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Thursday round-up

Yesterday, the Court heard oral arguments in Perry v. New Hampshire and Gonzalez v. Thaler, with media coverage focusing exclusively on the former. In Perry, the Court is considering whether due process protections against unreliable identification evidence apply to all identifications made under suggestive circumstances or instead only when the suggestive circumstances were orchestrated by the police.  Reports on the oral argument suggested that the Court was skeptical not only of Perry’s arguments, but also more generally of the idea that new constitutional safeguards are necessary to guard against unreliable eyewitness identifications.   Lyle Denniston of this blog has coverage, as do Adam Liptak of the New York Times, Joan Biskupic of USA Today, David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, James Vicini of Reuters, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Bill Mears of CNN, Dahlia Lithwick of Slate, Warren Richey of the Christian Science Monitor, Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post, and the AFP. Transcripts of yesterday’s are available here (Perry) and here (Gonzalez).

Justice Thomas’s dissent from the denial of cert. in Utah Highway Patrol Ass’n v. American Atheists continues to generate commentary. Writing for the Opinionator blog of the New York Times, Linda Greenhouse analyzes Justice Thomas’s dissent, which she characterizes as “making a strong argument for accepting this well-presented appeal and using it as a vehicle for sorting things out.”  However, she notes, “Justice Thomas wrote for himself alone. If he’s leading the court, he’s leading from behind.” In an op-ed for the Salt Lake Tribune, Frank D. Mylar – who represented the highway patrol group in the case – praises the dissent and contends that “the Establishment Clause waters are no less muddy today than they were last week.” And David L. Hudson, Jr. of the First Amendment Center argues that Justice Thomas’s “latest dissent hits the mark when he identifies that the Court is inconsistent when fielding church-state separation questions.”


  • Campbell Robertson and Adam Liptak of the New York Times preview next Tuesday’s argument in Smith v. Cain.
  • Jaikumar Vijayan of Computerworld previews Tuesday’s argument in United States v. Jones.
  • Joshua Armstrong of the Cronkite News Service (via the Tucson Sentinel) reports on the Court’s denial of cert. in Gila River Indian Community v. Lyon.
  • Professor Rory Little reviews the Court’s summary reversal in Cavazos v. Smith for the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section.
  • At Forbes, Justice O’Connor picks the Court’s seven most influential decisions.
  • Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico describes the possible fallout if the Court were to invalidate the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate requirement.
  • Thomas Spencer of the Birmingham News reports on recent remarks by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who told an audience that Alabama’s new immigration law would eventually land before the Supreme Court.
  • Joan Biskupic of USA Today notes that Justice Stevens’s new memoir Five Chiefs has “a modest tone, but between the lines are some strong assertions, notably criticism of his former colleague Chief Justice William Rehnquist.”
  • Claire Zillman of the American Lawyer (via Corporate Counsel) reports that the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs in Wal-Mart v. Dukes recently filed two new statewide class actions against the store in California and Texas.

Recommended Citation: Kiran Bhat, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 3, 2011, 10:05 AM),