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Tuesday round-up

The Court issued orders from its April 4 Conference yesterday, granting cert. in one new case and denying review in Elane Photography v. Willock, in which the owners of a photography business had refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony on First Amendment grounds.  Lyle Denniston covered the orders for this blog, while Jeri Clausing covers the denial in Elane Photography for the Associated Press.

But most news coverage and commentary continue to focus on last week’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Court struck down the aggregate limits that federal law imposed on contributions to candidates for federal office, political parties, and political action committees.  Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Brody Mullins, Jess Bravin, and Patrick O’Connor report on the possibility that Republican officials and lawyers will file new challenges to campaign finance restrictions.  At Reuters’s The Great Debate blog, Richard L. Hasen argues that the Court’s decision in McCutcheon “is itself significant,” because it “will channel a great deal of money into the hands of party leaders,” but he adds that “just as significant is the court’s reasoning — which could well lead to courts striking down what remain of campaign finance limits, including limits on contributions to individual members of Congress.”  At Yahoo! News, Brianne Gorod contends that in McCutcheon the Court “acted on the basis of its own beliefs about the consequences of striking down the limits, rather than empirical evidence in the record of the case. And Michael Dorf has two posts on the decision:  at Verdict, he compares the Roberts Court’s view of politics with that of the fictional Frank Underwood in the TV series House of Cards, while at Dorf on Law, he disputes the argument that members of Congress “should be the last people to help decide who should govern.”


  • At’s Hit and Run Blog, Damon Root remembers Otis McDonald, the Chicago grandfather who was the lead plaintiff in McDonald v. City of Chicago, in which the Court held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in self-defense applies against state and local governments.  McDonald died last weekend at the age of eighty.
  • At The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen weighs in on comments made by Justice John Paul Stevens in his new book, in which the retired Justice indicates that he now believes the death penalty to be unconstitutional.
  • At, Michael Risch discusses last week’s arguments in Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank International, in which the Court is considering whether the Patent Act authorizes patents on computer software.  Risch urges the Court to “use th[e] case to set the lowest bar for non-abstractness – it is the only way left to get some clarity.”

Remember, we rely on our readers to send us links for the round-up.  If you see a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, op-ed, or commentary on the Court that you’d like us to consider including in the round-up, please send it to  Thank you!

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 8, 2014, 7:16 AM),