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Wednesday round-up

While news of Monday’s decisions dominated the headlines, the Court quietly granted certiorari in two new cases Tuesday morning.  Lyle Denniston discussed both grants for this blog in a post yesterday.

The first, Williams v. Illinois, follows on last week’s decision in Bullcoming v. New Mexico, in which the Court held that the Confrontation Clause prohibits prosecutors from introducing a lab report through the in-court testimony of an analyst who did not sign the document or observe the tests discussed in the report. [Disclosure:  Goldstein, Howe & Russell, the sponsor of this blog, represented the petitioner in Bullcoming.]  In Williams, the Court will consider whether the Confrontation Clause permits an expert to testify about the results of a DNA test conducted at a private laboratory when the DNA test results are used to explain the basis for the expert’s own opinion rather than to support the truth of the accusations against the defendant. JURIST has coverage, and today’s relist and hold watch discusses Williams as well.

In the second case, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Court will consider whether a couple charged with violating the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws can seek judicial review of the EPA’s compliance orders prior to enforcement. Bloomberg, the Associated Press (via the Washington Post), the Washington Times, and Lawrence Hurley of Greenwire (via the New York Times) all have coverage.

The Court also declined to hear several high-profile cases yesterday. It denied cert. in Green Party of Connecticut v. Lenge, a challenge to Connecticut’s public financing law for elections. The Associated Press (via the Washington Post) has coverage, while Fred Wertheimer at the Huffington Post applauds the denial as “an important victory for the people of Connecticut, for the Connecticut public financing law and for the cause of public financing of elections.”  The Court also granted, vacated, and remanded the judicial pay case Beer v. United States to the Federal Circuit; the Blog of Legal Times has coverage. Finally, CNN (via the Los Angeles Times), the Associated Press (via the Washington Post), and Bloomberg all report on yesterday’s denial of certiorari in Clemens v. McNamee, a case arising out of a defamation claim brought by famed baseball pitcher Roger Clemens against his former personal trainer.

The Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association decision continues to draw attention in both the blogosphere and the media. At Concurring Opinions, Josh Blackman analyzes Justice Thomas’s “rather curious” dissent, the Volokh Conspiracy’s Eugene Volokh discusses the “noteworthy” voting line-up, and Julian Sanchez of Cato@Liberty explains why, in his view, “the elements that supposedly made Citizens United a travesty are present here.”  The Washington Post editorial board criticizes the decision as “misguided,” while Steven Helle applauds the decision as “right[ing] a video game wrong” in an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune.

Since the October Term 2010 effectively ended yesterday, retrospectives have started rolling in. The Blog of Legal Times features a PBS NewsHour term-review interview (video) with the National Law Journal’s Marcia Coyle. James Vicini of Reuters analyzes the Term from a business perspective, while Adam Liptak of The New York Times notes that the Court continued its work on “two signature projects of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.: defending free speech and curbing big lawsuits.” In her review, Joan Biskupic of USA Today concludes that “the majority exerted its power particularly on business cases,” and that “while the nine-member bench looks different, an enduring conservative majority has deepened its imprint on the law.”  In the Washington Post, Robert Barnes looks at voting patterns on the Court and concludes that although this Term “lacked the blockbuster decisions of years past, [] it appeared to make one thing clear: George W. Bush and Barack Obama got what they hoped for when they nominated the justices who will shape the court’s future.”  Jonathan Adler of the Volokh Conspiracy disputes the conventional wisdom that the Roberts Court is overwhelmingly “pro-business,” contending instead that “it is a Court that business often likes — except when it doesn’t.” Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr reviews the Term from a First Amendment perspective. Finally, Slate adds four new pieces to its “Breakfast Table” series on the Court’s Term, featuring analysis from Dahlia Lithwick, Paul Clement, and Walter Dellinger.


  • In the Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin explains how Justice Kagan has “rejuvenated” the Court’s liberal wing.
  • The BLT reports on the send-off party at the Department of Justice for Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal.
  • The Browser interviews Justice Breyer on five books that influenced him intellectually (hat tip to Todd Zywicki of the Volokh Conspiracy for the link).
  • The Student Press Law Center reports on two upcoming petitions involving questions of student expression on the Internet (hat tip to Howard Bashman of How Appealing for the link).
  • Crime and Consequences compiles each Circuit’s “scorecard” on criminal cases, noting that the Court reversed all eight criminal cases from the Ninth Circuit this term.
  • Josh Blackman of Concurring Opinions compares OT2010 predictions by FantasySCOTUS and Tom Goldstein of this blog.
  • In an op-ed for the New York Times, Jeff Sheshol considers the Justices’ recent activities outside the Court and concludes that when the Court next faces a challenge, “it may find fewer Americans on its side if its members allow themselves to be perceived, in Justice Breyer’s words, as ‘junior-varsity politicians’ who possess, but do not merit, the last word.”

Recommended Citation: Kiran Bhat, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 29, 2011, 9:24 AM),