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Wednesday round-up

Yesterday’s news largely focused on cases that are already on the Court’s docket for this Term.  For this blog’s Academic round-up, Amanda Frost examines some of the academic commentary on the Fourth Amendment’s applicability to GPS surveillance, an issue the Court will take up in United States v. Jones.  Mark Walsh of the ABA Journal also discusses Jones, noting that “the [C]ourt’s ruling is likely to have implications for, though it won’t necessarily resolve, whether variations on GPS tracking would also require a warrant.”  At the Huffington Post, Mike Sacks reports on a recent Ninth Circuit decision holding that corporations can be held liable in U.S. courts for human rights violations perpetrated abroad – an issue that the Supreme Court recently agreed to review in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.  Reuters (via the Los Angeles Times) also has coverage of the Ninth Circuit decision.  For this blog, Lyle Denniston discusses a recent motion to dismiss as moot the upcoming case Knox v. SEIU Local 1000, in which the Court is slated to consider the fees that non-union workers must pay to unions who represent them, while SCOTUSblog’s Community discusses M.B.Z. v. Clinton, in which the Court will consider “the implications of the political question doctrine and separation of powers in a contentious area of foreign policy.” 

Yesterday’s news also focused on the pending challenges to the Affordable Care Act.  James Vicini of Reuters (via the Chicago Tribune) breaks down the “key issues” in the legal briefs filed in the six pending cases in which the constitutionality of the Act is at issue, while the Associated Press (via the Washington Post) reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “which has been a fierce opponent” of the health care law, has taken a “more nuanced approach” in urging the Court to take up the Act:  although the Chamber has not taken a position on whether the Act is constitutional, it has asked the Court to invalidate the entire law if the individual mandate provision is deemed unconstitutional.  Finally, in an op-ed at theWall Street Journal’s Political Diary, Joseph Rago discusses what he characterizes as the “big bet” that the federal government made in arguing that the individual mandate cannot be severed from the rest of the Act; he contends that although the government “may think that [its argument] will encourage the justices to be more careful, . . . such a risk may turn out to be a huge legal error in retrospect.”


  • At the AmLaw Daily, Tom Huddleston Jr. has coverage of Maples v. Thomas, which was argued earlier this month.  At issue in Maples is whether a death row inmate’s procedural default can be excused when it occurred as a result of his lawyers missing a filing deadline.  (Thanks to Howard Bashman for the link.)
  • Writing for Slate, Richard L. Hasen argues that one “unnecessary” sentence in Justice Kennedy’s Citizens United opinion paved the way for the return of soft money and Super PACs in national politics.
  • At the National Law Journal, Tony Mauro describes a recent American Enterprise Institute report offering proposals about how to deal with a terrorist attack on the Supreme Court.
  • Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal summarizes a recent op-ed piece by John Yoo praising Justice Thomas as the “intellectual godfather” of the tea party movement, as well as a recent New York Times op-ed by Joe Nocera on the Bork nomination. 
  • Kent Schneidegger at the blog Crime and Consequences reports on the Court’s denial of a stay pending certiorari yesterday in a case involving a person resisting a grand jury subpoena for records regarding his Swiss bank account. 

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 26, 2011, 10:21 AM),