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Monday round-up

With oral arguments in the challenge to the Affordable Care Act set to begin in two weeks, the weekend’s coverage of the Court focuses on the Term’s most anticipated case.

In the New York Times, Adam Liptak writes that the Court’s health care decision will “shape, if not define,” the legacy of Chief Justice John Roberts, reasoning that “clashes like the one over the health care law come around only a few times in a century, and he may well complete his service without encountering another case posing such fundamental questions about the structure of American government.” Michael Leahy of the Washington Post profiles former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who will serve as counsel for Florida and the other states challenging the law as unconstitutional.  Leahy observes that “the personal stakes in the battle are high for Clement,” who is “frequently mentioned by Republicans as being on the short list of Supreme Court nominees should the GOP win back the White House.” Writing for Forbes, Lawrence Hunter describes the White House’s “campaign to hoist the Court on the petard of conservative justice Antonin Scalia’s words,” based on the Justice’s “expansive view of . . . the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.” And at Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn discusses the possible political consequences of a decision either way.

In addition, as Joshua noted in Friday’s round-up, the White House is coordinating a series of events that it hopes will showcase the Affordable Care Act’s most popular provisions. Bloomberg’s Alex Wayne provides additional coverage of these efforts, while USA Today’s David Jackson reports on efforts by both sides to make their cases in the court of public opinion. At the ABA Journal, Debra Cassens Weiss reports (as Joshua also noted on Friday) on the recent bankruptcy filing by Mary Brown, one of the lead individual plaintiffs in the case, who lists unpaid medical bills as part of her debt. The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times argues that Brown is an “exemplar of a problem the new law was designed to address,” emphasizes that there are too many uninsured Americans “racking up . . . in medical bills every year that they cannot afford, forcing doctors and hospitals to pass those costs on to federal taxpayers and those patients who can pay their bills.”



  • The editorial board of the New York Times calls on the Justices to adopt a formal recusal process, rather than allowing each Justice to decide when his or her recusal is necessary, arguing that such an approach would “add considerably to the Court’s credibility with the American public.”
  • As both Joshua and Nabiha noted last week, Justice Antonin Scalia traveled to Middletown, Connecticut on Thursday to deliver a speech to students at Wesleyan University on the originalist approach to the First Amendment. Jim Salemi of the Middletown Press provides additional coverage of the Justice’s visit.
  • The Associated Press’s Denise Lavoie (via the Boston Globe) reports on recent remarks made by Justice Elena Kagan to the National Association of Women Judges.  Justice Kagan told the crowd that, although the Court hears fewer cases than it did in the past, the Justices are still working hard.
  • At the WSJ Law Blog, Joe Palazzolo reports that Paul Clement has advised corporate counsel to pay close attention to the outcome of United States v. Alavarez, the First Amendment challenge to the Stolen Valor Act. Clement contends that, because so many regulations of businesses are premised on the idea that false speech is not protected by the First Amendment, a strong decision knocking down the law could shake that foundation.
  • Douglas Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy discusses Southern Union v. United States, in which the Justices will hear arguments next Monday. In this case, the Justices will consider whether the Court’s 2000 decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey applies to the imposition of criminal fines.
  • UPI’s Michael Kirkland discusses the prospect that today’s Court might overrule Griswold v. Connecticut, in which the Court held that a state law prohibiting the use of contraceptives was unconstitutional.
  • In an op-ed for CNN, Jennifer Gratz, the petitioner in Gratz v. Bollinger, the challenge to the University of Michigan’s undergraduate admissions policy, emphasizes that Abigail Fisher – the petitioner in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin – is a “young woman whose dreams were dashed because of discrimination sanctioned by the state . . . [and a] young woman who is fighting for her right to equal treatment under the law.”

Recommended Citation: Marissa Miller, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 12, 2012, 8:40 AM),