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Tuesday round-up

Yesterday’s coverage continued to focus predominantly on the same-sex marriage cases argued last month: Hollingsworth v. Perry (the challenge to California’s Proposition 8) and United States v. Windsor (the challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act). At Balkinization, Mark Tushnet notes that although a majority of the U.S. Senate has endorsed same-sex marriage, the Senate has taken no action to repeal DOMA, and he queries “what that fact tells us about contemporary politics in the United States and about the role of judicial review in our politics.” Michelle Andrews of The Washington Post reports on the effect that a decision striking down DOMA might have on “significant barriers that same-sex married couples face related to health care and health insurance.” At the UK Supreme Court Blog, Dan Tench and Hugh Tomlinson compare the high-profile nature of the same-sex marriage cases in the United States to legal arguments in the UK and suggest that the increased level of attention in the U.S. “highlights an important difference between the role that law plays within the two countries in framing the debate in important matters of public policy.” In an op-ed for the Columbus Dispatch, Maureen O’Connor, chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, argues that the long lines for seats in the same-sex marriage oral arguments last month illustrates that it is time for the Court to allow cameras in the courtroom, and that “[t]he tired old arguments against allowing cameras in the courtroom are approaching flat-Earth status.”  [Disclosures: 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 Windsor. Tejinder Singh, also of Goldstein & Russell, was among the counsel on an amicus brief filed by international human rights advocates in support of the respondents in Hollingsworth.]

Other coverage focused on cases argued earlier this Term. Writing for Foreign Affairs, Judge Pierre N. Leval discusses Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, in which the Court is considering whether the Alien Tort Statute applies to conduct that occurs overseas, and he urges the Court to “continue to interpret the [statute] as opening the doors of U.S. federal courts to victims of foreign atrocities who cannot get justice elsewhere.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C. represented Achmed et al. and the Center for Justice and Accountability as amici curiae in support of the petitioners.] At the American Spectator, Jack Park discusses Maryland v. King, which was argued on February 26 and in which the Court is considering whether the Fourth Amendment allows states to collect and analyze DNA from persons arrested and charged with certain crimes. Park notes that the Court’s holding may have implications for the constitutionality of the Katie Sepich DNA Collection Act, which went into effect on January 10, 2013 and provides federal grant funding to states that enact laws providing for DNA collection from persons arrested for certain felony offenses.


  • At this blog, Kali Borkoski interviews Ronald Collins about his new book, Nuanced Absolutism: Floyd Abrams and the First Amendment, which explores the life’s work of an influential First Amendment lawyer and introduces “nuanced absolutism” as a way of approaching First Amendment law.
  • Andrew Cohen of The Atlantic reviews the book In Chambers: Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and Their Justices, which offers first-hand accounts and anecdotes from numerous former clerks about their experiences with the Justices.
  • Steven Erlanger of The New York Times reports that Justice Breyer was inducted into the French Academy, thereby joining a “very small line of American members dating back to Thomas Jefferson” to have achieved such status.

Recommended Citation: Sarah Erickson-Muschko, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 9, 2013, 10:50 AM),