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Monday round-up

The Court’s growing docket of high-profile cases continues to attract coverage and commentary.  Surveying the Court’s upcoming healthcare, immigration, and redistricting cases, UPI characterizes the cases as part of a “much larger battle over federalism,” Bill Blum of Truthdig describes them as “cases that should worry you,” and at The Daily Beast Adam Winkler contends that the outcomes of these pitched legal battles could “sway the presidential election.”

Emphasizing the dispute over state-federal relations in Arizona v. United States, Carolyn Coleman of National League of Cities describes it as a test of “states’ rights to limit the way undocumented immigrants live in the United States,” while at Dorf on Law, Michael Dorf emphasizes that the case is “at least as much about how to allocate power between Congress and the President as it is about the balance of power between the states and the federal government.”  The editorial board of the Denver Post urges the Court to “see the matter for what it is – an encroachment on the federal government’s mandate to set immigration policy,” while the editorial board of the Boston Globe also weighs in, arguing that although the Court “will only hear legal arguments about the Constitution and states’ rights,”  “the public also needs to weigh the impact that these hastily designed crackdowns have not just on illegal immigrants, but also on the economy, the legal system, and the rights of all citizens.” Jeremy Leaming of ACSblog discusses an American Constitution Society issue brief which concludes that last Term’s decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, upholding another Arizona law seeking to regulate illegal immigration, “will likely have no bearing” on the Court’s decision this Term.

On the redistricting front, Lyle recently posted on a federal district court’s decision to reschedule the Texas primaries for April 3, 2012, “a move that will give the Supreme Court some added time to settle whether the District Court can craft new election districts — and, if so, how to do it — for seats in the state legislature and in Texas’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives.”  Ariane de Vogue of ABC News provides background, observing that the redistricting controversy has “wreak[ed] havoc in Texas,” while Gary Martin of the Houston Chronicle suggests that the Court’s decision may cause partisan manipulation of political lines to “backfire on Republicans and Democrats.”

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post reports on calls by affirmative action foes for the Court to grant cert. in Fisher v. University of Texas, a “potentially divisive and game-changing case.”  In his column for the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby contends that the Court should use Fisher as a vehicle to declare race-based admissions unconstitutional.  (Lyle analyzed Fisher back in September, and Stephen Wermiel featured it in his October 11, 2011 “SCOTUS for Law Students” column).

Finally, statements by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich concerning his willingness to defy Supreme Court rulings and reduce the power of the federal judiciary drew heavy commentary over the weekend.  David Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Amy Gardner and Matt DeLong of the Washington Post, Trip Gabriel at The Caucus blog of the New York Times, Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times, Russell Berman at The Hill, Fox News, and The Daily Beast all provide coverage.


  • Lyle posted another article in his continuing series on the health care cases, focusing on the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide insurance to their workers (the “other” mandate).
  • Amanda recently posted an academic round-up focused on Connick v. Thompson and Smith v. Cain – both of which involve “the ongoing saga of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office.”
  • The Tuscaloosa News reports that Justice Thomas will attend the opening of the Tuscaloosa Federal Building and Courthouse today.
  • Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger of the Washington Post report on “a surprise hit at the Supreme Court gift shop”:  the cookbook created by spouses of the Justices as a tribute to Marty Ginsburg, the late husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • American Medical News reports on the oral argument earlier this month in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., the medical patent case.
  • The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports on the decision earlier this month in Judulang v. Holder, in which the Court deemed “arbitrary and capricious” a Board of Immigration Appeals policy governing when a resident alien is eligible to ask the Attorney General for relief from deportation under a provision of the immigration laws that has been repealed.
  • At the National Review Online, Eric J. Segall reiterates his argument that Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the health care litigation.
  • The Winston-Salem Journal reports on the brief in opposition filed in Forsyth County v. Joyner, an Establishment Clause case about legislative prayers.
  • Lars Etzkorn of the National League of Cities discusses the amicus brief that his organization recently filed in Filarsky v. Delia, characterizing the case as one “that will affect local governments’ ability to hire affordable, high-quality outside legal counsel.”
  • In commentary for the (Albany) Times-Union, linguistics professor Deborah Tannen argues against requiring cameras in the Court, since “doing so could instead bolster the politicizing of the court — and thereby weaken it.”
  • As Marissa noted in Friday’s round-up, music legend Phil Spector plans to ask the Supreme Court to review his murder conviction.  Bill Mears of CNN has coverage, as do MSNBC, Jen Chaney of the Washington Post, and Cameron Matthews of Spinner.

Recommended Citation: Joshua Matz, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 19, 2011, 9:35 AM),