Breaking News

Wednesday round-up

Yesterday’s coverage of the Court largely focused on upcoming cases the Court is expected to hear this Term.

Discussing the upcoming case Hollingsworth v. Perry, in which the Court will address the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the argument, advanced by the supporters of same-sex marriage, that the sponsors of California’s Proposition 8 have no right to defend the state law in federal court.  “It’s an argument they may come to regret,” Egelko notes, adding that if it succeeds, “some legal analysts say the ruling may be so narrow that it benefits only the two couples who filed the suit, leaving Prop. 8 in effect for the rest of the state.”

At Slate, Brandon L. Garrett and Erin Murphy discuss Maryland v. King, scheduled for oral argument on February 26, in which the Court will consider whether the Fourth Amendment allows the states to collect and analyze DNA from people arrested and charged with serious crimes.  “What we know now,” Garrett and Murphy write, “is that no good evidence shows that taking . . . DNA from arrestees helps to solve crimes in any meaningful way.  We also know the cost to liberty and privacy.  That’s the tradeoff the Supreme Court should weigh.”  Additional coverage of King comes from Dan Cossins at The Scientist.

Finally, SCOTUSblog’s Shelby County v. Holder symposium continued yesterday with three new posts.  Christian Adams discusses “the three main reasons why [he] thinks Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act – which outlines the formula that is used to determine whether a jurisdiction is ‘covered by the preclearance requirement created by Section 5 – will be struck down,” while Joshua Thompson comments that “[it] will be interesting . . . to see if the Court delves into Section 5’s operative provisions.”  And Nina Perales contends that “[t]he decision this Term in Shelby[] will be critical to the ability of the growing Latino electorate to participate on an ‘equal basis in the government under which they live.’”


  • Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal notes that six Justices – Chief Justice Roberts, along with Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan – attended last night’s State of the Union address.  Among the Justices absent from the address was Justice Scalia, who – as Jessica Chasmar of The Washington Times and The Hill’s Sam Baker also report – appeared at an event at which he discussed his time on the Court with NPR’s legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.
  • Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal (via the Daily Report Online) discusses American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, scheduled for argument later this month, in which the Justices will consider whether the Federal Arbitration Act permits courts, invoking the “federal law of arbitrability,” to invalidate arbitration agreements on the ground that they do not permit class arbitration of a federal-law claim.
  • At the Huffington Post, Eric Jacobson urges the Supreme Court to intervene to halt the execution of Warren Hill, an intellectually disabled Georgia death row inmate who was recently denied clemency by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
  • The Trenton (N.J.) Times reports that the funeral Mass for Justice Alito’s mother, Rose F. Fradusco Alito, was held on Monday in Hamilton, New Jersey.
  • At The Atlantic, Peter Osnos discusses Justice Sotomayor’s newly released memoir, My Beloved World, observing that “[t]his is a Supreme Court [J]ustice’s book, but it is much more than that.  It is a saga that Americans – immersed again in a debate about immigration reform – can find much to learn from.”
  • Part two of SCOTUSblog’s interview with Linda Greenhouse, in which she discusses the press corps and reporting on the Court for thirty years, is now available at this blog.  (Part one of the interview can be found here).

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 13, 2013, 10:33 AM),