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Friday round-up

On Thursday night, the Court agreed to stay the execution of Texas death row inmate Duane Buck, who was scheduled to be executed yesterday. Buck’s appeal argues that the racially charged testimony of a psychologist at his sentencing hearing unfairly influenced the jury. The Associated Press and Reuters have coverage.

Several Justices have been on the road for speaking engagements. Justice Ginsburg, undeterred by an emergency evacuation of her plane on Wednesday, spoke as scheduled last night at UC Hastings School of Law. The Associated Press has coverage, including the Justice’s comment that if it were up to her, the Court would “go back to the day when the Supreme Court said the death penalty can’t be applied with an even hand”; the San Jose Mercury News also has coverage. Justice Thomas also spoke at a law school yesterday; he was at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he told students that the Court was making too many of the “really hard calls” – calls that should instead be made by citizens and elected officials.  The Lincoln Journal Star has coverage. And at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, Justice Breyer spoke on his new book, “Making Our Democracy Work.” The Pasadena Star News has coverage. Finally, at the BLT, Tony Mauro reports on a speech last night by retired Justice John Paul Stevens, who received an award from the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project. Justice Stevens strongly criticized the Court’s ruling earlier this year in Connick v. Thompson, in which the Court held that a former death row inmate could not obtain damages from a district attorney’s office for its failure to train its prosecutors based on a single incident of withholding evidence.


  • UPI reports that former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling has filed a cert petition asking the Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s holding that he would have been convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud notwithstanding the erroneous jury instructions used at his trial; in 2010, the Court had sent his case back to the lower courts for re-evaluation.
  • An editorial in the Los Angeles Times discusses the possibility that Justice Thomas will be investigated for his failure to disclose his wife’s income.
  • On Monday, September 19, the ABA will be hosting a panel on the upcoming Term featuring (among others) Joan Biskupic, Neal Katyal, and Adam Liptak. Register here.
  • In her Appellate Daily column, Michelle Olsen discusses the circuit split on Social Security survivor benefits for children conceived posthumuously.

Recommended Citation: Marissa Miller, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Sep. 16, 2011, 9:17 AM),