Sunday, June 26, 2016

Supreme Court to end Term on a whimper (UPDATED)

It's partly because there's only 8 Justices (see, e.g., the immigration case).  It's partly because the Court didn't have as many cases as usual (and even that's been very low in recent years).  And it's partly because the Court just didn't have the blockbuster Term it's had in the past.

There are 3 cases left.  Mark Sherman from the AP has this:
- Abortion: Texas abortion clinics are challenging a state law and regulations that already have cut the number of abortion providers in half, to roughly 20. Fewer than 10 would remain if the 2013 law were allowed to take full effect. One positive sign for the clinics is that only Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, who generally side with abortion rights advocates, have yet to write opinions from the session in late February and early March when the case was argued. Each justice typically writes at least one majority opinion from each argument session.
- Public corruption: The justices seemed likely to side with McDonnell, who is challenging his conviction for accepting gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement. A ruling for McDonnell could make it harder to prosecute public officials.
- Guns: Two men from Maine are challenging their convictions for possessing guns under a federal law that is intended to keep guns out of the hands of people who have previously been convicted of domestic violence.

UPDATE -- I'll leave the abortion and gun decisions for someone else to write about.  For this Blog's readers, check out the McDonnell opinion.  A unanimous Court vacated the convictions because the government, district court, and appellate court read the statutes at issue way too broadly and didn't give defense requested jury instructions.  It's worth noting that the appellate court did not even grant McDonnell a bond pending the cert proceedings and the Supreme Court had to step in.  I think this is a good reminder from SCOTUS that district judges and appellate judges need to really step up their role as a check on the government.  There should be more dismissals granted (the government can always appeal), more defense instructions given, and more bonds granted (no one suffers any harm here if there is a bond, but if not, the case may become meaningless because the defendant will have served his sentence).  It's so much harder to get the Supreme Court to review a conviction (as was done here, perhaps because the defendant was the Governor) than the other way around. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Guns, Affirmative action, abortion, a politically motivated criminal prosecution. A whimper? What were you expecting?