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Thursday round-up

Court watchers enjoyed yet another eventful day on Wednesday, with the Justices releasing opinions in three cases and hearing oral argument in two more.

In Perry v. New Hampshire, the Court – by a vote of eight to one – held that the Due Process Clause does not require a preliminary judicial inquiry into the reliability of eyewitness identification if the identification was not procured under unnecessarily suggestive circumstances by law enforcement. Lyle Denniston covered the opinion for this blog, while Greg Stohr reported on it for Bloomberg.  Other coverage comes from USA Today, the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, JURIST, AP, and Kent Scheidegger of Crime and Consequences; at ACSblog, Brandon Garrett compares the decision in Perry to the Court’s decision earlier this week in Smith v. Cain.

In the second opinion of the day, Pacific Operators v. Valladolid, the Court unanimously held that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act extends coverage for injury to an employee who can establish a substantial nexus between his injury and his employer’s operations on the shelf; JURIST has a brief summary of the case.

Of the three opinions released yesterday, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC garnered the most attention. In this case – which Lyle Denniston of this blog described as “one of the most important church-state rulings that the Court had issued” in at least two decades, the Court held that employees designated as “ministers” cannot sue the religious organizations for which they work for employment discrimination. Other coverage of the case comes from Joan Biskupic of USA Today, Adam Liptak of the New York Times, Nina Totenberg of NPR, the  Washington Post, Reuters, AP, CNN, ABC News, and the Constitutional Law Prof Blog. In early commentary on the case for the Atlantic, Wendy Kaminer criticizes the extent to which the case will give religious organizations “the right to enjoy public funds . . . unaccompanied by the responsibility to comply with generally applicable public laws,” while Richard Garnett writes in an op-ed for USA Today that the case “simply reminds us that the law’s reach is limited.”

In Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals, in which the Court heard oral argument yesterday, the Justices considered whether a provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act violates the Eleventh Amendment. The Associated Press has more coverage, as does ACSblog. The Court also heard oral argument in Roberts v. Sea-Land Services, which involves issues related to compensation under the Longshore Act.

Elsewhere, commentators continued to discuss Tuesday’s oral argument in FCC v. Fox Television Stations. Garrett Epps has a detailed recap for the Atlantic, as does Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post’s ComPost blog.  Tony Mauro of the First Amendment Center blog notes that, “at the end of the hourlong arguments, it was not certain whether the nostalgic appeal of a ‘haven’ would carry the day and rescue the FCC rules.” More commentary on Fox is available in the Community on this blog.

And finally, other commentators began looking forward to the March oral arguments in the health care litigation. JURIST reports on the brief filed on Tuesday by twenty-six states, challenging the constitutionality of the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, while Nicole Huberfeld provides her initial impressions of the brief at Concurring Opinions.


  • Appellate Daily examines three potential opportunities for the Court to revisit Padilla v. Kentucky.
  • PrawfsBlawg uses Cavazos v. Smith to “highlight challenging issues in the judicial use of scientific evidence.”
  • Also at PrawfsBlawg, Howard Wasserman looks at two cases that “together suggest a ‘retail’ approach to constitutional rights and civil enforcement of constitutional rights.”
  • ·         At Slate, Brandon L. Garrett examines Justice Thomas’s dissent in Smith v. Cain.
  • ·         Constitutional Law Prof Blog takes an in-depth look at the oral argument in Knox v. SEIU, argued earlier this week.
  • And at this blog, Ronald Mann analyzes the Court’s decision in CompuCredit Corporation v. Greenwood.

Recommended Citation: Nabiha Syed, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 12, 2012, 9:45 AM),