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Wednesday round-up

The Court heard oral arguments in two cases yesterday.  In Martel v. Clair (which Edward Hartnett previewed for this blog), the Court is considering whether a state death row inmate is entitled to receive a new court-appointed attorney when he alleges that his first court-appointed attorney was not pursuing important evidence.  In Williams v. Illinois (which Tom Goldstein previewed), the Court is considering whether a court violates a criminal defendant’s Confrontation Clause rights by allowing an expert witness to testify about the results of DNA testing conducted by another analyst who has not appeared as a witness at trial.  Joan Biskupic of the USA Today, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, and David Savage of the Chicago Tribune all covered the oral argument in Williams; additional coverage comes from Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post – who reports that Justice Kennedy “seemed to abandon his concerns” about the Court’s current Confrontation Clause jurisprudence – and Jonathan Arogeti at ACSblog. Links to the transcripts in both Martel and Williams are available here.

Today the Court will hear arguments in two more cases.  In PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana (which Thomas Merrill previewed), the Court will consider the test for determining a river’s navigability, while in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (which Lyle Denniston previewed), the Court is considering whether the correlation between blood test results and patient health is patentable.  Matt Volz at the Associated Press previews PPL Montana; Greg Stohr and Susan Decker of Bloomberg preview the argument in Mayo Collaborative Services, while Denniston of this blog reports that Prometheus’s recent acquisition by a subsidiary of Nestle, in which Justice Breyer owns stock, raises the prospect that he will have to recuse himself from the case. 

In other news, yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts held a hearing on the Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2011, a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate that would require the Court to televise its public proceedings.  The witness list and webcast of the hearing are available on the Committee website, and a replay of our Live Blog of the event can be found here.  Additional coverage of the hearing is provided by Michelle Olsen of Appellate Daily, Ariane de Vogue of ABC News, Warren Richey of the Christian Science Monitor, Martha Nell of the ABA Journal, James Vicini of Reuters, Joe Palazzolo at the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, Andrew Raomonas at the Blog of Legal Times, C-SPAN, and the Associated Press.  In a New York Times letter to the editor, Professor Nancy Marder argues that in “hot-button political cases[,] cameras would only make that task more difficult.” while Dahlia Lithwick of Slate contrasts what she describes as the hearing’s “high-minded GOP talk of de-politicizing the judicial branch” with a same-day vote to deny cloture to a D.C. Circuit nominee based on “a partisan campaign to demonize her.”

Finally, coverage of Monday’s orders and arguments continued.  At the First Amendment Center, Tony Mauro discusses the recent cert. grant in Reichle v. Howards, which stems from the Secret Service’s arrest of a man who criticized and touched then-Vice President Cheney.  Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal covers Monday’s arguments in Messerschmidt v. Millender, while Anna Yukhananov of Reuters (via the Chicago Tribune) provides coverage of Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk, which was also argued Monday.


  • Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker lists the coming year’s five big legal cases, with the health care cases topping the list.
  • At The New Republic, Richard L. Hasen discusses one of the cases set for consideration at the Justices’ Conference on Friday:  Bluman v. FEC, a case involving the right of foreign non-citizens living in theU.S. to spend money inU.S. elections.
  • Joe Forward of the State Bar of Wisconsin examines the effect that the Court’s decisions in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, involving the constitutionality of life-without-parole sentences for juveniles convicted of murder, could have on Wisconsin laws.
  • At Adweek, Katy Bachman covers three cert. petitions asking the Court to overturn a Third Circuit decision “upholding the TV duopoly rules and the ban that prevents a single company from owning a TV station and a newspaper in the same market.”

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 7, 2011, 10:12 AM),