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Round-up of news on today’s opinions

Today the Supreme Court issued decisions in the three final cases of this Term, including the long-anticipated rulings in the same-sex marriage cases. A full menu of the blog’s own coverage is here.

In United States v. Windsor, the Court held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional; in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Court ruled that the supporters of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, lacked standing to appeal the district court’s order declaring the law unconstitutional and enjoining California officials from enforcing it. Greg Stohr of Bloomberg covers the two cases, which he describes as “sustain[ing] the momentum that has grown behind same-sex marriage over the past decade.” Stohr also provided early coverage of Windsor.

Further coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, Pete Williams and Erin McClam of NBC News, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal, Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Richard Wolf and Brad Heath of USA Today, Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Josh Gerstein of Politico, Ryan J. Reilly and Sabrina Siddiqui of the Huffington Post (with Mike Sacks joining them for coverage of Perry), and Josh Voorhees of Slate. Bill Mears of CNN and David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times both cover the cases in two separate stories.

Jessica Gresko and Connie Cass of the Associated Press cover the crowd’s reactions to the decision; other coverage of the atmosphere at the Court comes from Elizabeth Weise and Gary Strauss. The Associated Press covers reactions in San Francisco (via Politico), while Politico’s David Nather reports on the legal and political future of same-sex marriage.

In a third case, Sekhar v. United States, the Court issued a ruling that limited the scope of the Hobbs Act. The Associated Press (via The Washington Post) and Barbara Leonard of Courthouse News Service provide early coverage.

Other coverage that preceded this morning’s rulings focused on other recent decisions (via Conor McEvily).

Garnering the lion’s share of yesterday’s Court coverage was Shelby County v. Holder, this Term’s challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The Court held that Section 4 of the law, which identifies the state and local governments that are subject to the Act’s “preclearance” requirement, is unconstitutional based on “current conditions” in the United States.  Coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, Lana Harfoush at the Pacific Legal Foundation, Aaron Kase at, and Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo.  At Prawfs Blawg, Will Baude excerpts the key passages of the Chief Justice’s majority opinion.

Among those providing commentary on the case were Josh Douglas at PrawfsBlawg, who argues that “killing Section 4 has the effect of killing Section 5 as well.”  At The New York Times, Rick Hasen describes the Court’s opinion as “brimming with a self-confidence” hidden “behind a cloak of judicial minimalism” that effectively “crippl[ing] Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.”  And at Excess of Democracy, Derek T. Muller provides additional commentary.

The Court also issued its decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl yesterday, holding that the Indian Child Welfare Act does not prevent termination of the biological father’s paternal rights.  Ruthann Robson has coverage at Constitutional Law Prof Blog while at PrawfsBlawg Cynthia Godsoe argues that “the majority opinion . . . does an injustice to the[] weighty issues” presented by the case.

And in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, the Court ruled that withholding development permits may mean that governments owe compensation to land owners.  Coverage of the decision comes from Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Curtis Morgan of the Miami Herald, Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers (via the Kansas City Star), Jonathan Stempel and Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, Jeremy P. Jacobs of Greenwire, Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST, Damon W. Root of, Paul Beard and Brian T. Hodges of the Pacific Legal Foundation, and Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal.  Commentary on Koontz comes from Rick Hills at Prawfs Blawg, who suggests that the Court’s decision “carefully preserves a convenient albeit disingenuous ‘remedial’ exit strategy that should insure that the decision is a dead letter.”

Monday’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, in which the Court sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit for that court to determine whether the university’s use of race in its undergraduate admissions process was narrowly tailored, continues to spark commentary.  At Pro Publica, Nikole Hannah-Jones concludes that “[a]ffirmative action, in its threadbare form lives for now,” but she warns that there is enough in the opinion “to suspect it will be diminished further in time.”  At The Economist, Steven Mazie interprets the decision as requiring “public colleges and universities . . . to craft admissions policies that use race minimally for maximal gains” – which he characterizes as “[a] tough nut to crack.”  At the California Lawyer, Margaret M. Russell notes that the opinion “can correctly be described as a narrow ruling and a partial victory for both opponents and proponents of affirmative action,” while Bo Links concludes that “a school that wishes for its ‘diversity’ program to pass constitutional muster must veer away from race and instead utilize factors such a socio-economic status.”  At, Damon W. Root discusses Justice Thomas’s views on affirmative action.  Other coverage of the decision comes from David H. Gans at Constitution Daily and Michael Bobelian of Forbes.

Finally, anticipation continued to build for the same-sex marriage cases.  At the California Lawyer, Douglas Kmiec predicted that “both DOMA and Prop. 8 will be no more after the opinions are announced [this] morning.”


  • Ruthann Robson of Constitutional Law Prof Blog and Garrett Epps of the Atlantic both discuss Justice Alito’s demeanor on the bench on Monday as Justice Ginsburg read two dissents.

[Disclosures:  Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondent in Fisher and in support of the respondents in Shelby County.  Tejinder Singh of this blog was among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondents in Perry, while Kevin Russell of the firm played the same role on an amicus brief in support of Edith Windsor in Windsor.]

Recommended Citation: Dan Stein, Round-up of news on today’s opinions, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 26, 2013, 8:14 PM),