September 22, 2010
Justice Elena Kagan's first significant vote is against a stay of Teresa Lewis's execution
As detailed in major stories from the AP and CNN and other major media sources, late yesterday the US Supreme Court refused to stay the scheduled execution of Teresa Lewis, the condemned woman sent to death row for her role in planning the killings of her husband and stepson in 2002. Lewis is now likely to be the first woman executed in the United States in five years, which is one of the reasons her story and likely execution is garnering lots of attention.
Missing in the coverage I have seen, however, is an interesting gender and new Justice angle on the Supreme Court's work late last night as evidenced by text of the SCOTUS order:
The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is denied. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied. Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor would grant the application for stay of execution.
I think it quite interesting and noteworthy that the two Justices who voted to stay Teresa Lewis's execution were both women AND that the newest female Justice, Elena Kagan, broke ranks with her more senior judicial colleagues by deciding against a stay for Teresa Lewis.
Though perhaps too much should not be read into this matter, I think there is a lot of "catnip" for SCOTUS watchers and also for would-be fans/foes of Justice Kagan. Those concerned (or hoping) that Justice Kagan will be a predictable vote for liberal positions should be pleased (or troubled) that she was not willing to vote for a stay here. But those hoping (or concerned) that Justice Kagan will be a shrewd junior justice who will build bridges/allies among more conservative Justices should be pleased (or troubled) that Justice Kagan seized an early opportunity to show that she will not always vote for death penalty stays.
A few recent related posts:
- Will Virginia go forward with first US execution of a woman in five years?
- Virginia's Governor denies clemency for female condemned murderer
- John Grisham finds mysterious Virginia's application of the death penalty
- Reviewing some of the rare women who end up on death row
September 22, 2010 at 04:20 PM | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Justice Elena Kagan's first significant vote is against a stay of Teresa Lewis's execution:
Interesting. But, last week Justice Sotomayor voted alone to grant Holly Wood a stay of execution, yet she wrote the opinion several months ago affirming his death sentence. Figure it out. Good luck
Posted by: DaveP | Sep 22, 2010 4:37:56 PM
IMO, there would be more to read into it if the vote were 5-4. In that situation, Kagan's vote would have mattered. (I believe she votes last as the most junior member?) In this 7-2 situation, she may have just decided that she didn't want to cast such a controversial first vote and yet have it not mean anything beyond symbolism. A form of "judicial capital" among her colleagues, so to speak. Of course, I'm just guessing. But given that her whole life she’s been attempting to withhold her personal views (let alone espouse controversial ones), this may have just been a strategic decision for her first vote.
Posted by: DEJ | Sep 22, 2010 6:37:07 PM
Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor have fairly consistently voted in favor of a stay of execution in Virginia cases that involve review of a first habeas petition. This is because Virginia, uniquely among the states, sets an expedited execution date in every case immediately after the federal court of appeals denies habeas relief on a first petition. As these Justices explained in Emmett v. Kelly, 552 U.S. 942 (2007) (statement respecting the denial of certiorari), and again in Muhammad v. Kelly, 130 S.Ct. 541 (2009) (statement respecting the denial of certiorari), Virginia's practice unfairly shortens the applicant's time to prepare a petition for certiorari, truncates the Court's deliberative process on a matter that requires its careful attention, and ignores the careful distinction Congress has drawn between first petitions and successive petitions. It is almost certainly Virginia's practice, rather than the gender of the Justices or their views about the death penalty, that prompted Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor to vote for a stay in Teresa Lewis' case.
Posted by: Michele Brace | Sep 22, 2010 6:43:12 PM
Kagan probably didn't see any issue that was cert worthy to stay the execution. Ginsburg always votes to block VA executions because the state sets the execution date after the 4th circuit's mandate instead of waiting for the cert petition to be denied.
Posted by: DaveP | Sep 22, 2010 6:44:40 PM
great post. I guess we were typing at the same time.
Posted by: DaveP | Sep 22, 2010 6:52:21 PM
OMG... Stay against the Teresa Lewis should be conceive fast
Posted by: Penegra | Sep 23, 2010 1:15:40 AM
"...she may have just decided that she didn't want to cast such a controversial first vote and yet have it not mean anything beyond symbolism."
It's about what I would have expected from one of Obama's don't-rock-the-boat nominees.
Posted by: John K | Sep 23, 2010 1:42:54 PM
That is really the funniest way to present such issues right over here. Its a great platform showing such impressive way to deliver any message. Hope that you will keep posting in the future too to let us know more. Keep sharing.
Posted by: Wells Branch Homes | Jul 19, 2011 4:54:56 AM
I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog, I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Posted by: good | Jul 29, 2011 12:00:36 PM
No doubt this is an excellent post I got a lot of knowledge after reading good luck. Theme of blog is excellent there is almost everything to read, Brilliant post
Posted by: luck | Jul 29, 2011 12:03:38 PM
This is definitely a topic that's close to me so Im happy that you wrote about it. I'm also happy that you did the subject some justice. Not only do you know a great deal about it, you know how to present in a way that people will want to read more. Im so happy to know someone like you exists on the web.
Posted by: billig a-kasse | Sep 21, 2011 7:45:43 PM
It was really exceptionally impressive. Updating an application requires a skeptical work and lot of patience, but with the help pf this post many of the users would be guided onto the proper way of updating a software.
Posted by: white kitchen cabinets | Sep 21, 2011 7:46:48 PM
Happy to see your blog as it is just what I’ve looking for and excited to read all the posts. this topic is very good,I am agree with this view
Posted by: Self Storage San Fernando Valley | Oct 15, 2011 4:00:50 PM
Thanks for sharing this useful information! Hope that you will continue with the kind of stuff you are doing.I’ve desired to post about something like this on a single of my blogs and this has given me a concept. I’ve really found out a great deal studying this page.
Posted by: Denver Attorneys | Feb 24, 2012 12:25:05 AM
Well that’s very Nice work! I would like to appreciate the great work done by the web master and would like to tell everyone that they should post their interesting comments and should make this blog interesting. Once again I would like to say keep it up to blog owner!!! i enjoyed to read this post
Posted by: Sports Clothing | May 24, 2012 6:33:07 PM
I dont even understand how I finished up here, but I thought this post was once good. I do not recognize who you are but certainly you are going to a well-known blogger for those who are not already. Cheers!
Posted by: plagiarismsoftware | Jan 11, 2013 12:59:38 AM
Thank you and looking for more posts. I am really satisfied with this posting that you have given us. This is really a stupendous work done by you.
Posted by: Usha Rajagopal | Mar 21, 2013 7:13:12 AM