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Tuesday round-up

Andrew Cohen of the Atlantic considers the modern era of capital punishment since Gregg v. Georgia, the Supreme Court decision reinstating the death penalty. Cohen argues that the “legal compact demanded by the United States Supreme Court when it reinstituted capital punishment in 1976 has been broken, repeatedly, not by convicts, but by hundreds of overzealous administrators of the nation’s justice systems.” His commentary joins the ongoing debate over capital punishment, most recently typified by the case of Duane Buck, the Texas death row inmate whose execution the Court stayed last week (which Kiera covered yesterday). Elsewhere, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a Georgia parole board is deliberating whether Troy Davis, a death row inmate convicted of murdering an off-duty police officer whose case has reached the Court repeatedly, will face execution tomorrow evening. (Update: the New York Times reports that Davis was denied clemency this morning.)

At the New York Times, Adam Liptak examines the unintended effects of Citizens United, citing the “often-overlooked” aspect of the decision upholding disclosure requirements. He notes that lower courts have relied on Citizens United to reject challenges to disclosure laws, especially in cases involving political spending and social issues. Though current disclosure laws may not be necessarily adequate, Liptak argues that Congress and state legislators are to blame for the shortcoming: “You can’t blame Citizens United for everything.”

Lawrence Hurley of Greenwire previews Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, one of two environmental cases currently on the merits docket for this upcoming Term.  At issue is whether landowners may challenge EPA-issued administrative compliance orders in court prior to the EPA seeking judicial enforcement. Hurley notes that “the wider interest in the case highlights the fact that it could undermine EPA enforcement powers.”

And finally, the Hartford Courant reports an unexpected development relating to Kelo v. City of New London, a 2005 decision in which the Court ruled that a local government may seize private property for purposes of private re-development as a constitutional “public use.” One year ago, as Jeff Benedict reports, Connecticut Supreme Court Judge Richard Palmer apologized to Susette Kelo for voting to uphold the taking of her home for economic development. Ilya Somin of the Volokh Conspiracy considers this “yet another indication that, at least at the state level, many judges have become more skeptical about economic development takings” after Kelo.

Recommended Citation: Nabiha Syed, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Sep. 20, 2011, 8:03 AM),