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Should the Justices Have Said Something in Davis?

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In this NYT op-ed, Dahlia Lithwich and Lisa McElroy are all upset that the US Supreme Court just issued a simple denial in the Troy Davis case, with no explanation.  Unexplained denials are, of course, standard operating procedure at the discretionary review stage, not just at SCOTUS but also in most state high courts.

As for an opinion of the Court, I do not believe I have ever seen an opinion explaining the reasons for a denial.  Individual justices sometimes write opinions explaining their votes for or against taking a case up.  These can be found on the Court's website in the Opinions Relating to Orders section.

Should one or more of the Justices have made a statement in this case?  What should they have said?  Something like this maybe:

The level of concern that Davis might be innocent was sufficient for us to take the extraordinary step of transferring last year's original habeas petition to the District Court for hearing.  Judge Moore conducted a thorough hearing, wrote a detailed decision, and found that Davis's claims are "smoke and mirrors."  Upon review of the record, I believe that assessment is not only supported by the record but is clearly correct.  There is no reason for further delay in the execution of this judgment.

Would that make Mss. Lithwick and McElroy feel better?  Somehow I doubt it.

[BTW, what is the plural of Ms.?  I just guessed.]

3 Comments

I think it might be "Mses." Maybe.

What really nauseates me is how the authors complain, in essence, that the Court wasn't saying something therapeutic. I'm not familiar with Elroy, so I can't say anything about her prior work, but having forced myself to read a good deal of Lithwick's garbage, I have always found her writing to be based on the premise that law is the Forest of Feelings, and that courts should act as Care Bears, empowered to just magic away all social ills with sentiment. To call her a demagogue would be an insult to demagogues.

What, pray tell, was the Supreme Court supposed to do with a petition that asked the Court to grant the stay to protect its jurisdiction and that the petitioners would file a full brief "shortly."

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