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April 11, 2007

Who is working on the Sixth Amendment part of the SCOTUS playbook?

Joan Biskupic had this entertaining article in yesterday's USA Today entitied "Roberts, Scalia strike similar chords on court; With a bond over style, substance and showmanship, conservative justices change tone of the bench."  Here are some notable snippets:

They sit side by side on the Supreme Court's mahogany bench, and much of the time they seem to be working from the same playbook.  Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia share conservative views on the law, and in Roberts' second term on the court he appears to have formed a bond with Scalia that involves not just substance, but also style....

Roberts and Scalia are particularly in tune when questioning lawyers in criminal law cases.  They are aggressively skeptical of appeals by death row inmates and usually support law enforcement over defendants.  During one court session this year, Roberts and Scalia were in lock step while scrutinizing claims by a lawyer for a death row prisoner who wanted a new hearing on the grounds that his initial lawyer was ineffective. Roberts and Scalia asked nearly 20 questions before any other justice got a word in.

As I highlighted (here and here and here) during all the recent SCOTUS transitions, it could be very consequential for the Supreme Court's Sixth Amendment jurisprudence if either of the two new Justices end up looking at Blakely issues in sync with Justice Scalia (or Justice Thomas).  Especially after Chief Justice Roberts' decision in Cunningham to join the Blakely five (discussed here), and with potentially significant cases like James and Claiborne and Rita pending, I am eagerly waiting to see if CJ Roberts and Justice Scalia will continue to run formations from the same Sixth Amendment part of the SCOTUS playbook.

April 11, 2007 at 11:38 AM | Permalink


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Is this woman related to the US Attorney that prosecuted Georgia Thompson? Must be one massive right-winged conspiracy...

Posted by: LonesomeClerk | Apr 11, 2007 3:01:41 PM

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