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Tuesday round-up

Yesterday the Court issued two opinions in argued cases and granted cert. in two new cases. At this blog, Kali Borkoski has posted the details on the two opinions here and here, while Max Mallory provided a round-up of yesterday’s early news coverage of the Court’s orders.

In Maryland v. King, a closely divided Court upheld a Maryland law that authorizes the collection of DNA samples from individuals arrested for “serious” crimes.  Lyle Denniston reports on the opinion for this blog, observing that although it had been “quite commonly accepted that the Constitution does allow the police to take a DNA sample from everyone who has been actually convicted of a crime,” until yesterday the Court “had never extended that permission to a person taken into custody by police on suspicion of a new, unrelated crime.” Other coverage of the case comes from NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal (registration required), Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn of Politico, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Dominic Perella at MSNBC, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, and Robert Barnes of The Washington Post.   Commentary on the decision comes from the editorial board of The New York Times, which criticizes the Court’s opinion as “severely undermin[ing] fundamental Fourth Amendment principles that protect individuals against unjustified searches and incursions on privacy by law enforcement”; Nicole Flatow also weighs in on the decision at ThinkProgress.

In Hillman v. Maretta, the Court unanimously held that a federal law which establishes a life insurance program for federal employees and allows an employee to designate a beneficiary to receive the proceeds of the policy when the employee dies preempts a Virginia law that allows the family of a deceased employee to sue the designated beneficiary for the proceeds if the beneficiary happens to be the employee’s former spouse.  Tejinder Singh analyzes the Court’s opinion for this blog, explaining that “[t]he holding rests on the rationale . . . that [the federal law] seeks to honor the employee’s choice of beneficiary, and any state attempt to redirect the proceeds conflicts with that objective and is therefore preempted.”


  • Tal Kopan of Politico reports on the Court’s denial of review in PG Publishing Co. v. Aichele, a First Amendment challenge to a state law limiting the ability of the press to cover elections from polling places.
  • In anticipation of the Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, the Human Rights Campaign has published a map showing the possible effects of the Court’s decision.
  • In an op-ed for the Austin American Statesman, David Gans discusses Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the challenge to that university’s consideration of race in its undergraduate admissions, including what he describes as the tension between the colorblind theory espoused by the more conservative members of the Court and the text and history of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Disclosures: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, represented the American Association of Law Schools as an amicus in Fisher. Tejinder Singh, also of Goldstein & Russell, P.C., was among the counsel on an amicus brief filed by international human rights advocates in support of the respondents in Perry.

If you have (or know of) a recent article or post that you would like to have included in the round-up, please send a link to roundup [at] so that we can consider it.

Recommended Citation: Sarah Erickson-Muschko, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 4, 2013, 10:47 AM),