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SCOTUS Today and Next Week

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Today is conference day at the US Supreme Court.  The Court released a short orders list regarding amici curiae participating in argument next week.  (USSG yes, Michigan no.)  A longer orders list of the cases taken up and passed on will be issued Tuesday.  Wetzel v. Lambert, a capital case from Pennsylvania, is on the conference list for the eleventh time, which probably means a summary reversal opinion is being drafted, but the Court is having a hard time with it.  There are no other criminal or habeas cases for this conference on SCOTUSblog's Petitions to Watch list, although there are some civil rights cases on excessive force and publications in prison.  Update: Yesterday SCOTUSblog updated the list to include Warner v. Ocampo, a Washington case in which the State claims that our favorite circuit has once again exceeded the limits of AEDPA, this time on a Confrontation Clause issue.

The Cert Pool has the full conference list here.  There are 11 capital habeas cases where the inmate is the certiorari petitioner and the lower court is a federal court of appeals.  These are generally the cases where all the normal reviews have been completed and execution is a realistic possibility in the coming months.

Monday is a federal holiday, Washington's Birthday.  No, it is not "Presidents' Day."*

Tuesday, as noted above, the orders list will be released.  Opinions in cases decided summarily may be announced also.  Two civil cases are set for argument.

Wednesday, Washington's real birthday, features arguments in two criminal cases.  United States v. Alvarez is the Stolen Valor Act case.  CJLF's press release is here.  Our brief on behalf of the Legion of Valor as well as CJLF is here.

Also up Wednesday is Blueford v. Arkansas, dealing with the Double Jeopardy Clause, partial verdicts, and lesser-included offenses.

Opinions in argued cases may be issued Wednesday.  Martinez v. Ryan, on counsel in state habeas proceedings, is very ripe.  The Cooper and Frye cases on effective assistance and plea bargaining are also possibilities.
* Once upon a time, before the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Lincoln's Birthday (Feb. 12) and Washington's Birthday (Feb. 22) were federal holidays.  After that Act, the Washington's Birthday holiday is the third Monday in February, a date which falls between the 12th and 22d. 

Some people started referring to the holiday as Presidents' Day on the theory that it honored both Washington and Lincoln.  That wasn't too bad, even if not technically correct.

More recently, some people have been saying that this is a day to honor everyone who has held the office of president.  That is a strange notion.  Honor James Buchanan?  I will pass, thank you.

1 Comment

Warner v. Ocampo is very odd. As far as I can tell, the out-of-court evidence was admitted for a non-hearsay purpose. It arguably had some hearsay character as well. I thought, and it's been years, that where out-of-court statements had a non-hearsay purpose, then their hearsay character could be dealt with by a limiting instruction. In other words, there's no constitutional issue (putting aside evidence so prejudicial as to constitute a due process violation).

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