Yesterday the Court stayed the execution of a Texas death row inmate convicted of the murders of three teenagers in 1991.  As Lyle Denniston explains for this blog, the stay will allow the Court to consider how last Term’s decision in Martinez v. Ryan, in which it held that a federal court could hear an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim that was otherwise procedurally defaulted when state law only permits ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claims on collateral rather than direct review, and counsel was absent or ineffective for that state collateral review, applies to capital cases in Texas.  The Associated Press (via the Houston Chronicle) and Reuters also have coverage of the stay.

The most recent petition for certiorari in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) continues to draw coverage.  Justin Snow of Metro Weekly and the Associated Press (via the Boston Globe) report on the cert. petition (which Conor also covered in yesterday’s round-up ) in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management.  For this blog, Lyle has a summary of the seven cert. petitions now pending before the Court in cases involving same-sex marriage. 

Other coverage focuses on Fisher v. University of Texas, in which the Justices will consider the constitutionality of the university’s undergraduate admissions policy.   The editorial board of Bloomberg View weighs in on the case with an editorial in which they argue that affirmative action is still necessary.   At the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein discusses a recent amicus brief by the Constitutional Accountability Center and six law professors which argues that affirmative action is constitutional under the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. At Dorf on Law, Michael Dorf discusses an amicus brief that he helped to write on behalf of the Association of American Law Schools in support of the respondents.  [Disclosure:  Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, also represented the AALS in this case.]

Eugene Fidell and a group of Yale students have produced a pronunciation guide for Supreme Court cases.  Amy Howe has coverage for this blog, and Nina Totenberg has a story on the guide for NPR.


  • At the Opinionator blog of The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse discusses the constitutionality of graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging in light of the Court’s recent First Amendment cases.
  • The governor of Rhode Island has asked the Court to review the First Circuit’s ruling that the federal government could take custody of a prisoner so that it can prosecute him in federal court, where the death penalty will be available.  The Associated Press has coverage (via the Boston Globe).
  • Over at the Crime and Consequences blog, Kent Scheidegger reports that California is seeking a modification of the prisoner release order upheld in Brown v. Plata, which ordered the state to release prisoners to reduce overcrowding in its prisons.  Bob Egelko has further coverage for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Cormac Early, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Aug. 23, 2012, 9:24 AM),