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July 11, 2005

Will O'Connor's replacement shift capital jurisprudence?

In recent posts, I have spotlighted the impact of the Supreme Court's heightened scrutiny in capital cases lately, and I have also discussed Justice O'Connor's capital sentencing legacy.  Today, over at the SCONo blog in this recent post, Tom Goldstein covers related ground in noting that SCOTUS "has before it for next Term four cases involving capital sentencing that the Court could use to turn in the direction of still greater deference to the states' administration of the death penalty."  Especially in light of some of the interesting capital sentencing histories of "short-listers" like Alberto Gonzales and Edith Jones, it will be interesting to see if capital sentencing jurisprudence might become a significant part of the public debate after President Bush nominates a replacement for Justice O'Connor. 

(Of course, as I have suggested before here and here, I think the biggest sentencing story in the wake of Justice O'Connor's retirement concerns the fate and future of the Almendarez-Torres "prior conviction exception" and the Harris "mandatory minimum" exception to the Apprendi-Blakely rule.  But I seriously doubt this jurisprudence will become a central part of the public dialogue in the way capital sentencing could.)

July 11, 2005 at 05:32 PM | Permalink


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