Breaking News

Friday round-up

Thursday’s coverage of the Court focused on some of the high-profile cases argued recently at the Court, as well as some of the cases that will be argued later this Term.

Last week’s arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, the challenges to California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (respectively), continued to garner coverage.  At Bloomberg Businessweek, Charlie Rose speaks with David Boies, who with Ted Olson serves as counsel for the respondents in Perry, about the case.  Boies describes his involvement in the case as well as his perspective on the case’s importance for civil rights more broadly, noting that “[i]n many ways, [Perry] is the most important case I’ve ever been involved in.”  At ACSblog, Holning Lau considers the potential effect of Perry and Windsor in states, like North Carolina, that have amended their constitutions to prohibit same-sex marriage.  Lau contends that, although “a victory in California will eventually have spillover effects that reach North Carolina,” the cases “are unlikely to have any immediate legal impact on same-sex couples” in the state or other similarly situated states.  And Ilya Somin, writing at the Volokh Conspiracy, responds to Linda Greenhouse’s Opinionator column in yesterday’s issue of The New York Times, which Cormac covered in yesterday’s round-up.  Somin criticizes Greenhouse’s characterization of the federalism argument against DOMA, asserting that “it is perfectly possible for a particular law to be both beyond the scope of Congress’ authority if enacted by the federal government and a violation of constitutional individual rights if adopted by a state.” [Disclosures: Tejinder Singh of the law firm Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, was among the counsel on an amicus brief filed by international human rights advocates in support of the respondents in Perry.  And Kevin Russell of the law firm Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, was among the counsel on an amicus brief filed by former senators in support of Edith Windsor.]

In other news about currently pending cases, Terry Frieden of CNN and Pete Yost of the Associated Press both cover remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday regarding the Voting Rights Act and Shelby County v. Holder, the pending challenge to Section 5 of the Act.  In his remarks before the National Action Network, Holder noted that the Department of Justice would “remain committed to the aggressive and appropriate enforcement of all voting and civil rights protections, including every part of the Voting Rights Act,” while it awaited the Court’s ruling in Shelby County. [Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to Representative F. James Sensenbrenner et al., who filed an amicus brief in support of the respondent in this case.]

Other coverage of the Court looked ahead to amicus briefs recently filed at the Court.  At Cato@Liberty, Trevor Burrus discusses the brief filed by the Cato Institute in United States v. Kebodeaux, in which the Court will consider whether Congress possesses the Article I authority to provide for criminal penalties for the failure to register as a sex offender under the relevant provision of federal law, as applied to a person who was convicted of a sex offense under federal law but completed his criminal sentence before the enactment of the registration provision.  At the Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh highlights the amicus brief that he filed on behalf of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Christian Legal Society in Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, in which the Court will consider whether a law requiring an organization to maintain a policy explicitly opposing prostitution in order to receive federal funding to provide HIV and AIDS programs overseas is a violation of the First Amendment.   Volokh also discusses amicus briefs recently filed in support of certiorari in Scott v. Saint John’s Church in the Wilderness, in which the parties urge the Court to consider the constitutionality of an injunction prohibiting the display of “gruesome images” of aborted fetuses outside a church.  Volokh separately highlights the briefs filed by the Center for Bio-Ethical Research, Historians of Art and Photography, Scholars of the Religion Clauses, and Constitutional Law Professors.


  • In an academic highlight for this blog, Ronald Collins discusses a forthcoming article by Lee Levine and Stephen Wermiel about First Amendment law, The Landmark that Wasn’t: A First Amendment Play in Five Acts.
  • Also at this blog, Adam Chandler repeats his previous study of certiorari-stage amicus activity, culling a number of interesting findings from the data and reports (among other things) that such activity has “heated up substantially” over the past five years.
  • In a letter to the editor of The Washington Post, Tony Mauro argues that the Court’s “resistance to camera access disserves the public and the court itself.”
  • Writing at ThinkProgress, Nicole Flatow reports that last week’s decision in Comcast v. Behrend, in which the Court held that the plaintiff class of Comcast subscribers was improperly certified under Rule 23(b)(3), as the class’s proposed damages model could not show damages on a class-wide basis, is “already having major repercussions in several other cases alleging malfeasance by major corporations.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, was among the counsel to the respondents in this case.]
  • Daniel A. Himebaugh at Capital Press considers the Court’s recent opinion in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, in which it held that a permit under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System was not required for logging road runoff into two Oregon rivers.  Himebaugh praises the Court’s holding, noting that the “positive impact of the Decker decision is widespread.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, serves as counsel to the respondent in this case.]
  • At the Blog of Legal Times, Tony Mauro reports on Justice O’Connor’s visit on Wednesday to the law firm Wiley Rein, at which she discussed her most recent book, Out of Order.
  • The Harvard Gazette reports on a conference held at Harvard Law School on Monday, in which Justices O’Connor and Souter joined others in discussing the importance of civics education in the United States.

Recommended Citation: Rachel Sachs, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 5, 2013, 12:01 PM),