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Blog Scan

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Goldstein Never Had a Doubt:  At SCOTUSblog, Tom Goldstein declares "It's Over."  What exactly, Tom?  Why, the fight over the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, of course.  According to Goldstein, "[b]efore it ever started, the fight over the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor is done.  She is going to be confirmed by a relatively wide margin and without a substantial, mainstream assault on her credentials or suitability for the bench."  And it appears that Goldstein never had a doubt.  SCOTUSblog has viewed Sotomayor as an "obviously serious candidate to serve on the Supreme Court" since May 15th, and provided weekly summaries of her civil opinions for interested SCOTUS readers.  And now, 48 hours after President Obama announced her nomination, Goldstein believes "the opposition outside the circle of committed advocates is almost certain to run out of gas by the weekend, a full five or six weeks before the hearings begin." If Goldstein is correct, let us hope that he is also correct when he states: "I do think (thankfully) that there will be close questioning of Judge Sotomayor at the hearings on the substance of her views about jurisprudence."

Should the Supreme Court Take Up a Unanimous Jury Case?  Sherry Colb, at FindLaw, believes that it should.  Yesterday, Colb posted a piece arguing that the Supreme Court should grant the certiorari petition of Scott David Bowen, a man convicted 10-2, on eight counts of raping, sodomizing, and sexually abusing his teenage daughter. In his petition for Supreme Court review, Bowen contends that the Sixth Amendment jury trial right requires a unanimous jury for conviction of any serious criminal offense.  He is asking the Court to reconsider the 1972 decision of Apodaca v. Oregon.  Colb writes that the Supreme Court should take the case because, "[h]ad the trial taken place in another state (besides Louisiana), a split verdict like this would have resulted in a mistrial and accordingly, a right to a new trial."  A new trial is precisely what Bowen wants.  Colb also blogs on Dorf on the Law, that one reason Oregon's split verdict system still stands can be contributed to the Justices seated on the Court in 1972.  In Apodaca, the Justices agreed 5-4 that there was a Sixth Amendment right to unanimity, however, Justice Powell "rejected the Fourteenth Amendment incorporation of that right."

Kmiec Comments on Catholic Court:  At Wall Street Journal's Law Blog, Suzanne Sataline has an interview with Pepperdine Law Professor, and former White House adviser to Presidents Regan and Bush, Douglas Kmiec, on what it could mean to have a Supreme Court where six of the nine Justices are Catholic.  Kmiec believes that Judge Sotomayor should not let her faith dictate her decisions.  He has noticed, however, that she seems
"particularly sensitive to freedom of religion issues."  For example, she once protected the ability of prison inmates to have their faith traditions accommodated. 

   

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