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Tuesday round-up

The Court ended the October Term 2010 with a flurry of activity, with the Justices issuing four opinions and granting certiorari in eleven cases before they rose for the summer yesterday.

Yesterday’s long-awaited decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association – in which the Court held that a California law limiting the sale of violent video games to minors is unconstitutional – captured substantial media attention.  Bloomberg, JURIST, the Wall Street Journal, McClatchy, CNN, and USA Today all have coverage, as do the New York Times and NPR.    In the blogosphere, Eugene Volokh summarizes the decision at the Volokh Conspiracy; while Ruthann Robson and Mike Dorf also have summaries at Constitutional Law Prof Blog and Dorf on Law, respectively.

In the last opinion of the Term, Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett (consolidated with McComish v. Bennett), the Court ruled, by a vote of five to four, that Arizona’s matching funds scheme, which provides additional funds to publicly funded candidates, substantially burdens political speech and is not justified by a compelling interest to survive First Amendment scrutiny. The Arizona Daily Star, Politico, the New York Times, and the Washington Post all more detail, while Lyle Denniston of this blog does so in-depth, calling the Court’s “latest foray” into public financing of candidates “its most important since 1976.” Rick Hasen discusses the decision at his Election Law Blog, while at Balkinization, Heather Gerken contends that, with respect to the state of campaign finance doctrine, “what we are witnessing is a doctrinal death match between two incompatible world views. The stakes are high, and so is the rhetoric.”

In two other decisions, Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown and J. McIntyre Machinery v. Nicastro, the Court rejected arguments that foreign companies were subject to suit in the United States.  In Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, the Court unanimously held that Goodyear’s foreign subsidiaries were not amenable to suit in North Carolina on claims that were unrelated to any of their activity in that state; Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal report on both the Goodyear case and on yesterday’s decision in J. McIntyre Machinery v. Nicastro, in which a divided Court held that a British corporation could not be sued in New Jersey because the company had not sufficiently directed its business toward New Jersey. JURIST and Courthouse News Service also have coverage, as does Debra Cassens Weiss for the ABA Journal. And at Forbes, Daniel Fisher argues that the decisions “could foreshadow similar battles as the Internet thrusts threatens to drag companies under the jurisdiction of courts everywhere.”

And finally, in United States v. Juvenile Male, the Court vacated the decision of the Ninth Circuit, which had held that that the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) violate the Constitution’s Ex Post Facto Clause when applied to a juvenile who was deemed delinquent under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act prior to SORNA’s enactment. Instead, the Court held in a per curiam decision, the Ninth Circuit lacked authority to enter that decision because the case was moot.  JURIST and Courthouse News Service have coverage.

The Court also granted cert. in eleven cases, several of which garnered major attention; the full order list is available here. In Federal Communication Commission v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., the Court will consider whether the FCC’s current indecency enforcement regime, which bans nudity, expletives, and other indecent content on broadcast television, violates the First or Fifth Amendments. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times summarize the case and the history of the enforcement regime, as do Greg Stohr and Todd Shields of Bloomberg.  Other coverage centered on the Court’s decision to review the constitutionality of warrantless GPS tracking surveillance in United States v. Jones: the Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Wired, the Blog of Legal Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Volokh Conspiracy all report on the grant.

The Court also denied cert. in several noteworthy cases, including Philip Morris USA v. Jackson, a case seeking to impose constitutional limits on class-action lawsuits involving tobacco litigation. Bloomberg and Reuters provide coverage. And as Michael Doyle of McClatchy reports, the Court also declined to hear cases regarding a state law extending the statute of limitations for recovering Holocaust-era art (here) and California’s attempt to compel general fund payments in exchange for Indian casino approvals (here). Finally, Jonathan H. Adler of Volokh Conspiracy reports on the Court’s denial of certiorari in four cases involving the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), and Justice Scalia’s dissent in the denial of Derby v. United States. Lyle Denniston of this blog provides an overview of notable petitions, both granted and denied, yesterday.

And with that, the Court is now in its summer recess – providing the perfect opportunity for commentators to reflect on the Term. At C-SPAN (video), several law professors discuss the October Term and discuss key cases. (Hat-tip to Howard Bashman of How Appealing for the link.) Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal examines Justice Kennedy’s influence on the Court. And Slate finishes out its twelve-part series reviewing the Supreme Court’s Term, featuring commentary and analysis by Dahlia Lithwick, Paul Clement, and Walter Dellinger.


  • At PrawfsBlawg, Sergio Campos continues his commentary on Wal-Mart v. Dukes; in this post, he discusses how the case might affect procedural due process.
  • Concurring Opinions continues its symposium on Turner v. Rogers.

Recommended Citation: Nabiha Syed, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 28, 2011, 10:46 AM),