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Monday round-up

On Saturday, Justice Breyer was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association in Toronto.   Reuters has coverage of his speech, in which he told his audience that he had “never heard a voice raised in [the Court’s] conference room in 17 years.”  He also appeared on a panel with retired Justice O’Connor to advocate for civics education in schools.  The ABA Journal has coverage.  At that event, Justice Breyer commented on the increasing polarization of the electorate and the danger that, as counties become more likely to produce “landslide” outcomes at election time, “more and more people are seeing those in the other county as the enemy.”

In the New York Times, Emily Bazelon glances back at the past Term, which she describes as “straight-up dull,” and looks ahead at “the perils and the possibilities facing liberals as the court moves toward a potentially transformative moment in its history,” which may include rulings on “President Obama’s health care law, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, abortion restrictions and police stops of undocumented immigrants.”  The Harvard Crimson also reviews Justice Kagan’s first year on the Court, writing that the “feisty jurist… seems to be quickly finding her voice as a justice.”


  • At Balkinization, Jason Mazzone reports that during the last Term the Court “continued [a] trend” of “reviewing relatively few decisions from the state courts but reversing a very high proportion of them.” 
  • At Concurring Opinions, Gerard Magliocca discusses whether the Court will review the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (the subject of a SCOTUSblog symposium last week) in the coming Term.
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Steve Vladeck discusses an amicus brief that he filed in Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California on behalf of a group of former senior officials at the Department of Health and Human Services.  At issue in the case is whether Medicaid recipients and providers can sue a state for failing to pay the rates required by the Medicaid Act.  Vladeck notes that the Solicitor General is arguing against private enforcement authority, which the Department of Health and Human Services has traditionally supported.
  • Michael Kirkland of UPI reports on two cases – both mentioned in last Monday’s round-up – that may provide a vehicle for the Court to reconsider affirmative action in higher education.

Recommended Citation: James Bickford, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Aug. 8, 2011, 10:33 AM),