– Politico reports that President Obama is the first President to appoint a majority of judges who are members of racial minorities or women. We all know that the President has appointed two women to the Supreme Court, increasing the Court’s female representation to three for the first time in its history. What you may not know is that in addition to already appointing the first openly gay federal judge, President Obama has three more openly gay nominees, as well as the first Native American nominee, who are still awaiting appointment.
– On the New York Times Op-Ed page, Jeffrey Rosen of George Washington University law school previews the upcoming Supreme Court case of United States v. Jones, involving the use of a GPS tracking unit on a suspect’s car without first obtaining a warrant. Two federal appeals courts have already upheld the use of this type of surveillance, relying on the lack of an expectation of privacy for the movement’s of a car in public, but the DC Circuit has rejected that argument, separating GPS tracking from standard police surveillance.
– A new AP poll of 1,000 found that 53% of respondents believed that the government should give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex — approximately the same amount as a similar poll last year.
“Support for legal recognition of same-sex marriage has shifted in recent years, from a narrow majority opposed in 2009 to narrow majority support now. Some of the shift stems from a generational divide, with the new poll showing a majority of Americans under age 65 in favor of legal recognition for same-sex marriages, and a majority of seniors opposed.”
– As part of the SCOTUSblog symposium on arbitration, Christopher Drahozal of the University of Kansas Law School warns that the Arbitration Fairness Act would be an overreaction to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Concepcion. Drahozal notes that many arbitration agreements do not bar class arbitration, and he believes the newly formed CFPB and individual states are perfectly situated to protect consumers in the post-Concepcion landscape.
– The Oregonian reports that the Oregon GOP has stripped anti-language from their 2012 party platform. The wording, which had essentially condemned same-sex marriage and civil unions, was removed following a weekend convention in Bend.
– In international civil liberties news, a South African judge has banned the singing of “Shoot the Boer,” an anti-apartheid struggle song. The song is frequently sung by the leader of the ruling African National Congress’s Youth League, but was challenged on the ground that it may incite violence against white farmers. The ANC views the decision as an attempt to rewrite South African history, and is expected to continue to sing the song.