The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal weighs in against the court’s decision last week in Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, in which the justices held that evidence that a juror relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict a criminal defendant trumps an evidentiary rule barring post-verdict testimony about statements made during jury deliberations, arguing that the “ruling is a step toward corrupting juries with political standards based on the progressive obsessions with race, gender and class,” and that it “also continues Justice Kennedy’s long march away from constitutionally neutral standards on race.” At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost discusses Justice Clarence Thomas’ separate dissent in the case, which criticized the majority’s holding as inconsistent with “’the original understanding of the Sixth or Fourteenth Amendment’”; Jost argues that even “if one subscribes to the original understanding cult, Thomas overreads the history of the no-impeachment rule in 18th century England.” In The George Washington Law Review, Stephen Saltzburg unpacks the decision, concluding that it “is highly likely that lower courts will struggle to determine how much evidence of a racial bias or stereotype is sufficient to justify a hearing and how much is needed to set aside a verdict.”

At The Associated Press, Sam Hananel reports on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s decisions in criminal justice cases, noting that Gorsuch “might be hard to pigeonhole on criminal justice issues if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court.” The Stanford Law Review offers a series of essays by Stanford law students that analyze Gorsuch’s jurisprudence in various areas of the law.

Last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared the Kennedy Center Opera House stage with young opera singers, as she emceed a program featuring arias that presented legal themes. Andrew Hamm covered the event for this blog. Additional coverage comes from Anne Midgette in The Washington Post.


  • In Justia’s Verdict blog, Sherry Colb discusses the court’s decision in Buck v. Davis, in which the court lifted the death sentence of a Texas inmate whose defense expert had testified during sentencing that the defendant was more likely to be violent in the future because he is black, observing that given “the importance of race, … this case is best described as an amalgam of ineffective assistance of counsel and equal protection.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Monday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 13, 2017, 6:48 AM),