Today, the court will hear oral argument in Moore v. Texas, which asks whether Texas can rely on an outdated standard in determining whether a defendant’s intellectual disability precludes him from being executed. Amy Howe previewed the case for this blog. Another preview comes from Karen Ojeda and Nicholas Halliburton for Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute. Additional coverage of Moore comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR, who notes that “the state’s test is based on what the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals called ‘a consensus of Texas citizens,’ that not all those who meet the ‘social services definition’ of ‘retardation’ should be exempt from the death penalty,” and from Steven Mazie in The Economist. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Carol and Jordan Steiker argue that rather than “relying on the same approach to intellectual disability that Texas uses in every other context (such as placement in special education or eligibility for disability benefits),” the state appeals “court sought to redefine the condition in the capital context so that only offenders who meet crude stereotypes about intellectual disability are shielded from execution.”
In The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that in his opening remarks at the recent Federalist Society convention honoring the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a gathering “energized” by “the surprise election of Donald J. Trump,” Justice Samuel Alito “seemed to set out an agenda for the Supreme Court in the Trump era.” Additional coverage of the convention comes from Robert Barnes in The Washington Post, who notes that “it was the opening on the Supreme Court that dominated the event” and highlights some of the names on Trump’s shortlist of nominees. In The Huffington Post, Geoffrey Stone inveighs against the “unconscionable behavior” of the Senate Republicans who stonewalled President Barack Obama’s supreme court nominee ”in the rank partisan hope that the next president – hopefully a fellow Republican – would then appoint a justice more to their ideological liking,” arguing that “President Trump’s first appointment to the Supreme Court will in fact be an illegitimate interloper who has absolutely no business being the decisive vote in critical Supreme Court decisions in the years and decades to come.”
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