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Wednesday round-up

Coverage of last week’s arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry (challenging California’s Proposition 8) and United States v. Windsor (challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act) continues to preoccupy Court watchers.   At Talking Points Memo, Sahil Kapur discusses the prospect that Justice Thomas could vote to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), suggesting that, “[i]n this case, [Justice Thomas’s] storied record against federal power appears to line up neatly with an argument, backed by some conservative and libertarian scholars, for overturning [DOMA].”   Elsewhere at Talking Points Memo, Kapur speculates that the Chief Justice “may have revealed his antipathy to federal marriage equality by attempting to discredit an argument by Justice Anthony Kennedy that [DOMA] violates states rights.”  And in a podcast for the N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change, Jennifer C. Pizer and Dean Spade discuss the same-sex marriage cases. 

Court watchers also continued to cover orders issued on Monday from the Court’s March 29 Conference.  At her “On the Case” blog for Thomson Reuters, Alison Frankel discusses two of Monday’s cases in which the Court granted certiorari, vacated class action rulings by the lower courts, and remanded the cases for further reconsideration in light of its recent opinion in Comcast v. Behrend.  Frankel notes that the move “signal[s] that, at the very least, class action lawyers – and not just those in the antitrust bar – will have to address the Comcast opinion if they’re going to win certification rulings.”  And at Education Week, Mark Walsh discusses two cases in which the Court denied cert. on Monday, involving the termination of a teacher and the transfer of a high school custodian.

Additional coverage of the Court focused on upcoming cases.  At this blog’s “SCOTUS for law students” feature, Stephen Wermiel discusses the issues in Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., scheduled for argument later this month.  The case stems from a challenge by nongovernmental organizations to regulations implementing a federal law that provides funds to help combat the spread of HIV and AIDS throughout the world.  “The case is important to law students studying constitutional law generally and First Amendment more specifically,” Wermiel writes, “because it raises significant questions about both the spending power of Congress and the free speech limitations on federal regulations.”

Finally, the debate over whether oral arguments should be televised resurfaced again yesterday.  At The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Robert Green and Adam Rosenblatt argue that allowing the Court’s hearings to be televised would be in the public and the Court’s best interest: “[t]he [J]ustices need to realize that their role in our democracy and the legitimacy of their institution and rulings are threatened by their lack of transparency through the shunning of cameras.”  The La Crosse (Wisc.) Tribune editorial board makes a similar argument: “[w]hy are cameras important?  Because they help us demystify the process – just as C-SPAN cameras have taken us inside Congress for decades.”


  • At the Washington Post’s “Post Partisan” blog, Jonathan Bernstein looks ahead to what the next Supreme Court nomination might look like in the Senate.
  • At this blog’s “Relist watch” feature, John Elwood reviews Monday’s relisted cases.
  • At Cato@Liberty, Roger Pilon responds to a recent Bloomberg View column by Ramesh Ponnuru (which Sarah covered in yesterday’s round-up) in which Ponnuru challenges the view that the Court has played a crucial role in advancing “greater freedom and justice.”  “The history Ponnuru . . . recounts,” Pilon writes, “is, not surprisingly, selective.”

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 3, 2013, 2:45 PM),