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Wednesday round-up

Today’s argument docket features Jennings v. Rodriguez, a class-action due-process challenge to the prolonged detention of immigrants. Kevin Johnson previewed the case for this blog. Reymond Yammine and Natalia San Juan provide another preview for Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute. Additional coverage of Jennings comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR, who notes that the court will be deciding “important immigration questions” “even as President-elect Donald Trump talks of pushing for more deportations,” and David Savage of the Los Angeles Times, who quotes legal experts as saying that “a Supreme Court ruling upholding the president’s power to detain immigrants indefinitely would give the new administration greater leverage in cracking down against illegal immigration.”

Yesterday, the court heard oral argument in Moore v. Texas, in which the justices have been asked to decide whether Texas can rely on an outdated standard in determining whether a defendant’s intellectual disability precludes him from being executed. Amy Howe analyzes the argument for this blog. Additional coverage of the argument comes from Mark Walsh in Education Week; Lyle Denniston at his eponymous blog, who notes that the justices “made what appeared to be genuine progress” towards solving “a basic constitutional puzzle over the death penalty”; Nina Totenberg at NPR; and Steven Mazie in The Economist, who remarks that “a majority of the justices seem skeptical that Texas’s rogue standards for measuring intellectual disability matched their precedents.” In The Atlantic, Garrett Epps also discusses Moore, observing that this “kind of ‘you’re not serious’ case is a subtle but significant challenge to the Supreme Court’s authority.” Another take on Moore comes from Kent Scheidegger at Crime and Consequences, who argues that Bobby Moore’s lawyers engaged in a “bait-and-switch” at “the nation’s highest court” by changing the basis on which they were challenging the Texas standard for intellectual disability.

The court also issued its first merits opinion of the term yesterday. In Bravo-Fernandez v. United States, a unanimous court held that the issue-preclusion component of the double jeopardy clause does not bar retrial of defendants whose previous trial ended in inconsistent jury verdicts of acquittal and conviction, when the convictions were later vacated for reasons unrelated to the inconsistency. Rory Little covers the decision for this blog.

On Monday, the court heard argument in in Beckles v. United States, which asks whether the residual clause of the sentencing guidelines is unconstitutionally vague and whether a ruling to that effect would be retroactive. Nora Demleitner has this blog’s argument analysis. Another look at the argument in Beckles comes from Carissa Hessick at the Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, who observes that the “Court continues to struggle with how to regulate an advisory system in light of the fact that the purely discretionary system that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines replaced was essentially unregulated.”


  • In the ABA Journal, Mark Walsh reports on two redistricting cases set to be argued next week, McCrory v. Harris and Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, noting that with “the lower court decisions largely split between striking down and upholding the challenged plans, a deadlock would leave redistricting laws unsettled as time ticks closer to the next round of line drawing.”
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman examines the changing nature of Supreme Court cases involving the “scope of executive power,” looking at past cases, as well as past and pending cert petitions, to assess how such questions might arise in relation to a Donald Trump presidency.

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 30, 2016, 7:09 AM),