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Thursday round-up

With the Court in recess, some news coverage has focused on the effects of the Court’s recent rulings.  In a post at the PBS NewsHour’s The Rundown blog, Spencer Michels examines California’s response to Brown v. Plata, in which the Court affirmed a district court order requiring the state to reduce its prison population.  Michels concludes that “[t]he fact that the state is actively looking for ways to change a system that everyone agrees has been broken could signal a new more enlightened approach to sentencing and incarceration. So prison reformers have hopes that the high court may have started something that they’ve been pushing for decades.”  In the Stanford Daily, Hiroko Sunamura reports on the university’s response to the Court’s holding in Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. that the Bayh-Dole Act does not automatically vest title to federally funded invention in federal contractor, or allow such contractors to take title to such inventions:  the university, she explains, is “supervising a small but critical change to the language used in its [research] agreements.”

Commentators also continue to review the just-ended Term more generally. Writing at the Opinionator blog of the New York Times, Linda Greenhouse provides an “annotated scorecard” of the past Term, naming Justice Kagan the Term’s biggest winner and the Fourth Amendment as its biggest loser. Greenhouse also names Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association the Term’s most surprising case.

Last week’s denial of a stay of execution in the case of Mexican national Humberto Leal Garcia has prompted criticism and calls for congressional action. The editorial board of the Washington Post “disagree[s] with how the court disposed of the case,” but it acknowledges that “the majority made a critical point:  It has been seven years since the judicial arm of the United Nations found that the United States violated the Vienna Convention by not notifying Mr. Leal and his compatriots of their rights to consular access. It should not take another seven years before Congress acts to remedy the situation.”  In an op-ed for the News & Observer, Cara Robertson urges either Congress or Texas to take action, adding that “even Texans have been known to travel south of the border.”

Recommended Citation: Kiran Bhat, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 14, 2011, 8:26 AM),