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Argument analysis: Justices seem receptive to inmate’s juror-discrimination claims

The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in the case of an African-American death-row inmate in Mississippi who was convicted by a jury that included just one African-American juror. The inmate, Curtis Flowers, argues that the jury selection in his case violates the Constitution – especially because the lead prosecutor had a long history of eliminating potential African-American jurors from the jury pool. After nearly an hour of oral argument that included the first questions by Justice C...
Tags: Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Davis, Evans, Johnson, Flowers, John Roberts, Roberts, Howe, Alito, Mississippi Supreme Court, Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer


A “view” from the courtroom: Trials of Mississippi

Today will bring an intense hour of argument about race in jury selection in the case of a Mississippi man who has been tried six times by the same prosecutor, which will culminate in a series of short questions by Justice Clarence Thomas, his first during oral argument in three years. But first, there are a couple of lighter moments. Justice Thomas questions petitioner’s lawyer in Flowers v. Mississippi (Art Lien) Chief Justice John Roberts announces that Justice Stephen Breyer has the co...
Tags: Google, Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Washington, Kentucky, Walmart, United States, New Jersey, Davis, Manhattan, Evans, Nielsen, Johnson, Flowers


Rounding-up some news and commentary as SCOTUS hears argument on latest round of capital insanity

Albert Einstein is generally credited with the aphorism that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." That quote came to mind as I was thinking about the Supreme Court's consideration this morning of a Batson claim in Flowers v. Mississippi. Here is a brief accounting of just some of the backstory of this case (with emphasis added) from this SCOTUSblog post when cert was granted: [T]he justices will once again review the case of ...
Tags: Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Atlantic, Albert Einstein, Evans, Flowers, US supreme court, Mississippi Supreme Court, Doug Evans, Douglas A Berman, Batson, Curtis Flowers, Winona Mississippi Flowers, Mississippi Here


Friday round-up

Briefly: At (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that “[a] gathering to celebrate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 86th birthday Friday afternoon won’t be an ordinary event”: “500 of her enthusiastic followers have decided to follow her lead of physical fitness by dropping to the ground and planking in front of the Supreme Court.” At Law.com, David Ogden weighs in on Flowers v. Mississippi, which asks whether a prosecutor’s repeated use of peremptory cha...
Tags: Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Flowers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, American Legion, Round-up, U S Supreme Court, Linda Greenhouse, Goldstein Russell, American Humanist Association, Tony Mauro, DAVID OGDEN, Batson


Argument preview: Justices to weigh allegations of racial discrimination in jury selection

During jury selection, some potential jurors can be removed “for cause” – that is, when a judge believes that a juror cannot be impartial in deciding the case. The lawyers trying the case also have a certain number of “peremptory strikes,” which allow them to reject jurors without providing a reason. However, the Supreme Court ruled in Batson v. Kentucky that prosecutors cannot use their peremptory strikes to remove prospective jurors from the jury pool based only on the jurors’ race. Next week ...
Tags: Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Evans, Flowers, Foster, U S Supreme Court, Howe, Mississippi Supreme Court, Chatman, Doug Evans, Merits Cases, Batson, Curtis Flowers


Wednesday round-up

This morning, in Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology LLC, the justices will consider whether a trademark licensee retains any rights under a licensing agreement when the licensor goes bankrupt. Ronald Mann previewed the case for this blog. Cecelia Bruni and Brady Plastaras have a preview at Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. Yesterday the court released additional orders from Friday’s conference, adding an important Clean Water Act case to their docket for next term and in...
Tags: Texas, Mississippi, Maryland, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Court, Cnn, Atlantic, New York Times, Epa, Flowers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, American Legion, Trump, Round-up


Symposium: Clarity of the record should bring clarity of purpose

Justin Levitt is a professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; he runs the website “All About Redistricting.” Partisan gerrymandering is back. There are two cases before the Supreme Court this term: a Democratic gerrymander in Maryland and a Republican gerrymander in North Carolina. The cases are different – and though neither is perfect, the basic problem of partisan political entrenchment is unlikely to be presented more cleanly. The evidentiary record in each case is firmly turned up to 11. ...
Tags: Featured, Maryland, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, City, North Carolina, Kennedy, Cox, Gill, Riviera Beach, Anthony Kennedy, Thurgood Marshall, Tarheel, Justin Levitt, Larios


Relist Watch

John Elwood previews February’s likely relists. We’re now in the middle of the Supreme Court’s nearly month-long midwinter hiatus between conferences. This means that the court hasn’t actually relisted the cases that it wishes to consider again after the January 18 conference, and probably won’t do so until closer to February 11. Still, we have a pretty good idea of which cases will be relisted. But before we head on to that, let’s bid farewell to the relisted cases that moved on to fairer clime...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Planned Parenthood, Virginia, Freedom, Alabama, Indiana, Dhs, United States, Williams, House Of Representatives, Davis


Court releases March calendar

The Supreme Court issued the argument calendar for its March sitting today. Over a six-day period from March 18 through March 27, the justices will hear oral argument in nine cases. Three of those cases are likely to be among the biggest cases of the term. On March 26, in Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, the justices will return to the topic of partisan gerrymandering – that is, the idea that state officials violate the Constitution when they draw district lines to favor one politica...
Tags: Featured, Mississippi, Maryland, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Virginia, United States, Federal Communications Commission, North Carolina, Flowers, Smith, U S Supreme Court, Howe, Mississippi Supreme Court, Wilkie


Busy afternoon at the Supreme Court: Six grants and one reargument order, but no stay in census dispute

This afternoon the Supreme Court issued orders from the justices’ private conference. The justices added six new cases, for a total of five hours of oral argument, to their merits docket for the term, and they ordered reargument in a case that was argued before Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court. In a separate order, the justices also rejected the government’s request to delay the trial in a dispute over a question regarding citizenship on the 2020 census. Perhaps the biggest news of the d...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Washington, Kentucky, Atlanta, Commerce, Va, Evans, Department Of Justice, Vietnam, Flowers, Smith


SCOTUS grants cert on another supervised release issue (and a Batson issue in a capital case)

The Supreme Court last week, as noted here, granted cert in United States v. Haymond, No. 17-1672, an interesting case from the Tenth Circuit in which the defendant prevailed on the claim that the procedures used to sentence him following his supervised release violation was unconstitutional.  Today, as reflected in this order, the Court granted cert on another issue related to supervised release through a grant in Mont v. United States, No. 17-8995.  The petitioner's cert petition posed this "Q...
Tags: Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Court, United States, Flowers, Mississippi Supreme Court, Tenth Circuit, Douglas A Berman, Mont, Batson, Haymond


Kavanaugh’s extra-judicial writing and speeches

We’ve collected extra-judicial writing, speeches and panel appearances of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. We may continue to update this post as we find additional materials. Articles and speech transcripts published in law reviews “Defense Presence and Participation: A Procedural Minimum for Batson v. Kentucky Hearings,” published in Volume 99 of the Yale Law Journal, 1989 “ ,” published in Volume 86 of the Georgetown Law Journal, 1997 “ ,” published in Volume 93 of the Minnesota Law Review, 2008 “War...
Tags: Fcc, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Washington Post, New York Times, Justice Department, Starr, Romeo, American Bar Association, Scalia, Harvard Law Review, THOMSON, William Rehnquist, Kavanaugh


Kavanaugh’s extra-judicial writing and speeches (Updated)

[Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include a link to Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s written questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee and supporting documents.] We’ve collected extra-judicial writing, speeches and panel appearances of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. We may continue to update this post as we find additional materials. Articles and speech transcripts published in law reviews “Defense Presence and Participation: A Procedural Minimum for Batson v. Kentucky Hearings,” published in...
Tags: Featured, Fcc, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Washington Post, New York Times, Justice Department, Starr, Romeo, American Bar Association, Senate Judiciary Committee, Scalia, Harvard Law Review, William Rehnquist


Two Justices make statement about Alabama capital case in which cert is denied

There was not too much of note in today's order list from the Supreme Court, though sentencing fans might be intrigued by Justice Sotomayor's short statement, joined by Justice Breyer, regarding the denial of certiorari in Floyd v. Alabama. Here is how the statement starts and ends: Petitioner Christopher Floyd was sentenced to death by an Alabama jury that was selected in a manner that raises serious concerns under our precedent in Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), J.E.B. v. Alabama ex r...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Court, Alabama, Ohio, Foster, Floyd, Chatman, Sotomayor, Breyer, Douglas A Berman, Batson, Christopher Floyd, Alabama Here


Petitions to watch | Conference of December 1

In its conference of December 1, 2017, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether orders denying state-action immunity to public entities are immediately appealable under the collateral-order doctrine; whether Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado created a new constitutional claim; and whether Richardson v. United States precludes a double jeopardy appeal based on evidentiary insufficiency when the jury returns a guilty verdict that is set aside for a new trial. Floyd v. Alab...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, Kentucky, Alabama, United States, Missouri, Sykes, Sellers, Foster, Floyd, Richardson, U S Court of Appeals, Alabama Supreme Court, 11th Circuit, Serrano


Relist Watch

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists. Just two new relists this week. If you were trying to come up with a case caption that could make complete strangers blanch in horror and dread, this week’s first relist would be hard to beat: It takes a special person not to wince when confronted with a name like Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District v. SolarCity Corp., 17-368. If it were possible to combine ERISA, CERCLA, FIFRA, RCRA, and, well, a couple of made up acronyms in one ...
Tags: Featured, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, Kentucky, Alabama, United States, Missouri, Arizona, Ivy League, Prince, Sellers, Phoenix, Foster, Floyd


Petitions to watch | Conference of November 21

In its conference of November 21, 2017, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether Congress possesses plenary power over Indian affairs and, if so, whether the plenary power expands the Indian commerce clause to authorize the displacement of state rights to territorial integrity; and whether, given the petitioner’s credible evidence that a juror voted for the death penalty because the petitioner is a “nigger,” the lower court erred in ruling that he failed to make “a subs...
Tags: New York, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Colorado, Kentucky, Alabama, United States, Missouri, Sykes, Sellers, Foster, Floyd, U S Court of Appeals, Alabama Supreme Court, 11th Circuit


Status Quo Watch

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists. Monday’s order list was a fitting one as the nation approaches the Thanksgiving holiday: It began with a flurry of , followed by torpor. The excitement came, of course, from the fact that the court granted review in three relisted cases, all of them raising interesting First Amendment questions: four-time relist National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, 16-1140 (presenting a challenge to a California law requiring crisis-pregnancy centers ...
Tags: New York, Featured, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Colorado, California, Kentucky, Alabama, United States, Missouri, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sellers, Reeves, Foster


Petitions to watch | Conference of November 9

In its conference of November 9, 2017, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether the existence of probable cause defeats a First Amendment retaliatory-arrest claim as a matter of law; whether, in the exercise of its Article I powers, Congress can infringe, reduce or diminish the territorial integrity of a state without its prior consent; and whether the free speech clause or the free exercise clause of the First Amendment prohibits California from compelling licensed pro...
Tags: New York, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Colorado, California, Washington, Kentucky, Alabama, United States, Missouri, Sykes, Sellers, Reeves, Reed


Relist Watch

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists. There have been no actual grants since October 16, but at least we’ve been accumulating relists. Oh sure, we had a couple of summary reversals this week – the first opinions of the term – from the ranks of the relists. But that’s not exactly what keeps people tuning in, is it? (Wait – why do people tune ?) Well, I have no idea what makes people read this, but rest assured we have plenty of whatever it is. This week we have three –count ‘em – three new relis...
Tags: New York, Featured, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Colorado, California, Washington, Kentucky, Alabama, United States, Missouri, Sykes, Sellers, Reeves


Relist Watch

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists. We can all agree that it’s a scary time of year. And from the looks of things, the horrors are just beginning. But at least my upcoming court dates will soon be in the past, and my strained efforts at humor will stop being so abbreviated. (Such bad food! And such small portions!) Our sole new relist this week is a capital case out of Alabama in which the condemned prisoner contends his trial was fundamentally unfair. Oh, sorry – we already did that story las...
Tags: Featured, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, California, Washington, Kentucky, Alabama, United States, Missouri, Madison, Sykes, Sellers, Reeves, Reed


Petitions to watch | Conference of November 3

In its conference of November 3, 2017, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether, when the Alabama Supreme Court failed to apply the reasoning and analysis mandated by the Supreme Court’s decision in Foster v. Chatman, the Supreme Court should intervene to enforce its precedents following Batson v. Kentucky, which prohibit discrimination in jury selection on the basis of race or gender; and whether the Supreme Court’s precedents clearly establish that a prisoner is incom...
Tags: Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, California, Washington, Kentucky, Alabama, United States, Missouri, Madison, Sykes, Sellers, Reeves, Reed, Foster


Is Jury Diversity a Problem? Panel Explores Issue

If you’ve ever tried a case in federal or state court, you know that picking a “jury of your peers” is often a challenge for all.  Sometimes, otherwise qualified prospective jurors say that they have conflicts with their schedules, while others are all too happy to feel like they are participating in a Law & Order episode. (Lifted from a real-life experience.) But there’s a bigger issue in play too — jury diversity. What does it really mean to have a jury of our peers? And is jury diversity stil...
Tags: Law, Jury, Diversity, Challenge, Connecticut, Panel, Litigation, Inclusion, State, U S Supreme Court, Holmes, LaVine, Appellate Court, Highlight, Voir Dire, Batson


Symposium: Intent is enough

Justin Levitt is a professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; he runs the website “All About Redistricting.” When the Supreme Court last addressed partisan gerrymandering in detail, all nine justices agreed that “an excessive injection of politics” into the redistricting process violates the Constitution. The court splintered, however, on two pivotal issues: how to know when an injection of politics is excessive, and who should decide. Four justices proposed various tests; four others wanted f...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, California, Nasa, Wisconsin, Kennedy, Cox, Heffernan, Gill, Anthony Kennedy, Justin Levitt, Merits Cases, Larios, Batson, Loyola Law School Los Angeles


Potential nominee profile: William Pryor (Expanded)

Update at 12:19 p.m., January 11: This post has been expanded to include discussion of Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama. Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit is widely considered, along with Judge Diane Sykes, to be the front-runner to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. President-elect Donald Trump mentioned both judges by name during a primary debate shortly after Scalia’s death, and both have the conservative bona fides necessary to allay ...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Australia, California, Senate, China, Alabama, Georgia, Usda, Iran, Indiana, Fbi


Potential nominee profile: William Pryor

Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit is widely considered, along with Judge Diane Sykes, to be the front-runner to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. President-elect Donald Trump mentioned both judges by name during a primary debate shortly after Scalia’s death, and both have the conservative bona fides necessary to allay concerns about, as Pryor himself has put it, adding “more Souters” to the court. Pryor, 54, earned his B.A. from Northeast Louisi...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Australia, California, Senate, China, Alabama, Georgia, Usda, Iran, Indiana, Fbi


Trial Court May Not Provide Prosecutor's Reasons In Batson Challenge

The trial court's mishandling of a Batson issue led the Louisiana Supreme Court to grant a new trial in a first degree murder death penalty case involving the death of the defendant's child. Defendant was subsequently brought to trial. At... [Author: Legal Profession Prof]
Tags: Law, Louisiana Supreme Court, Legal Profession Prof, Batson


Once more unto the Relist Watch

For (almost) the last time this Term, John Elwood reviews Monday’s relisted cases. As our dwindling readership can attest, our exclusive concern here at Relist Watch (you’d say our “lifeblood,” if we were at all ) is rank speculation about what cases the Court will decide to decide. Sure, we’re as interested as the next law nerd when the Court makes headlines because it can’t decide a case, and more interested still when it decides by not deciding. But it really only affects our work when the J...
Tags: UK, Mississippi, Supreme Court, Law, Obama, Congress, Washington, Senate, Court, Alabama, Bank Of America, Pennsylvania, United States, Williams, Miami, Ncaa


GVRs based on Foster generates opinions, including dissent from Justices Alito and Thomas

Last month, as reported here, the Supreme Court's reversed a conviction in Georgia capital case, Foster v. Chapman, because the Court had a "firm conviction" juror strikes in the case were "motivated in substantial part by discriminatory intent." Today, at the end of this order list, the Court now has relied on Foster to issue this order in a few cases: The motion of petitioner for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and the petition for a writ of certiorari are granted. The judgment is vacated,...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, Court, Alabama, Georgia, Williams, Louisiana, Thomas, Foster, Chapman, Floyd, Ginsburg, Alito, Chatman, Supreme Court of Mississippi


Relist Watch

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relisted cases. Since everybody seems to be talking about endorsements these days, your Relist Watch correspondents would like to make one: preferably, on the back of one of these enormous checks they’re handing out to newly minted lawyers.  It’s fifteen-dollars-an-hour for the one-percent set!  Next fall, if you see the Justices silently scanning counsel’s table during a BigLaw argument, they’re probably just musing about how far down the table they have to go befor...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Sixth Circuit, Supreme Court, Law, Washington, Kentucky, Virginia, Court, Alabama, Pennsylvania, United States, Williams, Atkins, Jesus



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