We expect orders from the March 24 conference on Monday at 9:30 a.m. There is a possibility of opinions on Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. The court will also hear oral arguments on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The calendar for the March sitting is available on the court’s website. On Friday the justices will meet for their March 31 conference; our list of “petitions to watch” for that conference will be available soon.
Over 95% of criminal cases in the federal system end in a plea bargain, rather than going to trial. One such case is that of Jae Lee, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to possession of ecstasy with the intent to distribute it. Lee was sentenced to one year and one day in prison – considerably less than the 24 to 30 months suggested by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The real problems began after Lee went to prison. In 1982, at the age of 13, Lee had moved from South Korea to the United States with his parents. They became U.S. citizens, but he did not. Lee’s attorney, Larry Fitzgerald, had told Lee before he entered his plea that he would not be deported: The government wasn’t seeking to deport him as part of the plea bargain, Fitzgerald explained, and because Lee had been in the country so long, the government couldn’t remove him from the country even if it wanted to. Fitzgerald’s advice, it turned out, was dead wrong. Lee learned that deportation was a mandatory penalty for the crime of which he had now been convicted.
The petition of the day is:
Oyez has posted audio and transcripts from this week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court.
The court heard argument this week in:
On March 27 at 12 p.m., the D.C. Bar will host the next installment of its seminar series on issues and cases before the court. Ruthanne Deutsch and Brian Wolfman will focus on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, in which the court held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires a school to offer an “individualized education program” reasonably calculated to allow a student to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. This blog’s Edith Roberts will serve as the moderator. More information and registration are available for the in-person presentation and the webinar.
John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists.
In a week where there was no shortage of bigly stories for court-watchers, it’s hard to know where to begin. The really tough questions the Senate threw at Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch this week? Or the fact that we as a nation remain deeply divided on basic issues, unable even to recognize the common humanity of those who disagree? But at least the rough and tumble of public debate has achieved consensus on one issue: There must be punctuation to reflect the dopey blank-stare pause between “uuuh” and “what?,” known to grammarians as an “Oxnard Comma.”
While the two serial relists that have been hanging around for a month or more return for another conference, last week’s three new relists were unceremoniously shown the door without so much as a dissent from denial. The hardy duo of returning relists are joined this week by four new hopefuls. Every one involves a very narrow issue – none of them is the sort of blockbuster the court has produced in recent years. The cases fall into two broad categories – we’ll briefly describe them all, alternating between cases involving human drama and nerd-fests.
Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up its hearing on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. A round-up of early coverage of and commentary on the proceedings, including the possibility of a filibuster by Democratic senators, appeared in this blog. Additional coverage comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR, Ken Jost at Jost on Justice, Tierney Sneed at Talking Points Memo, Tony Mauro in The National Law Journal (registration or subscription required), and Mark Walsh in Education Week. Commentary comes from Kimberly Strassel in The Wall Street Journal, the editorial board of The New York Times, We the People (podcast), Dean Obeidallah at The Daily Beast, Sarah Posner in The Washington Post, and Tony Francois at the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog.
The petition of the day is:
Issue: Whether retroactively applying a sex-offender-registry law that classifies offenders into tiers based on crime of conviction, requires certain offenders to register for life, requires offenders to report in person periodically and within days of certain changes to registry information, and restricts offenders’ activities within school zones imposes “punishment” in violation of the ex post facto clause.
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted the fourth and final day of its hearing on Gorsuch nomination, which featured testimony of witnesses for and against the nomination. Coverage of the hearing comes from Matt Flegenheimer and others in The New York Times, Seung Min Kim and Josh Gerstein at Politico, Rebecca Wilhelm at Bloomberg BNA, who focuses on Gorsuch’s views on Chevron deference, Benjamin Wermund at Politico, and Lisa Soronen at the National Conference of State Legislatures blog, who writes about what Gorsuch had to say about issues affecting state and local governments, Commentary comes from Andrew Cohen in Esquire, Ilya Shapiro in the Washington Examiner, Tara Helfman in Commentary, Lori Ringhand and Paul Collins at The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, who argue that all justices, including Gorsuch, should be limited to 18-year terms,
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced today that he will oppose Gorsuch’s nomination and will urge his Democratic colleagues to do the same, opening the door to a filibuster. Amy Howe reports on Schumer’s statement for this blog. Additional coverage comes from Kevin Freking and Mark Sherman at the Associated Press, Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung at Reuters, Ariane de Vogue at CNN, Charlie Savage, Matt Flegenheimer and Adam Liptak in The New York Times, Richard Wolf at USA Today, Elana Schor at Politico, and Ed Keefe, Robert Barnes and Ann Marimow in The Washington Post. Commentary on the prospect of a filibuster comes from James Downie in The Washington Post.
The Senate Judiciary Committee concluded its confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch this afternoon. After undergoing two days of questioning, the nominee himself was not present at today’s proceedings, which featured a variety of witnesses. Unsurprisingly, Gorsuch has secured the vote of at least one senator, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the committee, who spoke briefly with the press after adjourning the hearing. Motioning to the witness table, Grassley said he did not understand how anyone could oppose Gorsuch’s nomination after “the performance of this guy for 22 hours.” Grassley further dismissed indications by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that Schumer would support a filibuster, which Amy Howe covered this morning. “We aren’t going to talk about a filibuster, or even worry about it,” Grassley continued, calling the threat a “smokescreen.” He encouraged a return to “normalcy,” which he described as “dispassionate regard to making a decision on people for the Supreme Court.” Grassley said earlier this week that he hopes to hold a committee vote on the nomination next Monday.