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Thursday round-up

With the start of the new Term a little over a month away, commentators and court-watchers continue to review the Court’s past Term.  At the ABA Journal, David L. Hudson Jr. observes that the First Amendment “took center stage” this Term with “many conservative justices embracing fundamental free speech principles in several cases,” while  Steven Seidenberg suggests that last Term may signal “a new, more harmonious relationship between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit.”  Elsewhere in the ABA Journal, John Gibeaut considers the potential effects of Brown v. Plata, in which the Court affirmed an order capping California’s prison population to cure Eighth Amendment violations caused by overcrowding, in light of Philadelphia’s experiences after settling a prison overcrowding case nearly twenty-five years ago, while Mark Walsh reports on the “robust discussion among attorneys” that followed Turner v. Rogers, in which the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment does not automatically require a state to provide counsel to indigent litigants facing a civil contempt proceeding.  Finally, Rory Little of the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law provides an overview of last Term’s decisions implicating criminal law.

SCOTUSblog’s summer symposium on the Court’s recent class-action decisions and their effects also continues.  Yesterday Paul Karlsgodt reviewed last Term’s decisions in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes and AT&T v. Concepcion; he concluded that although the two cases “do not appear to be causing the sea change in class actions that many predicted,” that “does not mean that [they] are not valuable tools in defending class actions.”  Sarah Crawford takes a slightly different view of the two decisions, contending that they have weakened the rights of workers and highlight the need for a legislative response.

In USA Today, former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former Congressman Bob Barr have an op-ed on Demiraj v. Holder, a pending petition in which the wife and child of an Albanian national who agreed to cooperate with U.S. authorities in the prosecution of an Albanian mobster have asked the Court to determine whether, for purposes of the Immigration and Nationality Act, persecution in retaliation for the acts of a family member constitutes persecution on account of “membership in a particular social group.”


  • The Associated Press (via the Kingsport Times News) discusses Texas Governor Rick Perry’s call for limits on the Justices’ judicial tenure.
  • Sentencing Law and Policy provides continuing coverage of Justice Ginsburg’s recent comments at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law (which Kiran covered yesterday).
  • Reuters (via the Los Angeles Times) and Fox both examine the effects that last year’s decision in Citizens United is likely to have on the 2012 presidential election.
  • Debra Cassens Weiss at the ABA Journal reports on an appearance by Justice Breyer and retired Justice O’Connor at the ABA’s annual meeting.


Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Sep. 1, 2011, 9:01 AM),