Capture

Choosing cases and the strategies, tactics, and teams behind cases aimed at the Court; the “luxury” of building cases by thinking backwards – from the Supreme Court to a trial court; the importance of taking intermediate steps, listening to counsel, and having a Supreme Court lawyer at trial; what Heman Sweatt and Abigail Fisher have in common; and what to do now.

In this five-part interview, Edward Blum – Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Founder and President of the Project on Fair Representation – discusses his background, running for Congress, and moving from public finance to political advocacy to Supreme Court litigation; the meeting of race, ethnicity and religion; the desire to “make big law” and how to read Supreme Court signals; and success building cases from the ground up – from Bush v. VeraNAMUDNO v. Holder, and Shelby County v. Holder to Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and beyond – with “people of good will.”

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Petition of the day

By on Aug 14, 2014 at 10:10 pm

The petition of the day is:

City of Indianapolis, Indiana v. Annex Books, Inc.
13-1441

Issue: Whether, to satisfy the First Amendment as applied in Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc. and its progeny, an hours-of-operation regulation targeting negative secondary effects must be supported by highly specific, statistically-significant empirical evidence.

In the broadest challenge so far to the system of war crimes courts set up at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, lawyers for a Yemeni national fighting his conviction on a terrorism conspiracy charge argued on Wednesday that those tribunals are an unconstitutional attempt to diminish the power of civilian courts.  In fact, the new brief argued, the civilian courts now are being forced to compete for the authority to try such crimes.

The case of Ali Hamza Suliman Ahmad Al Bahlul is now entering its seventh phase in a complex history stretching over the past decade.  After a major ruling, partly in his favor, last month by the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the case is now back before a three-judge panel of that Court.

This time, perhaps more than in any of its earlier phases, it looms as a potentially profound threat to the very existence of the Guantanamo tribunals.

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Analysis

The Supreme Court’s recent forays into the Constitution as it applies to expression in the digital age have given the Justices a real-world awareness that, in addition to producing cultural and social gains, electronic devices can sometimes enable crime.  Proceeding with some caution, the Court has given prosecutors some constitutional guidance, but it also has stirred up some new questions.

At its September 29 Conference, the Court will have an opportunity to take up one of those new questions:  when does using the Internet to write about religious “holy war” amount to a crime of promoting terrorism?  Adding to the difficulty of resolving that issue is that the case involves a U.S. citizen — a Massachusetts man who dropped out of college to pursue his sympathy for Islamic doctrine.

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Rearranging the Clerk’s office

By on Aug 14, 2014 at 11:22 am

On September 1, the Court will put into place a new staffing structure for the Clerk’s office.  With the retirement of Chris Vasil as chief deputy clerk, that position will be abolished.  Instead, the Court will have four deputy clerks — one for case management, one for practice and procedure, one for administration, and one for case initiation.

The details are spelled out in this statement on the Court’s website.

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Thursday round-up

By on Aug 14, 2014 at 7:52 am

Briefly:

  • In the wake of recent comments by President Obama to Democratic donors about the possibility of additional appointments to the Supreme Court, Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo discusses the prospect that, if all of the Justices remain on the Court through the end of the president’s second term, “the 2016 presidential election could lead to a cataclysmic reshaping of the Supreme Court, and with it the country.” Continue reading »
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Petition of the day

By on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:21 pm

The petition of the day is:

Ohio v. Clark
13-1352

Issue: (1) Whether an individual’s obligation to report suspected child abuse makes that individual an agent of law enforcement for purposes of the Confrontation Clause; and (2) whether a child’s out-of-court statements to a teacher in response to the teacher’s concerns about potential child abuse qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Confrontation Clause.

 
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Capture

The role of politics on the bench; focusing on education; the Roberts Court, the Supreme Court, and the historical arc of race and ethnicity; and a timeline for getting out of the classification business.

In this five-part interview, Edward Blum – Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Founder and President of the Project on Fair Representation – discusses his background, running for Congress, and moving from public finance to political advocacy to Supreme Court litigation; the meeting of race, ethnicity and religion; the desire to “make big law” and how to read Supreme Court signals; and success building cases from the ground up – from Bush v. VeraNAMUDNO v. Holder, and Shelby County v. Holder to Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and beyond – with “people of good will.”

Posted in Everything Else
 
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Petition of the day

By on Aug 12, 2014 at 10:13 pm

The petition of the day is:

Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins
13-1339

Issue: Whether Congress may confer Article III standing upon a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, and who therefore could not otherwise invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court, by authorizing a private right of action based on a bare violation of a federal statute.

Commentary

In sports, a “streak” can say a lot about talent, endurance — and plain luck.  Cal Ripken, Jr., of the Baltimore Orioles set a major league baseball record by playing in 2,632 consecutive games.  The University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team owns the longest string of victories in the college basketball ranks — ninety games in a row.

In law, attorney Thurgood Marshall had a string of victories (sometimes interrupted by defeats) in his campaign to achieve racial desegregation in public education, and attorney Ruth Bader Ginsburg did much the same in advancing the women’s rights revolution.  But perhaps nothing in constitutional history matches the swiftly developing “streak” of court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage.  Still, the actual meaning of that “streak” is open to debate — even about whether it is a streak.  Let’s try to sort it out, simply.

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