Monday, January 20, 2014

SCOTUSblog's Round-Up on Massachusetts Buffer Zone Case

SCOTUSblog: Thursday Round-Up, by Amy Howe:

[Wednesday] the Court heard oral arguments first in McCullen v. Coakley, the challenge to a Massachusetts law that creates a thirty-five-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics in that state.  Lyle covered the argument for this blog; I covered it in Plain English.  Other coverage comes from NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal, and Richard Wolf of USA Today.  In commentary on the case at Dorf on Law, Mike Dorf discusses the oral argument and, in particular, the challengers’ focus on the “fact that the Massachusetts law limits speech on public sidewalks”; at Slate, Emily Bazelon describes the odds as “more than good that the buffer zone in Massachusetts is on its way out.”  And also at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick cites the case, along with Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus (granted last week) and the Little Sisters of the Poor case, as examples of “all the fascinating new ways that as a nation, we may be as divided about how we talk about abortion and contraception, as we are about abortion and contraception themselves.”  At The Atlantic, Garrett Epps interprets the lack of questions from Chief Justice John Roberts as a sign that “his mind is made up and nothing either lawyer could say Wednesday was going to change it. If that’s the case, then the Massachusetts law is doomed.”  Writing at Education Week’s School Law blog, Mark Walsh looks at the role that school protest cases could play in McCullen.  Other commentary comes from Ruthann Robson at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, who discusses the “definitional disagreements” at the argument yesterday, and from Ed Mannino at his eponymous blog.

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