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Monday round-up

This weekend’s coverage of the Court included continued discussion of the Obama Administration’s brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, as well as additional commentary on last week’s oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder.

As Lyle reported for this blog (and as Rachel covered in Friday’s round-up), on Thursday, the Obama Administration filed its amicus brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8. In the brief, the Administration argues that Prop. 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause because it California extended all of the “substantive rights and responsibilities of marriage” to same-sex domestic partners, while still refusing them the right be legally married. Additional coverage of the brief comes from Marcia Coyle at the Blog of the Legal Times, Luke Johnson writing for the Huffington Post, Josh Gerstein of Politico, and Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers. At the Christian Science Monitor, Brad Knickerbocker reports that actor Clint Eastwood is one of several Republicans to join an amicus brief by prominent conservatives who favor legalizing same-sex marriage. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Erwin Chemerinsky discusses the consequences if the Court dismisses the case on standing grounds, and notes that such a ruling would still be “a major victory for civil rights in California.” Also at the Los Angeles Times, David Savage speculates that shifts in public opinion on gay marriage might influence the Court, and in particular Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts. 

In addition, the weekend’s clippings contained further coverage of, and commentary on, last week’s oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, the constitutional challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The Wall Street Journal‘s Jess Bravin (subscription required) and the Christian Science Monitor’s Patrik Jonsson report that Massachusetts officials have challenged the Chief Justice’s statements at oral argument that the state has the worst ratio of African American voter turnout to white voter turnout. But as NPR‘s Nina Totenberg explains, it appears that the numbers cited by the Chief Justice simply failed to take into account the much larger margin of error for this statistic in Massachusetts, rendering the statistic somewhat unreliable. Finally, in his column for the Washington Post, George Will argues that because “Section 5 was enacted as a temporary response to many measures employed, primarily in the South, to disenfranchise minorities,” the Act is “stuck in the past.”


  • This week’s New Yorker contains an 8,000 word profile of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Jeffrey Toobin.
  • As Brandon Lowry of Thomson Reuters reports, the city of Los Angeles has filed a cert. petition asking the Court determine whether it is a violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments for police and city workers to seize or destroy property that homeless people leave unattended on sidewalks.
  • On Friday night, Justice Sonia Sotomayor continued her book tour with a speech at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center; the Center’s blog provides a summary of her remarks.
  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Len Boselovic covers Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., a recently granted case which asks what constitutes “changing clothes” within the meaning of Section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • In his column for Bloomberg View, Noah Feldman criticizes the Court’s recent opinion in Clapper v. Amnesty International, writing that “[i]t’s always sad when a court won’t allow citizens to assert their constitutional rights. When the Supreme Court says secret, nonadversarial proceedings are good enough, it’s even sadder.”
  • Rich Samp, at Forbes, defends Clapper from such criticisms, noting that “[t]he Court simply denied a right to sue by individuals who concede that they have no evidence that they have been subjected to surveillance.  The decision is consistent with a long line of cases that have insisted on evidence of injury before a suit can go forward, particularly when the suit implicates national security concerns.”
  • At the Conflict of Laws blog, Trey Childress examines what human rights litigation will look like after Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.


Recommended Citation: Marissa Miller, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 4, 2013, 8:57 AM),