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JLWOP Murder Cases Apparently Relisted Again

The two cases challenging life-without-parole sentences for juvenile murderers, previously noted here, will apparently be relisted yet again.  They were on the conference list for last Friday but conspicuously absent from Monday's orders list, meaning no action was taken.  The two cases have been considered by the US Supreme Court in four conferences now, beginning last May.

What's going on here?  Often when a case is relisted multiple times, a summary reversal is in the offing.  The Court has decided to reverse the lower court without taking merits briefing or holding oral argument, and the multiple conferences are needed to approve the per curiam opinion ("by the Court," with no Justice identified as the individual author).

But that cannot be happening here.  Summary reversals are for cases where the lower court is clearly wrong based on established law.  (Ninth and Sixth Circuit habeas cases evading Congress's mandates in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act are particularly fertile sources of summary reversals.)  In these cases, though, the relevant Supreme Court precedents are Roper v. Simmons, expressly limited to capital punishment, and Graham v. Florida, expressly limited to nonhomicides.  By no stretch of the imagination could the state court decisions be said to be clearly wrong on established law.

The question before the Court is a simple yes or no.  Take the cases up or leave the judgments undisturbed.  Why does that require five conferences?  Stayed tuned.

Update:  A possible reason for the multiple relists (suggested by Cully Stimson at Heritage Foundation) is that there is an opinion dissenting from denial of certiorari (or possible "respecting" denial), joined by more than one Justice, and they are working out the language.  Checking the cases from last term where certiorari was denied with a dissenting or "respecting" opinion, I see that multiple relists were common in these cases, so this is a good hypothesis.

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