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Monday round-up

Last week’s decision in United States v. Jones, the GPS tracking case, remained a popular topic for commentators over the weekend.  In an op-ed for the New York Times, Barry Friedman contends that in an age of lives lived online, Jones “may turn the Fourth Amendment into a ticking time bomb, set to self-destruct – and soon – in the face of rapidly emerging technology.”  Renée Hutchins strikes a similar chord in an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun, describing the majority’s focus on trespass as “miss[ing] a momentous opportunity to speak clearly in a brave new world.”  The editorial boards of the Salt Lake Tribune and Dallas Morning News similarly emphasized the opinion’s lack of guidance, while the New York Daily News expresses concern that the decision “will make it hard for cops to get bad guys.”

Others commentators struck a more positive note.  Daniel Solove of Concurring Opinions observes that the “concurring opinions indicate five votes for a broader[,] more progressive view of the Fourth Amendment, one which breaks from some of the Court’s antiquated notions of privacy.”  The editorial boards of the Buffalo News and Burlington Times News praise the decision as drawing a line in defense of privacy from government intrusion, while Mark Fitzgibbons – in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner – applauds the decision as an “important Fourth Amendment win for conservatives.”

Other commentary on the decision comes from Lior Strahilevitz in an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune, Berin Szoka and Charlie Kennedy of CNET, the editorial board of the Boston Globe, and Kenneth Jost of Jost on Justice.  Finally, NPR’s On the Media interviewed Orin Kerr about the opinion.

Situating the Court’s recent decision in Perry v. Perez in a long history of redistricting battles, Sam Issacharoff writes in the Boston Review that “[t]he justices have failed to find an easy definition of what is fair, what level of manipulation is permissible, how much greed is tolerable, how many districts should be assigned to this group or that group,” concluding that “[t]he solution lies in taking the process of redistricting away from the insiders . . . the wisdom of moving to independent redistricting bodies is obvious.”  Reuters discusses whether that the Court’s opinion suggests a willingness to reconsider Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  Finally, Michael Li of the Texas Redistricting Blog reports on a recent brief filed by the Department of Justice “explaining DOJ’s position on what the Supreme Court’s opinion requires the San Antonio court to do when addressing section 5 concerns in the course of drawing interim maps.”

On Friday, the Department of Justice filed a brief in the health care cases arguing that nearly all of the Affordable Care Act should survive even if the Court declares the Act’s individual mandate provision unconstitutional.  Reuters has coverage, while the ACA Litigation Blog has the filings.  (Lyle discussed the severability issue as part of his essay series on the healthcare cases).

  • Discussing the Court’s recent opinions in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC (ministerial exception), United States v. Jones (GPS tracking), and the Texas redistricting cases, Robert Barnes concludes in the Washington Post that “the Court has shown unity,” but has offered “little guidance.”
  • On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart discussed the Court’s decision in Hosanna-Tabor and also covered this month’s oral arguments in FCC v Fox .
  • As Marissa noted in Friday’s round-up, last week Justice Thomas received an honorary degree from his alma mater, Holy Cross.  The Worcester Telegram, Boston Globe, and Holy Cross all have coverage
  • John Dean of Verdict discusses the prospect that December’s decision by the Montana Supreme Court opinion upholding a state law limiting campaign contributions by corporations will prompt the five Justices in the majority in Citizens United to reconsider that decision.  (Lyle covered the Montana court’s opinion for this blog).
  • At the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Ruthann Robson discusses a recent decision by the Tenth Circuit upholding the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act – the question presented in United States v. Alvarez.
  • Ilya Shapiro of CATO@Liberty discusses Cato’s recent amicus filing supporting the cert. petition in Morgan v. Swanson, a case about student free speech rights .
  • The Saipan Tribune reports on Justice Sotomayor’s visit to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and covers her reception with Governor Fitial.
  • At Forbes, Michelle Maisto responds to the Court’s recent holding in National Meat Association v. Harris that the Federal Meat Inspection Act preempts a California state law, and expresses concern that current regulations are inadequate .

Recommended Citation: Joshua Matz, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 30, 2012, 2:58 PM),