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Thursday round-up

Yesterday retired Justice John Paul Stevens testified before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on campaign finance issues.  Among other things, Stevens advocated on behalf of the amendment to the Constitution that he proposes in his new book, Six Amendments:  How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, which would allow Congress and the states to “impose reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office or their supporters may spend on election campaigns.”  Coverage comes from Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire.  In a separate post, Bravin also covers the kind words that Texas Senator Ted Cruz had for Stevens at the hearing.

Over at the Court itself yesterday, the Justices heard oral argument in the final case scheduled for this Term, the patent case Limelight Networks v. Akamai Technologies.  At the IIT Chicago-Kent Faculty Blog, Christi Guerrini and Edward Lee analyze the oral argument, with other coverage coming from Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST.  Noah Feldman discusses the case in his column for Bloomberg View, explaining why the Court’s decision “won’t resolve the tension between law and equity.”  And in a video for ISCOTUSnow, David Schwartz discusses Limelight and Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments, another patent case that was argued on Monday at the Court.

Additional coverage of Tuesday’s decision in Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, in which the Court upheld – by a vote of six to two – an EPA rule designed to reduce cross-state air pollution, comes from Michael Bobelian of Forbes; commentary on the decision comes from the editorial boards of the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New York Times.  Other coverage of the decision focused on Justice Scalia’s error in his dissenting opinion, in which he incorrectly described the EPA’s position in a 2001 case.  NPR’s Nina Totenberg reports on “Nino’s No-No,” while Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo has two posts on the mistake – one describing it and one discussing the extent to which similar errors had occurred (or not) before.

The arguments earlier this week in Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, both of which involve challenges to the warrantless searches of an arrestee’s cellphone, continue to generate commentary.  At Bloomberg View, Noah Feldman discusses the arguments – noting that “[t]here may not be a more important privacy question in our lifetimes” – and concludes that “the true privacy answer may lie in technology rather than constitutional law.”  Other commentary comes from Alex Kreit at ACSblog, who asserts that the Court’s emphasis on “the importance of workable rules in its Fourth Amendment jurisprudence . . . may provide some reason to hold out hope that five justices could come together behind what would be the clearest rule (apart from holding for the government, which seemed to find little support): require the government to get a warrant to search an arrestee’s phone unless there are exigent circumstances.”  And writing for The Economist’s Democracy in America blog, Steven Mazie observes that, “[i]f the justices entered the courtroom on April 28th sure of their votes in this year’s biggest and trickiest fourth-amendment cases, they hid their certainty brilliantly.”


  • In another post for Bloomberg View, Noah Feldman weighs in on Monday’s argument in in Lane v. Franks, involving the First Amendment protections available to a public employee who testifies in court. Feldman argues that, “[r]egardless of who you work for, you should be free [to] tell the truth in court without fear of repercussions.”
  • In her column for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse examines last week’s decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the decision upholding Michigan’s ban on the use of affirmative action by its public universities.
  • In The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen discusses the recent botched execution in Oklahoma and argues (among other things) that the execution “now is a symbol of feckless judicial review by the federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court,” which has “had countless opportunities in the past year to stop the madness caused by the current generation of lethal-injection secrecy.”
  • In an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter, Neal Katyal weighs in on American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, the Internet television case in which the Court heard oral arguments last week.  Katyal contends that, although “[m]uch is at stake in the Supreme Court’s decision in this case,” because the broadcasters “invest billions of dollars to create, acquire, and distribute the most-watched video programming in the country, and perhaps even the world,” “what is not at stake is cloud computing” – a frequent topic of discussion during the arguments last week.

[Disclosures:  Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in Lane and was among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the respondents in Schuette.  The firm’s Kevin Russell was also among the counsel to the petitioner in Riley at the certiorari stage, but did not participate in the case at the merits stage.  In any event, I am not affiliated with the firm.]

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (May. 1, 2014, 11:31 AM),