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Wednesday round-up

Yesterday the Court heard oral argument in a corporate speech case, Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., and issued its decision in United States v. Tohono O’odham Nation, which settled a jurisdictional issue of the Court of Federal Claims. (Disclosure: Goldstein, Howe & Russell represents one set of respondents in Sorrell.)

The argument attracted significantly more attention than the decision, and almost all journalists covering Sorrell agreed that the Court was skeptical of Vermont’s restriction on pharmaceutical marketers’ use of drug prescription records. “So heavy was the [Court’s] defense of corporate expression,” writes SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston, “that the lawyer for Vermont . . . had to continue her argument under siege.” In the New York Times, Adam Liptak links the “somewhat esoteric” Sorrell case to Citizens United v. FEC , explaining that both cases involve “a fundamental First Amendment principle that has much engaged the justices lately: What role may the government play in regulating the marketplace of ideas?” USA Today, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times (also here), CNN, Bloomberg, the Associated Press (via the Boston Globe), the Christian Science Monitor, PBS NewsHour, Reuters, JURIST, the WSJ Health Blog, and Constitutional Law Prof Blog all have coverage of the argument.

In United States v. Tohono O’odham Nation, the Court held that an Indian nation cannot simultaneously pursue the same claim in both federal district court and the Court of Federal Claims, even if each court acting alone cannot provide full relief. Kent Scheidegger of Crime & Consequences calls the decision “unsurprising.” Courthouse News Service, the Associated Press (via the Washington Post), UPI, West Valley News (Ariz.), and JURIST have coverage of the decision.


  • NPR and SCOTUSblog preview this morning’s argument in Nevada Commission on Ethics v. Carrigan, which will be the final argument of the Term. Nina Totenberg writes for NPR that the case “could put a constitutional cloud of doubt over hundreds — if not thousands — of state and local ethics laws across the country.”
  • In the ABA Journal, Richard Brust discusses what he describes as the Court’s “habit of stealth overruling, finding ways to avoid express rejection of a precedent by instead gnawing away at old cases without officially declaring them dead.” (Thanks to Rick Hasen of Election Law Blog for the link.)
  • A Los Angeles Times editorial discusses last week’s argument in the greenhouse-gas emissions case, American Electric Power Co. Inc. v. Connecticut. Describing the lawsuit as “huge and unwieldy,” the editorial ultimately points out that “if the court rejects [the suit,] there will still be opportunities to abate greenhouse gases.”
  • And finally, at Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug Berman highlights an article in the Iowa Independent describing that state’s struggle to “craft an appropriate legislative response to the Supreme Court’s ruling last year in [Graham v. Florida].”

Recommended Citation: Adam Chandler, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 27, 2011, 8:11 AM),