Tuesday, October 04, 2011

En banc day

The 11th Circuit has decided to hear the Fair Sentencing Act cases (Rojas and Hudson) en banc. The Federal Public Defender's office represents both defendants. The two en banc orders are here and here.

Rojas was the case that was on the 11th Circuit webpage and then off and then on again. Should be interesting...

In other news:

-- Justice Stevens has a new book out, Five Chiefs, that looks really interesting.

-- Kenneth Starr says open up the Supreme Court to cameras. He's 100% right. Why not:

The benefits of increased access and transparency are many. Democracy’s first principles strongly support the people’s right to know how their government works. This would seem to be underscored by this court’s stubborn insistence on freedom of communication in a democratic society. Recall that earlier this year, the court held that the First Amendment protected the right of protesters to hector a military family during a funeral service for their son, who was killed in Iraq. And the court decided that the same societal interest in free speech outweighed California’s interest in protecting minors from extremely violent video games. These are but two of many examples in which the current court has made plain its view that, in extreme cases, the force of First Amendment rights shall outweigh all else.

Year after year, the court issues decisions that profoundly affect the nation. Think of civics classes. The retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is one of many who have lately lamented the apparent collapse of civic literacy in public schools. Think of older Americans affected by President Obama’s health care program. Think of women or other groups affected by important class-action cases, like the Wal-Mart discrimination case last term. These citizens should have a chance to hear what the justices think about important questions that touch their lives.

The issue of cameras in the courtroom is one of precious few on which conservative Republicans, like Senator John Cornyn of Texas, and liberal Democrats, like Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, agree.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is amateurish. The workof the court is in the opinions not oral argument. Nor is argument material to the democratic process despite the professors musings.