<< News Scan | Main | Important Victory in Kindler >>

Blog Scan

Another Side to Lethal Injection Arguments:  At Homicide Survivors, Dudley Sharp dissects three arguments made against lethal injection in the United States.  First, Sharp tackles the argument that the murderer will experience pain during the procedure. He writes that although select research has suggested that the amount of sodium thiopental in the murderer's system may indicate that the executed was conscious, the authors of the often cited Lancet Study were "speculating."  Sharp's post offers up evidence from Michael Ross' execution to counter the speculation.  He then moves on to tackle the anti-death penalty argument that there is an ethical conflict for participation in the lethal injection process, because medical professionals have a requirement to "do no harm."  Sharp dispenses with the argument by pointing out that "ethical codes pertain to the medical profession, only, and to patients, only. Judicial execution is not part of the medical profession and death row inmates are not patients."  Sharp's third point addresses the argument that prison officials are not properly trained for IV application of drugs.  He notes that there are few errors in lethal injection that can be attributed to personal error, and states he is "unaware of evidence that shows criminal justice professionals are more likely to commit critical errors in the lethal injection process than are medical professionals in IV application.

Padilla Post-Argument SCOTUScast:  The Federalist Society's SCOTUScast series posted commentary from the United States Military Academy at West Point's Department of Law Professor Margaret D. Stock, on Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Padilla examines the claim an attorney was ineffective for failing to advise his client of the deportation consequences of pleading guilty.  Stock is well known in the area of immigration and citizenship law, and has testified as an expert before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, & International Law.  She finds the implications for immigrants "significant."  She believes that Padilla's case can have wide ranging effects for immigrants who plead guilty to relatively minor offenses.  She says that in many states judges in a criminal case will actually advise the defendant of the consequences of his guilty plea. In describing oral arguments Stock notes that Justice Scalia was concerned that the Supreme Court would be creating an undue burden if it were to create a Sixth Amendment right to counsel for all sorts of legal issues that a defense attorney might not be capable of management.  Stock believes that this could mean that the Court could limit its decision to apply only to the cases like Padilla's.  Transcripts from the October 13 argument are available here.

"Lincoln and Habeas:" 
On Saturday, How Appealing's Howard Bashman linked to John Yoo's SSRN essay, "Lincoln and Habeas: Of Merryman, Milligan and McCardle."  According to the Abstract, the essay "examines the costs of judicial intervention in wartime policy through the lens of three Civil War cases - Ex parte Merryman, Ex parte Milligan, and Ex parte McCardle."  He writes, "The Court's attachment to judicial supremacy in wartime ultimately provoked outright presidential defiance and the only clear example of congressional jurisdiction-stripping in the Court's history." 

Cert Granted in Law School Case:  At Blog of Legal Times, Tony Mauro writes that today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a case addressing University of California, Hastings College of the Law's denial of official recognition to the student group because it does not conform to the school's requirement that membership and leadership positions be open to all.  According to Mauro, the Ninth Circuit, in a brief unpublished opinion, said the law school's action was "viewpoint neutral and reasonable." The Christian Legal Society petitioned for cert., asserting that the Ninth Circuit's decision is in clear conflict with a Seventh Circuit decision involving the same organization, Christian Legal Society v. Walker.  University of Hastings predictably denied conflict among the lower courts, and sought to distinguish Walker.  The Court must not have agreed, and granted certiorari to determine whether a public university law school may deny school funding and other benefits to the student organization.  Eugene Volokh comments on Volokh Conspiracy that the Court's decision could extend beyond schools and "apply to tax exemptions and various other such schemes." 

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives