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December 4, 2007

SCOTUS talks about OJ and ponders the impact of race

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog has this post and Mark Sherman for the AP has this story discussing oral argument today in Snyder v. Louisiana, 06-10119. Lyle's post is titled "Trial judges on trial?" and it starts this way:

The case of Snyder v. Louisiana (06-10119) may live in history as a case about using O.J. Simpson’s legal troubles as a way to “play the race card” before an all-white jury trying a black man. The Supreme Court, in a hearing on Tuesday, showed some fascination with that part of the case. But the decision that ultimately emerges from the Court may also bring a call for trial judges to take a more active role in monitoring the race factor in criminal trials. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, in fact, implied that there may be a price to pay if judges do not take the hint: they won’t get the usual respect and deference, in appeals, for their conduct of trials.

The oral argument transcript is available at this link.

December 4, 2007 at 06:15 PM | Permalink


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My favorite part of the argument:

"JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, that's not just racially polarizing. I mean maybe it is that, but it [the O.J. Simpson case] is also a case in which a man killed his wife with a knife."

Is it only me or is it a bit disconcerting that a Supreme Court Justice does not understand the legal meaning of an acquittal. O.J. should sue him, much like Scalia proposed as the remedy for having a prosecutor use a defendant's race as a basis for sentencing him to death:

"So he [the prosecutor] broke his promise [not to use the defendant's race against him]. I mean sue him or something, but I don't see how it has anything to do with whether a fair jury was -- was --"

Scary. Do they just hand these robes out to anybody these days?

Posted by: DK | Dec 5, 2007 10:40:26 PM

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