Tag Archives: Supreme Court of the United States

TX: Citing "racial stereotype," SCOTUS says inmate can appeal death sentence

Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

"During a sentencing hearing in Texas two decades ago, a defense attorney for a man named Duane Buck called on an expert who said his client's race made it more statistically likely that he would commit violent crimes in the future. Because of that statement, the Supreme Court has ruled 6-2 that Buck, who is black, can appeal his death sentence. It's the latest development in a case that Chief Justice John Roberts describes as 'a perfect storm' of circumstances that he says culminated in a lower court 'making a decision on life or death on the basis of race.'" (02/22/17)


SCOTUS hears case of Mexican teen murdered by US Border Patrol thug

Source: Chicago Tribune

"The Supreme Court is taking up an appeal from the parents of a Mexican teenager who was killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The case could help define when foreigners outside the U.S. have access to American courts. The justices are hearing argument Tuesday in a case that arose from an incident that took place in June 2010 in the cement culvert that separates El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The circumstances of exactly what occurred are in dispute, but what is clear is that the agent was on the U.S. side of the border when he fired his gun, striking Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca on the Mexican side. Lower courts dismissed the parents' lawsuit. The Supreme Court is considering whether noncitizens who are injured or killed outside the United States can have their day in American courts." (02/21/17)


Judge Gorsuch's natural law

Source: Reason
by Timothy Sandefur

"Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch isn't just a respected judge; he also holds a philosophy degree from Oxford, where he studied under John Finnis, one of the most prominent scholars in natural law theory. That may seem arcane, but Gorsuch's views about natural law set him apart from colleagues on the bench — and those differences may trouble not just liberals, but perhaps conservatives and libertarians, too." (02/12/17)


The prisoner's dilemma: Why Democrats should block Gorsuch

Source: The American Prospect
by David Atkins

"In a two-party political system, each party can be seen as a prisoner: Refuse to cooperate too much, and government falls apart with no one getting anything. Cooperate too much, and the other party will take advantage of you. If America were still a rational political system, Democrats would be advised to cooperate on the Gorsuch nomination. Even though he would occupy a Supreme Court seat functionally stolen from President Obama when Senate Republicans refused for almost a year to hold confirmation hearings on Merrick Garland, Gorsuch is not patently unqualified for the job. … The next time there is a vacancy on the high court, Trump could well tap someone further to the right than Gorsuch to replace a liberal jurist. So shouldn't Democrats cooperate with Trump today, and save their ammunition for the next and arguably more important battle? The answer is no — for the simple reason that America no longer has a rational political system." (02/07/17)


The Neil Gorsuch nomination: Does a Protestant seat matter?

Source: Independent Institute
by William Watkins

"There has not been a Protestant on the Supreme Court since Justice John Paul Stevens retired in 2010. There has not been a Protestant nominated since 1990 when George W. Bush called upon David Souter. Right now there are five Roman Catholics and three Jews. Neil Gorsuch, according to the Washington Post, belongs to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder, Colorado. … So does a Protestant seat matter? Jurisprudentially, no. The Roman Catholic jurists such as Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia have been wonderful in carrying the standard for judicial modesty and an approach to legal interpretation focused on the text and original intent of the ratifiers. Because the Court is not (or should not) be a policy-making body, I don't buy the argument that 'diverse' perspectives are needed and thus we must have a Protestant seat, or a woman's seat, or a black seat, etc." (02/05/17)


Cato Daily Podcast, 02/02/17

Source: Cato Institute

"Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, has much to recommend him to libertarians, according to Cato adjunct scholar Andrew Grossman." [various formats] (02/02/17)


Pay no attention to the Gorsuch hysteria

Source: USA Today
by Christian Schneider

"On July 23, 1990, in front of a half-empty White House briefing room, President George H.W. Bush announced his pick to replace Justice William Brennan on the Supreme Court. Bush said David Souter, a little known New Hampshire state Supreme Court judge and former state attorney general, was 'committed to interpreting, not making the law. He recognizes the proper role of judges in upholding the democratic choices of the people through their elected representatives, with constitutional constraints,' Bush continued. Before the news media's flash bulbs had cooled, the professional outrage machine was out for blood." (02/01/17)


Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is a Donald Trump style authoritarian

Source: The Intercept
by Alex Emmons

"Gorsuch was said to be the least controversial pick on Trump's shortlist, having sailed through his early confirmation hearings in 2006 with only a few questions on assisted suicide from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. But now Gorsuch has a 10-year record of legal opinions, some of which disturbingly echo Trump's aversion to limits on law enforcement power. Trump campaigned as the 'law and order candidate,' and was extremely reluctant to hold police accountable for violence. Gorsuch, from his first year on the federal bench, expressed a similar devotion to police impunity." (02/01/17)


Scalia, the sequel

Source: The American Prospect
by Erwin Chemerinsky

"Senate Democrats face a difficult decision: Do they filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court or confirm a justice they know will be very conservative? Senate Democrats are rightly outraged that Republicans stole this seat on the Supreme Court through the unprecedented refusal to hold hearings or a vote on the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland. Everything known about Gorsuch is that he will be a reliable conservative vote across a wide range of constitutional and statutory questions. Democrats remember that there were 48 votes against Clarence Thomas and 42 against Samuel Alito — and in hindsight, that it was a huge mistake not to block them through filibusters. But filibustering Gorsuch risks the Republican majority in the Senate changing the rules to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees." [editor's note: I'm hearing all kinds of stuff on this guy, most of it seeming positive, compared to what could have happened – SAT] (02/01/17)


Term limits for Supreme Court Justices?

Source: Indepdendent Institute
by J Huston McCulloch

"A 14-year term limit would make the optimal age for a new Supreme Court Justice about 60. Most retirements would arrive on a predictable schedule with Justices in their mid-70s, rather than on an undignified death watch as at present. So far we've been spared (to the best of my knowledge) the predicament of a Justice afflicted by Altzheimer's disease, a debilitating stroke, or senile misbehaviour, but as life expectancy increases, this is merely a matter of time. Term limits would greatly reduce the probability and consequences of such a misfortune. With such a limit, the continuity of Supreme Court decisions would be determined by the strength of their legal reasoning, rather than by the longevity of their proponents as at present." (02/01/17)