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A Look Back at Supreme Court's Criminal Law Cases:  At Concurring Opinions, guest-blogger Jenia Turner tells us her thoughts on the Supreme Court's criminal procedure decisions.  She writes that she is particularly interested in exploring the Court's suggestion "that 'truthseeking' was a central concern of our criminal justice system and may trump individual liberties in certain cases."  Turner believes that the Court is willing "to elevate the position of truthseeking relative to individual rights."  However, she also believes that "the Court is willing to let it take a back seat when it believes that it too severely threatens state prerogatives or the efficiency of the criminal justice system."  She cites D.A.'s Officer v. Osborne as an example.  According to Turner, Osborne held a prisoner had no "due process right to DNA evidence after conviction[,]" due to the State's interest in finality.

When Confirmation Comes, What Roles Do Judicial Ideology & Qualifications Play?
  As a follow up to last Thursday's post, the Ninth Justice offers up an excerpt from Lee Epstein and Jeffrey A. Segal's book, "Advice and Consent: The Politics of Judicial Appointments," to illustrate how ideology and qualifications affect Senator votes during confirmation hearings.  The excerpt focuses on the confirmation hearings of Justice Ginsburg and Robert Bork.  According to the passage, senators typically vote for candidates who mirror the Senators' ideologies.  In the case of Justice Ginsburg, however, it seemed senators were willing to "support a politically remote candidate if they perceive that candidate to be highly meritorious..."  On the other hand, when it came to Robert Bork, Segal and Epstein state that even though "Bork's qualification rating was higher than [William] Rehnquist's in 1986" and Justice Breyer's rating, the media focus on his ideology may have ultimately done him in.  Epstein and Segal conclude that because the President has stuck to nominating ideological moderates since Bork "it is too soon to tell whether this purely ideological opposition to an otherwise well-qualified nominee was an anomaly or a portent of changes to come."  Dave Ingram at the The National Law Journal explains how Judge Sotomayor's history and ideology could cause certain themes to emerge during her hearings (h/t Sentencing Law and Policy).

Death Penalty Protects Innocents
:  Yesterday, Homicide Survivors posted a piece by Dudley Sharp that argues that the Death Penalty provides "More Protection for Innocents."  Sharp's post argues that out "[o]f all the government programs in the world, that put innocents at risk..." there is not one with a "safer" record than the US death penalty.  Sharp argues that evidence of enhanced due process, incapacitation, deterrence and fear undermine the "false promise" that life without the possibility of parole is better than a death sentence.  According to Sharp, "[h]istory tells us that lifers have many ways to get out..." and "[i]n choosing to end the death penalty, or in choosing not implement it, some have chosen to spare murderers at the cost of sacrificing more innocent lives." 

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