The Justice Building Blog has been doing an excellent job covering all of the election action, including Rod Vereen's decision to run against Kathy Fernandez-Rundle. Thank goodness that the public defender, Carlos Martinez, is unopposed. Carlos deserves it, and he is a good guy. It's incredible to me that we elect the public defender -- can you imagine a contested election. What would you run on? That you fight for indigent defendants more than the other guy. Not sure that would help...
The John Edwards trial is starting today, and opening statements are due in Clemens this morning. Two pretty wasteful prosecutions if you ask me.
George Will has a good op-ed about why juveniles should never be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole here:
In 1958, the court said: “The [Eighth] Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” Justice Antonin Scalia has warned: “A society that adopts a bill of rights is skeptical that ‘evolving standards of decency’ always ‘mark progress,’ and that societies always ‘mature,’ as opposed to rot.” But even the “originalist” Scalia, although disposed to construe the Constitution’s terms as they were understood when ratified, would today proscribe some late-18th-century punishments, such as public lashing and branding.
Denying juveniles even a chance for parole defeats the penal objective of rehabilitation. It deprives prisoners of the incentive to reform themselves. Some prisons withhold education, counseling and other rehabilitation programs from prisoners ineligible for parole. Denying these to adolescents in a period of life crucial to social and psychological growth stunts what the court in 2005 called the prisoner’s “potential to attain a mature understanding of his own humanity.” Which seems, in a word — actually, three words — “cruel and unusual.”
ATL covers the most influential lawyers (according to Time) here, and the Washington Post explains that lawyers are pretty careful in the Supreme Court when arguing legislative intent. That's all I have for now. Email me some tips!