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Wednesday round-up

Coverage of and commentary on Monday’s opinions continues apace.

The Court’s seven-to-two decision in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., in which the Court held that an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship for would-be voters is preempted by federal law, continues to provoke interest.  At his Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen discusses the possible reasons why Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan signed on to Justice Scalia’s majority opinion, even though the decision seems to “provide a roadmap for states to implement voter [ID] laws over federal objection.”  Also at the Election Law Blog, Josh Douglas focuses on a passage in which the Court concludes that “Arizona is correct that the Elections Clause empowers Congress to regulate how federal elections are held, but not who may vote in them”; Douglas contends that “Scalia’s push for a renewed focus on state qualification rules might actually be a move in the right direction for voters, at least where it comes to the constitutional right to vote.”  At More Soft Money Hard Law, Bob Bauer notes that “[o]verall, the Court [in Arizona] seems to have shown scant interest in motives and effects [behind state voting laws] and have given the states leeway . . . to stay on their current course.”  Other coverage comes from Chantal Valery of Agence France-Presse (via Global Post); commentary comes from David H. Gans of the Constitutional Accountability Center, who argues that the decision is not a “Pyyrhic victory” but instead a “sweeping reaffirmation that the Constitution gives Congress very broad powers to protect the right to vote in federal elections.”

Monday’s other opinions also continued to draw attention yesterday.  At IP Watchdog, Michael Carrier argues that Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, in which the Court held that the government and private parties can bring lawsuits to challenge payments made by brand-name drug makers to keep would-be competitors who make generic substitutes temporarily out of their markets, is crucial for two related reasons: “First, in one fell swoop, the Supreme Court has dispelled any doubt that pay-for-delay settlements present anticompetitive concern”; and second, “the Court highlighted significant concerns with these agreements pointing to ‘genuine adverse effects on competition.’” Michael Bobelian of Forbes also has coverage.  And at the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, Rory Little covers Alleyne v. United States, in which the Court held that any fact which increases a mandatory minimum sentence is an “element” of the crime that must be submitted to the jury, and Salinas v. Texas, in which the Court held that prosecutors did not violate a suspect’s constitutional rights by using his pre-arrest silence as evidence against him at trial because he had never expressly invoked his privilege against self-incrimination.


  • Nina Totenberg of NPR examines the evolving role of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in the wake of a 1978 Supreme Court decision ruling that warrantless wiretaps of people in the United States were unconstitutional.
  • At Campaigns and Elections Jeremy P. Jacobs previews McCutcheon v. FEC, in which the Court will consider the constitutionality of federal limits on the total amount that a donor can give to all political recipients during a two-year election cycle.
  • Jeremy Leaming of ACSblog interviews San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera about his office’s role in challenging Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
  • In the wake of the Court’s dismissal of Boyer v. Louisiana – in which the Court granted review to decide whether the state’s failure to fund indigent counsel in a capital case for five years should count against it for speedy trial purposes – G. Ben Cohen previews another capital case out of Louisiana – Garcia v. Louisiana, which the Justices will consider at their Conference tomorrow – at ACSblog,
  • At idibon, Tyler Schnoebelen examines Justice Kennedy’s “favorite phrases” and how the Justice uses them relative to his voting patterns.
  • And finally, at this blog’s “Relist Watch” feature, John Elwood reviews the cases that the Court relisted on Monday.

Recommended Citation: Conor McEvily, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 19, 2013, 2:18 PM),