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Wednesday round-up

Following the recent decision by the Eleventh Circuit striking down the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate,” journalists and commentators continue to discuss whether and when the Court will weigh in on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, as well as on what the effect of such a decision might be. In the Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin suggests that the Court “is likely to decide by January whether a ruling” will come before or after the 2012 presidential election.  And Politico’s Matt Dobias looks ahead to what might happen if the Court were to follow the Eleventh Circuit’s lead and sever the mandate from the rest of the Act; he suggests that insurance premiums “could shoot through the roof” because insurers would still have to cover “virtually anyone regardless of their health status and history, but without a mechanism that requires everyone to participate.”  As James reported Monday, one of the petitions that the Justices will consider at their September 26 Conference is Williams v. Maryland, which asks the Court to consider whether the right to carry a registered handgun outside the home without a carry permit is protected by the Second Amendment.  Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal and Noel Brinkerhoff of both have coverage of the case.


  • The Houston Chronicle reports on subsequent proceedings in the case of Henry Skinner, the petitioner in last Term’s Skinner v. Switzer, in which the Court held that an inmate could use federal civil rights laws to seek DNA testing.  Although Skinner’s efforts to seek relief in federal district court are pending, state courts have rescheduled his execution for November.  (Thanks to Howard Bashman for the link.)
  • According to the Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recently issued a decision that conflicts with the 2005 decision in Castle Rock v. Gonzales, in which the Court held that a mother could not sue a Colorado city for failing to enforce a restraining order against her estranged husband, who subsequently killed the couple’s three daughters.  (Thanks again to Howard Bashman for the link.)
  • A Wall Street Journal editorial reports that since the Court limited the definition of “honest services” fraud in last year’s Skilling v. United States, the Obama Administration now seeks to “remedy” the Court’s decision by pushing for passage of a bill that would “restore essentially unlimited prosecutorial discretion to bring white-collar cases.”  The editorial argues, however, that Congress should “drop these attempts to undermine a wise and unanimous Supreme Court decision.”
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Rick Hills concludes that the overall record of the Roberts Court on protecting federalism is “a mixed bag.”


Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Aug. 17, 2011, 9:10 AM),