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Friday round-up

Following up on yesterday’s evening round-up, we have more coverage of, and commentary on, the six decisions that the Court issued yesterday.  Kali has this overview of yesterday’s decisions, while the Washington Post also has a brief summary of yesterday’s cases.

Discussing Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., in which the Court held that a Vermont law which prohibits the commercial use of information about physicians’ prescribing habits is unconstitutional, David Gans argues at Balkinization that the decision “throws commercial speech doctrine into a state of considerable confusion,” because it has “undermined [Central Hudson] by introducing a new, undefined, yet clearly stricter standard of review.” At the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein examines Justice Breyer’s dissent in Sorrell, while the editorial board of the New York Times criticizes the decision as “unwisely narrow[ing] the gap between commercial and political speech.”  [Disclosure:  Goldstein, Howe & Russell, the sponsor of the blog, represents a group of respondents in Sorrell.]

At the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Steven Schwinn contrasts yesterday’s decision in PLIVA v. Mensing with the Court’s 2009 decision in Wyeth v. Levine.  David Savage at the Los Angeles Times has coverage of both Sorrell and PLIVA, as does Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal.  More coverage of Sorrell can be found at FiercePharma, Forbes, and the Boston Globe; CNN and Joan Biskupic of USA Today have more coverage of PLIVA.

In Bullcoming v. New Mexico, the Confrontation Clause case, David Savage at the Los Angeles Times summarizes the decision and looks at the effect that the Court’s holding will have on crime labs.  The Daily Kos, Adam Liptak at the New York Times, Robert Barnes at the Washington Post, and Forbes all have additional coverage.

Discussing yesterday’s decision in Stern v. Marshall, the Anna Nicole Smith bankruptcy case, Steve Jakubowski at the Bankruptcy Litigation Blog describes the Court’s opinion as a “bombshell in several respects.”  David Savage at the Los Angeles Times, Adam Liptak at the New York Times, NPRblog, and the Boston Globe have coverage of the case. 

The Court’s decision in CSX Transportation v. McBride also garnered considerable coverage, including from NASDAQ, the San Francisco Chronicle, Fox Business, Courthouse News Service, and the Belleville News Democrat of St. Louis.  Finally, the Kansas City Star and the Louisville Courier-Journal have coverage of the Court’s decision in Freeman v. United States.

Monday’s decisions in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the gender-discrimination class action case, and Turner v. Rogers, in which the Court held that there is no automatic right to counsel for indigent parents in civil contempt proceedings, also continue to generate commentary.

At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr reviews the Court’s recent decisions, including Wal-Mart v. Dukes, and concludes that “no one will be happier to see the Supreme Court begin its summer vacation than the nation’s trial lawyers.”  At the Loyola Law School Faculty Blog, Michael Waterstone suggests that “an important undercurrent” in the Wal-Mart case “is the divergent views on the role of employment discrimination and the acknowledgement of unconscious bias.” Sergio Campos of PrawfsBlawg  also considers “the underlying issue of Title VII liability.” He cautions that if legal scholarship is to have an impact on judges’ decision making, legal academics must “speak[] the same language as the courts.” Finally, Conglomerate’s Christine Hurt considers the potential consequences of the Wal-Mart case for securities issuers.

Discussing Monday’s decision in Turner, The Cockle Bur’s Shon Hopwood argues that Justice Breyer correctly “reach[ed] out to decide issues not raised in the petition for certiorari.”  And at Concurring Opinions, Richard Zorza emphasized the consequences of the “two basic holdings” of Turner:  “Turner increases the obligation of trial judges to assure ‘fundamental fairness’ in their treatment of unrepresented persons, and it decreases the opportunity to make claims for a civil right to counsel.”  Reviewing the commentary posted at Concurring Opinions (Bruce Green discusses Turner and professional responsibility; John Pollock notes that state courts and constitutions will continue to be the primary “battlefield” for right-to-counsel disputes; and Mary Schmid Mergler looks for “new avenues for right to counsel reform”), Zorza also previews some of the issues that the Co-Op bloggers will be covering in the next few days.


  • The editorial board of the New York Times argues that “the Supreme Court’s voluntary compliance with the judges’ conduct code isn’t enough to protect impartiality and credibility.” 
  • At Dorf on Law, Neil Buchanan responds to an earlier post by Mike Dorf on the Wal-Mart case; he concludes that “we cannot say whether the Roberts Court’s pro-business decisions are increasing or decreasing economic efficiency, because they are doing both and neither.” 
  • ACSBlog covers the efforts of Representative Chris Murphy to hold a hearing that considers ways to “end the Supreme Court’s immunity to judicial ethics laws,” reports Ian Millhiser of Think Progress.
  • ACSBlog reviews (and provides a link to video of) a recent panel at the American Constitution Society Convention on the Roberts Court’s record on the First Amendment, including observations from Adam Liptak, Lee C. Bollinger, and Floyd Abrams.

Recommended Citation: Kiera Flynn, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 24, 2011, 10:43 AM),