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Today's Orders

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A couple of notable cases among the certiorari petitions granted and denied:

In Buck v. Thaler, defendant claimed a constitutional violation based on comments about race by an expert witness.  One small problem, as pointed out by Justice Alito joined by Justices Scalia and, notably, Breyer:

Dr. Quijano's testimony would provide a basis for reversal of petitioner's sentence if the prosecution were responsible for presenting that testimony to the jury. But Dr. Quijano was a defense witness, and it was petitioner's attorney, not the prosecutor, who first elicited Dr. Quijano's view regarding the correlation between race and future dangerousness.

The court took up the juvenile LWOP cases, previously noted here.  A simple grant after so many relists is unusual, but it does happen.

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One thing that is truly remarkable about Sotomayor's opinion (other than the assertion that the AG was misleading the District Court) is that she seems to think that because other capital defendants got relief somehow that entitled Buck to relief, even though there's a distinction between the factual circumstances. And even if you don't buy the obvious distinction, isn't Texas free to attempt to hold onto its judgment?

It is perhaps understandable that Sotomayor wants to take a strong stand against Quijano's silly "evidence." But what about AEDPA? What about the state's obvious right to reconsider how it views these cases based on a perfectly rational distinction? It's not the Supreme Court's function to ask why Texas decided (arguably) to do an about face.

Sotomayor would have been better served to simply state that the Supreme Court should not tolerate this, no matter what the rules are. At least that would be honest.

But gender would be okay in this type of situation, right?

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