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Monday round-up

Responses to last week’s decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion continued to pour in this weekend.  Byron Williams of the San Jose Mercury News, Nan Aron at the Huffington Post, Kenneth Jost of Jost on Justice and Jeff Gelles of the Philadelphia Inquirer all criticize the decision in opinion pieces.  The editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle expresses its disapproval while noting that “Congress could fix the situation by mending the arbitration law to allow for group lawsuits.… Another path could be rules put forward by the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”  The Wall Street Journal Law Blog links to a column by Reynolds Holding of Reuters Breakingviews, who notes that although the Bureau will only have the “power to regulate arbitration in consumer financial-services contracts…. if the bureau banned anti-class-action clauses as harmful to, say, bank customers, it might strengthen the case against such clauses in other areas.”

On Friday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke at a Princeton University event celebrating the school’s female graduates.  The Justice, who was a member of the third Princeton class to include women, had a half-hour long conversation with Princeton President Shirley Tilghman.  The National Journal reports that Justice Sotomayor compared herself to Justice Antonin Scalia—both are, per her description, “[l]oud, boisterous, in-your-face.”   The Times of Trenton and the Daily Princetonian also have coverage of the appearance, while an account from the Princeton University website includes extensive comments from the Justice on her judicial philosophy.  (Thanks to How Appealing for these links.)

Last night, the Court refused to intervene in the management of the Ohio River, which is currently at historic highs.  The Missouri River Commission is considering whether to blow open a levee near the confluence of the Mississippi and the Ohio; doing so would protect the town of Cairo, IL from rising waters but would flood some 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland.  The Missouri Attorney General petitioned Justice Samuel Alito—the Circuit Justice for the Eighth Circuit—to enjoin the plan, as Forbes, Reuters, UPI, and the Wall Street Journal report.  CNN and the New York Times report that Justice Alito denied the petition on Sunday night.


  • Former President Bill Clinton opined that “there’s some chance” the Court would strike down the individual federal mandate to purchase health insurance, The Hill reports.
  • At Just Enrichment, Jason Harrow takes a look at the progress of the various healthcare suits and offers a detailed analysis of whether the Court will decide any challenge to the federal law before the 2012 election.  He calculates that “the Court needs to grant cert. in one of its January conferences at the very latest to hear a case in April and then issue a decision by June [of 2012]” and concludes that “it’ll be a close call whether that will happen.”
  • Also at Just Enrichment, Amanda Rice argues that the Court could effectively grant citizenship to the petitioner in Flores-Villar v. United States by striking down the statutory provision that distinguishes between the children born to unmarried U.S.-citizen mothers outside of the United States, and those born to unmarried U.S.-citizen fathers in similar circumstances.
  • Eugene Volokh of the eponymous Conspiracy notes that the Court’s website describes the Court as playing a “crucial” role in “maintaining a ‘living Constitution’ whose broad provisions are continually applied to complicated new situations.”

Recommended Citation: James Bickford, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 2, 2011, 8:17 AM),