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Thursday round-up

Yesterday the Court issued one opinion, in Kansas v. Cheever.  In a unanimous opinion by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held that, when a defense expert who has examined the defendant testifies that the defendant lacked the requisite mental state to commit a crime, prosecutors may offer evidence from a court-ordered psychological examination for limited purpose of rebutting the defendant’s evidence.  The Court thus vacated the decision of the Kansas Supreme Court (which had overturned Cheever’s conviction and death sentence) and remanded the case for further proceedings.  Coverage of the opinion comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, Luke Rioux at Harmless Error, Kent Scheidegger of Crime and Consequences, and Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST.

Yesterday the Court also heard oral argument in two cases.  In Lozano v. Alvarez, the Justices are considering whether the one-year period established by the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, during which a parent has a near-automatic right to have an abducted child returned to his home country, can be equitably tolled.  I reported on the oral argument for this blog; other coverage comes from Robert Barnes of The Washington Post (who focuses in particular on the Justices’ “New York state of mind” and Justice Breyer’s apparent confusion of Iowa and Illinois in the argument), Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, and Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST.

In the second argument, White v. Woodall, the Court was considering the jury instructions in Woodall’s capital murder trial.  In his report on the oral argument for Crime and Consequences, Kent Scheidegger concludes that “[n]o clear winner emerges”; other coverage comes from Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST.

On Tuesday, the Court dismissed the union organizing case UNITE Here Local 355 v. Mulhall as improvidently granted.  William Gould reported on the dismissal for this blog; other coverage comes from Moshe Marvit of In These Times, who describes the dismissal as a “lucky escape” for the union, and


  • In a two-part series for The Atlantic (here and here), Andrew Cohen looks at three Justices who “all came late in life to regret their early doctrinal support for the death penalty,” as well as at the Court and the death penalty more generally.
  • Adam Serwer of MSNBC reports on Tuesday’s oral arguments in American Lung Association v. EME Homer City Generation and Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, the consolidated challenges to the EPA’s authority to require states to take measures to prevent their air pollution from affecting their downwind neighbors.
  • At ACSblog, Charlotte Garden previews the January argument in Harris v. Quinn.  She suggests that, although the case “involves an Illinois statute that allows homecare workers to bargain collectively, it has the potential to affect the structure of public sector bargaining throughout the country.”

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 12, 2013, 10:20 AM),