As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to vote on Elena Kagan's nomination tomorrow, Nina Totenberg reports for NPR on Republican efforts to maximize the number of votes against the nominee. Meanwhile, the editorial board of the Milwaukee Jounal Sentinel urges the Senate to confirm Kagan, arguing that at her confirmation hearing she demonstrated a respect for precedent, "something glaringly absent from the high court of late." In USA Today, Kathy Kiely reports that former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has written a letter to Senators urging them to vote against Kagan's nomination; in the letter, he decries Kagan's role in the policy statement on partial-birth abortion issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1997. At the Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan Adler discusses a recent Gallup poll indicating that a plurality of respondents supported Kagan's confirmation, while at the Huffington Post Simon Lazarus takes an early look back at the latest round of the ongoing political battle over the courts.
As Adam Chandler noted for this blog last week, with the Court in recess much of the news this summer has focused on cases that have not yet made it to the Court. At the Volokh Conspiracy, Randy Barnett (one of the first to question the constitutionality of the health care law) discusses the Obama Administration's efforts to defend the individual insurance mandate as an exercise of Congress's taxing power; he concludes that the implications of upholding the insurance mandate under that power "are so sweeping and dangerous that I doubt a majority of the Court would adopt" it.
Late Friday night, as Lyle Denniston reports for this blog, the Supreme Court refused to delay the transfer of two Algerians held at Guantanamo Bay. Josh Gerstein reports on the decision for Politico, as does the Associated Press (via the New York Times). The first order was handed down over a 5-3 dissent, with Justice John Paul Stevens' seat vacant. In the California Daily Journal (via"”and thanks to"”How Appealing), Lawrence Hurley argues that with Justice Stevens gone, Justice Stephen Breyer may now be the most frequent dissenter in polarizing cases.
On Saturday, Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the keynote address at the summer conference of the Utah State Bar. Justice Thomas praised the Court's collegiality and seriousness of purpose; he also told a story about Chief Justice William Rehnquist's enjoyment of betting pools and jokingly compared himself to an Eddie Murphy character in an old Saturday Night Live sketch. Brooke Adams reports on the speech for the Salt Lake Tribune, while Jamshid Ghazi Askar of the Deseret News does the same. Askar also blogged about the event.
- In the Washington Post, Spencer Hsu reports that the Supreme Court's recent decisions in the honest services cases are "jeopardizing high-profile investigations into politicians and business executives, including several related to convicted ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff."
- Commenting on last week's Second Circuit decision striking down the FCC indencency policy for vagueness, the editorial board of the New York Times argues that "[t]he Supreme Court, if it takes up the case, should end all government regulations on the content of broadcasts.”
- In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bruce Vielmetti reports on a recent en banc decision of the Seventh Circuit upholding (by a vote of 10 to 1) the Lautenberg Amendment, which prohibits anyone convicted of domestic violence from possessing guns for any reason. The opinion in this significant post-Heller case is here.