Writer’s Picks


This was kind of a slow week for our Daily Summary writers, but we did have a blockbuster from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: Perry v. Brown.  This case involved Proposition 8, which amended the California state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. The 9th Cir. chose to address the constitutionality of Prop. 8 and declined to address the broader question of whether same-sex couples had the right to marry. As a preliminary matter, the 9th Cir. held that proponents of the ballot measure had standing.  The 9th Cir. held that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional because it violated the Equal Protection Clause by targeting a minority group and withdrawing a right that the group possessed without a legitimate reason for doing so. The court also affirmed the denial of a motion to vacate former Chief Judge Walker on the basis of his purported interest in being allowed to marry his same-sex partner.

The mainstream media extensively covered this case — for more information, check out the New York Times article.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on the First Amendment and its Free Exercise clause in Mitchell County v. Zimmerman. This case involved a Mennonite resident whose religion forbade the use of steel cleats on tires of his tractor wheels, which conflicted with a local county ordinance requiring them. The Iowa Supreme Court held that the ordinance as applied to church members violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment where the ordinance (1) was not of general applicability because it contained exemptions that were inconsistent with its stated purpose of protecting Mitchell County’s roads; and (2) did not survive strict scrutiny because it was not the least restrictive means of serving what was claimed to be a compelling governmental interest in road protection.

In Holt v. 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Comm’n, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered the issue of redistricting. A state official had sued the official commission charged with redistricting. The court issued, as our writer Leslie tells us, “an incredibly long opinion that points to the simplest answer: ‘this is a good start, but try again.’”

Finally, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an opinion on a patent matter for AstraZeneca, the makers of Crestor. In AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, L.P. v Apotex Corp., the Court held for defendant generic manufacturers on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to state a 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2) claim based on defendants’ existing ANDA filings, and claims premised on presumed future labeling amendments were not ripe for adjudication.