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Blog Scan

Selecting a Federal Judge:  At SCOTUSblog, Erin Miller posts an account of former White House counsel Gregory Craig's lecture at Georgetown University.  Last year, Craig led the search for Justice Souter's replacement, and according to Miller, Craig's lecture offered insider insights on President Obama's selection of federal judges.  Miller reports that Craig refuted  stories that ethnic and gender diversity factors were an issue late in the Supreme Court selection process by stating that "simply wasn't part of the discussion."  Craig stated that the President had already taken diversity into account in his earliest suggestions, and Craig believes that the President will take diversity into account in the event of any new vacancy.

McDonald Post-Argument Reactions:
  The Federalist Society has posted a post-argument SCOTUScast for McDonald v. Chicago.  The discussion is moderated by Northwestern University School of Law George C. Dix Professor Steven Calabresi, and features comments from two authors of amicus briefs in the case.  Clark Nielly, a Senior Attorney at the Institute for Justice, was the Counsel of Record in the Institute for Justice's brief in support of McDonald.  Marquette University Law School Professor J. Gordon Hylton also signed onto an amicus brief.  He joined the Brief of Thirty-Four Professional Historians and Legal Historians in support of Chicago.  Tony Mauro also reports on Blog of Legal Times that Douglas Kmiec, the U.S. Ambassador to Malta, and former Dean of Catholic University of America's law school, has weighed in on Tuesday's oral arguments from the European republic in the Mediterranean Sea.  

Texas State Judge Declares State's Death Penalty Unconstitutional (or Maybe Not):
  At Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug Berman posts a link to a Houston Chronicle article by Brian Rogers reporting that state District Judge Kevin Fine granted a pretrial motion to declare the death penalty unconstitutional.  The motion was one of many submitted by defense attorneys Bob Loper and Casey Keirnan arguing Texas' death penalty was unconstitutional for their client, John Edward Green Jr.  But, according to Mark Bennett, the author of Defending People, "Brian Rogers's report is not quite accurate. In fact, it's far enough from accurate to be totally false."  Judge Fine actually denied defendant's motion to hold the death penalty unconstitutional (denial available here), and granted the defendant's Motion to Hold that Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 37.071 is Unconstitutional.  Criminal Procedure Article 37.071 addresses procedure in capital cases, and is a far cry from declaring the death penalty unconstitutional.  Ashby Jones of Wall Street Journal's Law Blog reports that by granting the motion Judge Fine agreed with defendant's argument that the law providing for the procedures surrounding instructions to a jury in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure violated the Eighth and 14th Amendments.  According to Rogers' article, not even University of Houston Law Center Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson believes Fine's decision would survive appellate review. 

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