Breaking News

Tuesday round-up

Yesterday’s big news was the Court’s decision to expand the scope of, and order reargument in, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, in which the Court heard oral argument last week.  As Lyle reports for this blog, the Court asked the parties to brief the question of whether, and under what circumstances, the Alien Tort Statute allows foreigners to sue in U.S. courts for acts that occurred overseas.  Greg Stohr of Bloomberg also has coverage, as do Nina Totenberg at NPR’s The Two-Way blog, Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, Adam Liptak of the New York Times, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, James Vicini of Reuters, Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal (via the Blog of Legal Times), Nicole Flatow of ACSblog, Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), and Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST. And in a post published at the Huffington Post before the reargument order was issued, Katie Redford responded to post-argument news reports suggesting that the Court was likely to rule in favor of corporations.

The Court also issued an opinion yesterday in Martel v. Clair. In a unanimous opinion by Justice Kagan, it held that when evaluating motions to substitute counsel in capital cases, courts should employ the same “interests of justice” standard that applies in non-capital cases.  The Court then reversed the decision of the Ninth Circuit, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Clair’s second request for new counsel. The Associated Press, Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST, David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal, Tom Ramstack of AHN News (via the Gant (Pa.) Daily), and Douglas A. Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy also have coverage.



  • In John Crane, Inc. v. Atwell and Griffin Wheel Co. v. Harris, the Court granted the petitions, vacated the decisions below, and remanded for further consideration in light of last week’s decision in Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products. Kali has details on yesterday’s orders here.
  • Dahlia Lithwick writes about the “story behind the story” of Lawrence v. Texas in the New Yorker.
  • The editorial board of the New York Times argues that the Court’s decision in Howes v. Fields “makes it more likely that the police will now try to define custody in a way that circumvents the spirit and principle of the Miranda rule.”
  • In the Daily Caller, AWR Hawkins praises Justice Alito’s majority opinion in McDonald v. Chicago as “provid[ing] a rare and educational glimpse into the historical meaning of the right to keep and bear arms.”
  • David Pesci of the Wesleyan Connection reports that Justice Scalia will deliver Wesleyan University’s annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Free Expression this Thursday.
  • Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal reports on comments by Justice Scalia (which Marissa also covered in yesterday’s round-up) at a Catholic conference over the weekend.
  • Shannon Bream of Fox News notes that the Obama Administration “isn’t counting out the possibility it could win its case by persuading” Justice Scalia.
  • Denny Walsh of the Sacramento Bee reports that the Court declined to hear the case of a San Diego fisherman who challenged the constitutionality of searches by California officials seeking out-of-season fish or game.
  • Brent Kendall of the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that the Court denied cert. in Perfect 10 v. Google, a copyright infringement case brought by a photo website.
  • At PrawfsBlawg, Michael J.Z. Mannheimer argues that Montana has a clear path to victory in the campaign corporate spending ban case: “First, and most obviously, get the three Citizens United dissenters and Justice Kagan to agree that the case should be overruled outright. Second, get the vote of Justice Thomas – that’s right, Justice Thomas.”
  • At the Huffington Post, Christopher Mathias discusses Harmon v. Markus, a challenge to the constitutionality of New York City’s rent control laws. Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal also has coverage.

Recommended Citation: Kiran Bhat, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 6, 2012, 9:30 AM),