Breaking News

Wednesday round-up

The repercussions of two major recent decisions – Brown v. Plata and Citizens United v. FEC – are in the news today.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, in an effort to comply with the Court’s directive in Brown v. Plata to reduce prison overcrowding, California officials yesterday presented a plan “that relies mostly on moving low-level offenders to county jails and building new prisons to accommodate serious criminals.”   The Associated Press (via the Washington Post, with hat tips to Sentencing Law and Policy and Crime & Consequences) reports that “questions abound on whether the [California] Legislature will sign off on tax extensions to pay for shifting thousands of convicts from state prisons to local jails, whether voters will approve the taxes, whether the state can meet the deadlines set by the high court and how the shift will play out at local jails around the state.” And the Los Angeles Times reports, “California is in danger of violating . . . a November deadline to lower its [inmate] head count by more than 10,000” if it cannot secure the funding to shift prisoners to local authorities; California officials, however, have yet to request a delay. NPR’s Morning Edition notes an additional complication for the state’s plan to shift prisoners to county jails: many of those jails themselves are already overcrowded.  The San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Redlands Daily Facts have additional coverage of the state’s plan. (Thanks to Howard Bashman of How Appealing for the latter two links.)

Meanwhile, across the country in Alexandria, Virginia, a federal district court judge ruled that last year’s Citizens United decision overrides the Court’s reasoning in a 2003 case, FEC v. Beaumont, which upheld a ban on direct corporate contributions to federal candidates. (The judge’s decision affirmed and narrowed his previous ruling in the case.) According to The Caucus blog of the New York Times, the ruling “set[s] into motion what could be a pivotal court battle over one of the biggest legal and political issues of the day,” and SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston reports that “the issue is [already] headed toward the Supreme Court within a matter of months in one or more cases.” Further coverage of the decision is available in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog, Bloomberg, Politico, and Election Law Blog (also here).


  • The WSJ Law Blog discusses “conservative lawyer and blogger Ted Frank[’s] . . . invest[ment of] a little more than 10% of his net worth in options contracts that bet that Wal-Mart’s stock price will go up after a Supreme Court ruling in its favor in the [Wal-Mart v. Dukes] case.”
  • TIME and the Los Angeles Times cover the Court’s denial of certiorari on Monday in Martinez v. Board of Regents of the University of California, a case that challenged California’s policy of charging in-state university tuition rates to illegal immigrants who graduated from California high schools. The Court, without comment, left the California Supreme Court’s decision upholding the policy in place. The editorial boards of the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee weigh in, supporting the California Supreme Court’s underlying decision and the Court’s refusal to review the case.
  • At Slate, Alexander Wohl notes the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of Mapp v. Ohio and argues that “conservative judicial activists, still busily trying to get it overturned, have entirely misunderstood that it represents constitutional fidelity and adherence to the rule of law at its best.”
  • At SCOTUSblog, Lyle Denniston highlights a recently filed petition in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which “raises what may be the hottest international law issue now affecting business firms.”

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