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News Scan

Supreme Court Issues First Signed Decision of the Term:  The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday issued its first signed decision of the term in Abbott v. United States, a unanimous decision authored by Justice Ginsberg (Justice Kagen did not participate).  At issue in the case is the interpretation of a federal sentencing law that imposes a five-year minimum for the use of guns in connection with drug sales.  Rejecting arguments from two convicted drug dealers, the court determined that the law imposes a five-year minimum sentence on top of , not instead of, most other sentences.  Adam Liptak of The New York Times has this story.

Longest-Serving Texas Death Row Inmate Dies:  Richard Abshire of The Dallas Morning News reports that 55-year-old Ronald Curtis Chambers, an inmate on Texas's death row for nearly 35 years, died yesterday after collapsing in his cell.  In 1975, Chambers and a cohort abducted two college students from a Dallas nightclub and shot them.  Chambers and his accomplice turned back to the scene after hearing one of the victims cry out, and continued to beat and choke the victims.  One of the victims died.  Jurors sentenced Chambers to death in 1975, 1985, and 1992, but the sentences were all overturned, including most recently by the Fifth Circuit in 2007.

Supreme Court Recusals:  Adam Liprak of The New York Times has this piece on the mysterious recusal practice of the Supreme Court.  The topic is especially relevant this term, as the bench's newest member, Justice Kagen, has been absent for 10 of 25 arguments heard this term.  The grounds for Kagen's recusals are largely self-evident given her previous position as solicitor general.  But others are less clear, since the court uses stock language without accompanying reasons to indicate a justice's recusal.

Justice Breyer on Facebook:  AP writer Eric Schelzig reports on comments made today by Justice Breyer at Vanderbilt University regarding Facebook and the recent film "The Social Network."  Breyer stated that although he "couldn't even understand" the movie, the court should consider things like social networking sites when interpreting the Constitution.


Just a month ago, this blog criticized a blogger for taking comments out of context. But when it supports your position, you do the exact same.

I was at Justice Breyer's speech, and he said nothing of the sort. You've taken two of Justice Breyer's quotes -- quotes he made during two different points -- to corroborate your beliefs. You don't have to agree, but at least get it right.

Our News Scan feature summarizes articles of interest in the press. It is not intended to be original reporting on the underlying event, which we obviously did not attend. The article says, "But Breyer said the film illustrates his argument that modern conditions — like the development of the social-networking site — should inform justices when interpreting a Constitution written in the 18th century."

If that is not accurate, your beef is with the Associated Press, not this blog.

In addition, I don't see that this little item does anything to "corroborate [our] beliefs."

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