on Jul 17, 2012 at 10:00 am
Almost three weeks after it was issued, the Court’s decision in the health care cases continues to inspire commentary and analysis. At Dorf on Law, Mike Dorf observes that one question at the heart of the joint dissent in the case was “[w]hether there are any judicially enforceable limits on Congress’s affirmative powers” and then turns to a “subsidiary question” that the joint dissent does not “directly address” – whether courts are “the proper institution to enforce the limits on the scope of Congress’s enumerated powers?” At Foreign Affairs, Barry Friedman reviews the history of the health care litigation and concludes that the case’s most significant legacy might be the Chief Justice’s effort to “reestablish the boundaries between the three branches of government and between law and politics.” And at the Volokh Conspiracy, John Elwood argues that, although “some conservatives are not big fans of the Chief Justice right now…there is much for conservatives to like about the opinion.”
According to Gallup, however, Elwood’s argument may face an uphill battle: in a poll released yesterday, the Chief Justice’s favorable ratings among Republicans are down forty percentage points from 2005. Richard Wolf covers the results of the poll for USA Today, while in The Washington Post James F. Simon discusses whether, “[i]n abandoning the hard-driving conservative wing of the court,” Roberts has “finally become the chief justice of the United States in both title and spirit.”
At NPR, Nina Totenberg focuses on a different Justice who “has stood out for his dissents”: Justice Scalia. Meanwhile, at The New Yorker, Alex Carp reports on the collaboration between Justice Scalia and legal writing guru Bryan Garner.
In coverage of other cases from OT2011, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad announced that he has commuted the life sentences of thirty-eight inmates convicted as juveniles to a minimum of sixty years in response to the Court’s ruling in Miller v. Alabama, holding that juvenile homicide offenders cannot be sentenced to mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole. Reuters and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog have coverage. At the First Amendment Center, Tony Mauro reviews OT2011’s First Amendment cases, while Rory Little summarizes the Court’s decision in United States v. Alvarez for the American Bar Association. And Brantley Hargrove of the Dallas Observer reports on how the two sides in a dispute over a Texas immigration ordinance are invoking competing interpretations of the Court’s decision last month in Arizona v. United States.
And finally, other coverage looks ahead to cases that may be before the Court on the merits in the future. Lyle Denniston of this blog reports on the fourth petition challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, filed by an eighty-three-year-old New York resident. Reuters and the New York Law Journal also have coverage.
– Jack Balkin of Balkinization provides teaching materials related to the health care cases.