the oral argument, attempting to gauge the Justices’ opinions on what standard should be used. Adam Liptak of the New York Times suggests that Microsoft faced “significant headwinds” at oral argument, although he also notes that Justice Breyer remained frustrated as the arguments drew to a close: “’What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to get a better tool, if possible, to separate the sheep from the goats,’ he said. ‘And so what is that better tool?’” Bloomberg and the Associated Press have more coverage; JURIST succinctly summarizes the case and also gives details on yesterday’s other oral argument in Tapia v. US.

Nearly every major outlet – including the Associated Press, Washington Post, NPR, UPI, Bloomberg, CNN, BBC News, New York Times, and Courthouse News Service, among others — had coverage of one case in which the Court denied review yesterday:  Kiyemba v. Obama, a petition filed by five Chinese Uighurs held at Guantanamo Bay.  At Balkinization, Jonathan Hafetz characterizes Justice Breyer’s separate statement, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Sotomayor, as “leaving the door open to future challenges by the five remaining Uighurs (or others) seeking release from unlawful detention at Guantanamo.” Warren Richey of the Christian Science Monitor fleshes out the background of the Uighurs’ plea. And Lyle Denniston of this blog notes that this denial leaves the Court with only one case, Khadr v. Obama, from Guantanamo still on its docket this term; Khadr will be considered again at this Friday’s Conference.

The Court also declined to act on the petition seeking cert. before judgment in Virginia v. Sebelius, the challenge to the constitutionality of the Administration’s health-care legislation; the Court will consider the issue again at this Friday’s Conference. Both the Associated Press and Julian Pequet of The Hill consider possible reasons for the Court’s silence. Lyle Denniston of this blog discusses the recent activity in health-care litigation, as does Greg Stohr at Bloomberg.

The Court did grant certiorari yesterday in Judulang v. Holder, a case involving the availability of discretionary relief from removal under former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Courthouse News Service has coverage. The Court also sought the views of the Acting Solicitor General in Compton School District v. Addison, which Education Week’s School Law blog discusses in depth.

Recommended Citation: Nabiha Syed, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 19, 2011, 8:06 AM),