<< Brown Argument Off Calendar | Main | News Scan >>


Blog Scan

| 0 Comments
It's Official - Our 111th Supreme Court Justice:  At SCOTUSblog, Lyle Denniston reports that in today's official ceremony Justice Sonia Sotomayor took her seat today as the nation's 111th Supreme Court Justice.  After Chief Justice Roberts, Jr. administered the Judicial Oath, Justice Sotomayor took the traditional seat of the newest Justice -- on the far right as the audience sees the bench. Denniston also reports that today's ceremony is the first of two Court events that will take place before the start of the official October term.  Tomorrow, the Court will hold an 80-minute hearing on the controversy surrounding Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (08-205).  Citizens is a carryover case from last term that addresses whether the Court should overrule either or both Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and the part of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, which addresses the facial validity of Section 203 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, 2 U.S.C. ยง441b.  Denniston reports the audiotape of the oral argument will be available sometime after tomorrow's session concludes.  Tony Mauro also reports on the ceremony at Blog of Legal Times.  Mauro's post includes pictures of our new Justice and the Chief Justice on the steps of the Supreme Court.  Ashby Jones blogs on Wall Street Journal's Law Blog that now that the new Justice is seated, it's time to "[l]et the games begin."

Louisiana Death Penalty:  Over the holiday weekend, Doug Berman posted a "Detailed examination of the death penalty in Louisiana" on Sentencing Law and Policy.  Berman's post is based on an article by Alison Bath in Sunday's Shreveport Times.  The article, Louisiana death penalty: an eye for an eye or ineffective?, promises to be the first in a series "will explore reasons for an apparent slowdown of executions, the costs of seeking the death penalty and the increasing number of death row inmates who are exonerated of their crimes and those whose sentences are overturned."  The series will also feature interviews with families of victims, prosecutors and defense attorneys.  Bath's article on Sunday makes the case that implementation of the death penalty in Louisiana, one of the "most active death penalty states in the first 10 years after the death penalty was reinstated," has dwindled in recent years.  Of the 27 men put to death since Louisiana reinstated the death penalty in 1979, 18 were executed between 1983 and 1988. Seven more were put to death during the '90s and just two were executed since 2000.

Ninth Circuit Decides Preventive Detention Case:
  At Volokh Conspiracy Orin Kerr posted on the Ninth Circuit's decision in al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, and speculated that the decision "added a new case to the Supreme Court's docket next year."  According to Kerr, the Ninth Circuit held "that the post-9/11 practice of using the material witness statute to detain suspected terrorists is not only unconstitutional, but clearly unconstitutional, and that former AG Ashcroft can be personally sued for his role in it."  Al-Kidd apparently had ties with a suspected terrorist who had recently been arrested and charged with fraud.  When al-Kidd announced his plans to travel Saudi Arabia to study Islam, U.S. officials feared he was trying to leave the U.S. to escape U.S. authorities. The Department of Justice obtained a "material witness" warrant, ordering that al-Kidd be detained as a possible witness in the criminal case against the terrorist.  Al-Kidd was was detained for 2 weeks, and released when he agreed to comply with specific conditions of release for 15 months. He then filed a civil suit alleging that his detention violated his Fourth Amendment rights and the material witness statute, and that his treatment during the detention violated his Fifth Amendment and Eighth Amendment rights.  Kerr's post goes through each of the issues decided by the Ninth Circuit, and offers his analysis of the decision.  Kerr believes the court's decision is "Partly Right, Partly Wrong."  For Kerr, the key inquiry is what is the probable cause inquiry for national security detention warrants.  Kerr's problem is that the majority opinion never addresses this question. This could be one reason the case makes it way to the Supreme Court.  Ashby Jones also has this post on Wall Street Journal's Law Blog, and Jonathan Adler posted an excerpt from the opinion on Saturday.  Howard Bashman rounded up press coverage for How Appealing.
  

Leave a comment