On Monday, the court issued an opinion in Beckles v. United States, holding that the advisory federal sentencing guidelines are not subject to vagueness challenges under the due process clause. Nora Demleitner analyzes the opinion for this blog. Coverage comes from Lydia Wheeler at The Hill and Barbara Leonard at Courthouse News Service.
In this week’s second opinion, in Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, 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. Coverage comes from the Equal Justice Initiative and commentary comes from Noah Feldman at Bloomberg View, who notes that the majority’s decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “is unusually honest and direct about how race in America has historically tainted the fairness of the judicial system,” and that the “court’s three conservatives dissented from Kennedy’s decision, essentially seeing the principle of finality as more important than rooting out racial bias.”
At Rewire, Jessica Mason Pieklo discusses this week’s decision by the court to send Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a high-profile transgender rights case that had been scheduled for oral argument later this month, back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit for another look, arguing that “it’s important, while these cases work their way through the courts, to repeat over and over and over again that these are not ‘bathroom’ cases” – they “are about the right of transgender people to be in public,” and that although the “Supreme Court may not be willing to recognize that right to exist just yet, … it will have to sooner or later.”
- At CNN, Ariane de Vogue and Dan Merica report that President Donald Trump will nominate acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco to fill the post permanently, noting that Francisco “most recently hails from the law firm Jones Day,” where “he worked with Donald McGahn, the current White House counsel.”
- In The Atlantic, Garrett Epps explores Supreme Court precedent that might govern customs agent’s recent “demand for ID from passengers on a domestic flight,” concluding that in “the current climate, some federal judge might decide that ‘show me your papers’ is permissible at airports, but that “so far none has; and it would be a radical and alarming change in the law if one did.”
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