on Dec 5, 2016 at 7:25 am
Today the court hears oral argument in two redistricting cases from Virginia and North Carolina, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris. Amy Howe previewed the cases for this blog. Liza Carens and Jenna Scoville provide a preview of McCrory for Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute. At the Associated Press, Mark Sherman reports that the “claim made by black voters in both states is that Republicans created districts with more reliably Democratic black voters than necessary to elect their preferred candidates, making neighboring districts whiter and more Republican.” Additional coverage comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR, who reports that the cases present “the challenge of finding a delicate balance in considering race when drawing political boundaries — and the court’s reluctance to weigh in on partisan politics.”
Last Friday, the court granted certiorari in seven cases, consolidating three, for a total of five additional hours of oral argument this term. Amy Howe covered the grants for this blog. Additional coverage comes from Lyle Denniston at his eponymous blog, who notes that it “is possible that, by the time at least some of the cases come up for hearings, there will be a new ninth Justice on the bench.” At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr takes a look at County of Los Angeles v. Mendez, in which the court will decide “whether law enforcement officials can be held liable when they needlessly provoke a violent confrontation’; he also reports on a trio of cases, including Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, that have been consolidated for oral argument and that ask “whether religious hospitals and schools must abide by the federal rules that govern most private pension plans,” “an issue at the heart of dozens of lawsuits that seek potentially billions of dollars.”
Last Wednesday, the court heard oral argument in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a class-action due process challenge to the prolonged detention of immigrants without periodic bail hearings. In The Nation, Alina Dias discusses the case, arguing that immigration “detention centers are not Constitution-free zones,” and that “American families are the ones who pay the price when we fail to protect immigrants’ rights.” Democracy Now features an interview with Hilarion Joseph, “who was held for three years and two months in immigrant detention without a bond hearing when he faced deportation after his conviction for transporting weapons”; Joseph “won his case and was released, and this year he became a U.S. citizen.”
In The Hill, Harper Neidig reports that Donald Trump declared in an interview on Fox News last week that he had narrowed his potential Supreme Court nominees down to “’three or four’” candidates and that he would be announcing his choice “’pretty soon.’” Additional coverage of Trump’s remarks comes from Cristiano Lima in Politico.
At the Brennan Center, Andrew Cohen discusses the case of Georgia death row inmate William Sallie, who has asked the court to stay his execution, scheduled for tomorrow; Cohen argues that Sallie’s second trial, after which he was sentenced to death, “was affected by juror misconduct and judicial negligence to an extent I cannot recall in 20 years as a legal analyst.” In an op-ed in The New York Times, Norman Fletcher, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, also weighs in on Sallie’s case, noting that because the Georgia court has ruled that “people with death-penalty convictions have no right to counsel at that critical post-conviction stage,” “a door that would have been open to Mr. Sallie in almost any other state was closed to him in Georgia.”
- At Jost on Justice, Ken Jost discusses two Texas death penalty cases that have been argued this term, Buck v. Davis and Moore v. Texas, noting that the state, which “leads the nation in executions by a country mile,” “seems on a path to seeing two of its death penalty cases reversed by the Supreme Court,” and that the “blatant errors in the two cases highlight again the dismal record by Texas state courts and the federal appeals court for Texas in protecting constitutional rights in cases that call for additional not less scrutiny on appellate review.”
- At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman considers whether the court has begun to return to post-election business as usual, examining recent cert petition and amicus brief filings and concluding that “the impact of a potentially more certain future can and likely is pushing the Court both from inside and out to begin to return to a more characteristic approach to its business.”
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