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Supreme Court Database Covering 1953-2008 Terms:  SCOTUSblog's Erin Miller posts on a new online Supreme Court database that allows its users to search Supreme Court statistics and opinions, and answer questions like "How many Warren Court decisions declared an act of Congress, or a state constitutional provision unconstitutional?"  The database, compiled by Harold Spaeth and five other contributing law and political science professors, was funded by the National Science Foundation.  It features downloadable datasets and interactive search tools.  The website even provides a tutorial for those who are new to the site.  And for internet users interested in more than Supreme Court research, Ashby Jones reports on Wall Street Journal's Law Blog that recent George Mason law graduate, Josh Blackman, has created FantasySCOTUS.net, a place for SCOTUS watchers to predict how the Supreme Court will rule on an argument and possibly win money.  Jones reports that points are awarded for predicting the outcome; the split (9-0, 8-1, 7-2, 6-3, 5-4, 4-1-4, or fragmented); as well as the justices in the majority and the justices in the dissent.  At the end of the term, points are tallied and a winner will be decreed.

"Nominations Talk Opens Federalist Convention":  At Blog of Legal Times, David reports that Senator Jeffery Sessions (R-Ala.), the top Republican the Senate Judiciary committee, launched the Federalist Society's annual convention with a speech criticizing President Obama's federal court nominations.  According to Ingram, Senator Sessions said that the confirmation process this summer of Justice Sonia Sotomayor showed that conservatives have a superior approach to interpreting the law.   He apparently encouraged conservatives to pursue a freewheeling, public debate on the role of federal judges.  Sessions is worried that "[u]nder the president's vision, the Constitution, I would suggest, is no longer the law of the land. Instead, each court... becomes a constitutional convention unto itself."

Commentary on Prosecuting "Non-stranger" Rape:  Judging Crimes blogger Joel Jacobsen has some interesting thoughts on what cross examination might sound like if we prosecuted auto theft the same way we prosecute "non-stranger" rape.  Jacobsen finds inspiration for his post from a recent CBS News interview with University of Massachusetts professor David Lisak.  Jacobsen's hypothetical cross-examination of an auto-theft victim gives its reader a good understanding of how Jacobsen feels about use of the consent defense in rape cases.

The Passing of John O'Connor III: 
Yesterday, at Blog of Legal Times, Tony Mauro reported that retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's husband, John O'Connor III, had passed away in Phoenix of complications from Alzheimer's disease.  As many know, Justice O'Connor decided to retire in 2006 in large part because of her husband's illness.  Mauro reports that services will be private.  Howard Bashman's How Appealing post includes a link to the AP report.    

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