Tag Archives: Supreme Court of the United States

SCOTUS: That’s OK, North Carolina, you can keep your unconstitutional gerrymander districts for now

Source: US News & World Report

“The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a lower court’s order for North Carolina to rework its congressional map because Republicans violated the Constitution by drawing electoral districts intended to maximize their party’s chances of winning. The conservative-majority court granted a bid by Republican legislators in North Carolina to suspend the Jan. 9 order by a federal court panel in Greensboro that gave the Republican-controlled General Assembly until Jan. 24 to come up with a new map for U.S. House of Representatives districts. Two liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, objected to the high court’s action. The Supreme Court’s decision to stay the order reduces the chance that the current district lines will be altered ahead of the November mid-term congressional elections. The court offered no reason for its decision.” (01/18/18)


The demise of the jury trial

Source: Cato Institute
by Jay Schweikert

“Imagine you were on trial for your life, but your lawyer insisted on telling the jury you were guilty. That’s what happened to Robert McCoy after he was charged with a triple homicide in Bossier City, La. When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in McCoy v. Louisianaa on Wednesday, it will decide whether McCoy deserves a new trial. But it will also have a chance to vindicate the sanctity of the criminal jury trial itself. Criminal defense is deeply personal. The assistance of counsel is invaluable, but it is defendants, not their lawyers, who get to make fundamental decisions about their cases. … McCoy maintained innocence and demanded a jury trial, in which the state would have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But McCoy’s lawyer thought a better strategy would be to admit guilt to the jury and hope for leniency. McCoy adamantly opposed this idea, but his attorney pursued it anyway. The plan didn’t work, and McCoy was sentenced to death.” (01/16/18)


Trump regime to appeal court’s DACA ruling

Source: The Hill

“The Department of Justice is appealing a federal district court judge’s decision to block the Trump administration from ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The department said it filed a notice of its appeal to the 9th Circuit Court and intends later this week to ask the Supreme Court to rule on the merits of the case so the issue can be ‘resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved.’ The Trump administration filed its appeal a week after a federal district court judge in San Francisco said the Obama-era program must remain in place and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must continue to accept renewal applications from immigrants currently in the program.” (01/16/18)


Where are the Supreme Court’s opinions?

The Volokh Conspiracy

Source: The Volokh Conspiracy
by Jonathan H Adler

“Some Supreme Court watchers were hoping the justices might return from their winter break with a few opinions in decided cases. No such luck. This morning, when the Court convened for argument, it released orders from last week’s conference, but no new opinions. Thus far this term, the Supreme Court has issued only one opinion in an argued case, a brief unanimous opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago. While we don’t ususally see a ton of opinions in the first half of a term, this is the slowest rate in a long, long time. According to data compiled by Adam Feldman at Empirical SCOTUS, the last time the Supreme Court did not issue a second opinion in an argued case until January was 1869.” (01/16/18)


SCOTUS takes up Texas redistricting case

Source: CNN

“The Supreme Court announced Friday that it plans to hear a significant voting rights case, agreeing to review a lower court opinion that invalidated congressional and statehouse maps in Texas. The order adds another case touching on voting disputes to the court’s docket at a time when the justices are already considering cases concerning partisan gerrymandering and the purge of voter rolls in Ohio. … After the last census, voting rights groups such as the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund challenged maps drawn in 2011 by the Republican led legislature. A court struck down the maps finding that they were enacted with a discriminatory purpose and ordered new interim maps to be drawn.” (01/12/18)


Justice denied: Why the government is not going to save us

Source: CounterPunch
by John W Whitehead

“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled: it will not hear the case of Young v. Borders. Despite the fact that a 26-year-old man was gunned down by police who banged on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failed to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shot and killed the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense, the justices of the high court refused to intervene to address police misconduct. … The body count will continue to mount as long as the courts continue to march in lockstep with the police state, as long as police unions continue to strong-arm politicians into letting police agencies get away with murder, as long as legislators continue to care more about getting re-elected than about protecting the rights of the citizenry, as long as police continue to treat their fellow citizens as enemy combatants on a battlefield, as long as the media continues to focus the spotlight on circus politics, and as long as the citizenry fail to be alarmed and outraged every time the police state shoots another hole in the Constitution.” (01/10/18)


SCOTUS appears sympathetic to Ohio voter roll purge effort

Source: Chicago Tribune

The Supreme Court appeared sympathetic Wednesday to states that seek to prune their voting rolls by targeting people who haven’t voted in a while. In a case from Ohio, opponents of the practice called it a violation of a federal law that was intended to increase the ranks of registered voters. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said minorities and homeless people appear to be disproportionately kicked off the rolls. But the court’s conservatives and possibly also Justice Stephen Breyer indicated that they would uphold the state’s effort. Ohio is among a handful of states that use voters’ inactivity to trigger a process that could lead to their removal from voter rolls. A ruling for Ohio could prompt other states to adopt the practice, which generally pits Democrats against Republicans.” (01/10/18)


Four thoughts on Byrd v. United States

The Volokh Conspiracy

Source: The Volokh Conspiracy
by Orin Kerr

“The Byrd case concerns a basic question in Fourth Amendment law: How much of a relationship does one need to have with property — in this case, a rented car — to be able to object to an illegal search or seizure of it? This is Question 2 in my textual breakdown of Fourth Amendment law, which everyone in Fourth Amendment law calls ‘standing’ even though the Supreme Court has told us we really shouldn’t call it standing (more on this below). When I teach Fourth Amendment standing, I generally teach it as a line-drawing exercise with points along a continuum. Everyone agrees on the extremes, and the disagreement is where to draw the line. How much of a connection, and what kind of connection, is enough?” (01/02/18)


The best way to rule for Carpenter (or, how to expand Fourth Amendment protections without making a mess)

The Volokh Conspiracy

Source: The Volokh Conspiracy
by Orin Kerr

“Last month, the Supreme Court held argument in Carpenter v. United States, the pending case on whether the Fourth Amendment protects cell-site records. There seemed to be at least five votes sympathetic to ruling for Carpenter. At the same time, there was very little agreement about how to get there. What line should the Court draw, and based on what rationale? No clear answers emerged. In this post, I want to identify what I think is the best way to rule for Carpenter. To be clear, I don’t think this approach is the best way to rule. My amicus brief explains why I think cell phone users have no Fourth Amendment rights in their historial cell-site records. But if the Court wants to go the other way, there are better and worse ways to do that.” (12/30/17)


Political prisoner Ross Ulbricht appeals double life sentence to SCOTUS

Source: Bitcoin.com

“Ross Ulbricht formally submitted a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), seeking a hearing for the overturn of a decision upheld this year by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Ulbricht’s double-life sentence without the possibility of parole is at stake. … Mr. Ulbricht’s appeal focuses on two questions, according to the writ: ‘1. Whether the warrantless seizure of an individual’s Internet traffic information without probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment. 2. Whether the Sixth Amendment permits judges to find the facts necessary to support an otherwise unreasonable sentence.'” (12/28/17)