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SCOTUS Takes DNA, Ex Post Facto Cases

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The US Supreme Court announced today it has taken up four cases for full briefing and argument, two of them criminal.  Maryland v. King, 12-207, involves collecting DNA from arrestees not yet convicted for burglary or violent crimes.  Prior posts here and here.  The second case, Peugh v. United States, 12-62, has to do with retroactive application of changes to federal sentencing guidelines.

The big news, though, is a civil case, Shelby County v. Holder, 12-96.  Under the Voting Rights Act, people in some places in the United States (e.g., San Benito County, California) can make changes in their local government without prior approval of anyone, while others (e.g., Monterey County, California, right next door) have to go beg Washington for permission.  The difference is not based on anything they have done, but rather on what the people living on that turf 50 years ago did.  Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog says the case is "a challenge to Congress's power to protect [minority] groups' rights at the polls," as if this bizarre form of geographic discrimination were actually necessary.

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Thank you folks very much for all your efforts.

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