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July 1, 2012

Seeking commentary/guest-posts on the SCOTUS sentencing Term that was

This blog has already benefitted greatly from some terrific guest-posts about major rulings by the Supreme Court this past Term (examples here on Lafler/Frye and here on Miller), and I am very eager to bring  more voices into the mix throughout the summer.  I hope interested folks will consider sending me cut-and-paste-ready commentary not only on the big sentencing cases decided in the last few weeks (Dorsey, Miller and Southern Union), but also on any other big cases that could have surprising criminal justice implications and/or on trends one might identify as all four of the newer Justices on the Roberts Court are continuing to define their jurisprudential path.

For those inclined to take a look at the whole SCOTUS Term than just was, here is Adam Liptak's summary review from the New York Times, which is headlined "In Supreme Court Term, Striking Unity on Major Cases."  The piece includes these notable passages about a key swing Justice and the setting in which he swings the most:

What was striking this year was that Justice Kennedy, a moderate conservative, swung right and left an equal number of times. Since 2000, there have been only two terms in which Justice Kennedy did not vote with the conservatives at least 60 percent of the time in such ideologically divided cases.

Several of the cases in which Justice Kennedy joined the liberal bloc involved the rights of people accused and convicted of crimes. This year, the court turned its attention away from criminal trials, which are vanishingly rare, and toward the real world of criminal justice, in which plea bargains are the norm and harsh sentences commonplace.

“What the court really was doing this term was bringing the Constitution to previous blind spots in the criminal justice system,” said Jeffrey L. Fisher, a Stanford law professor who argues frequently before the Supreme Court.

In a 5-to-4 decision concerning sentences of life without parole for juvenile offenders, Justice Kennedy entrusted the majority opinion to Justice Kagan, highlighting a notable alliance.  Over all, the two voted together 83 percent of the time.

July 1, 2012 at 03:57 AM | Permalink


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Lawyer rent seeking trumps all ideology, personal preference, or even the life of the lawyer itself. It predicts appellate decisions with an 80% accuracy. If there is a theory that appellate judges are biased in favor of the government, it is a subset of the rent seeking theory, since the government is basically 99% run by lawyers.

Here is how it works.

Will homosexual marriage increase or decrease lawyer employment? It will obviously resuscitate family law, now moribund because only a suicidal, idiotic, drunken productive het male would ever get married today. So they need the business. Each homosexual marriage will require the services of three lawyers, one lawyer to represent each party, and a lawyer to sit between them.

The conservative Supreme Court will support homosexual marriage.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 1, 2012 1:41:58 PM

Has anyone ever caught Justice Kennedy testifying before Congress to increase the Supreme Court allocation and salaries? What a toadie and weasel. He makes my flesh crawl by his greasy smarminess.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 1, 2012 6:39:05 PM

"Justice Kennedy entrusted the majority opinion to Justice Kagan, highlighting a notable alliance. Over all, the two voted together 83 percent of the time."

Thank you Obama?

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 1, 2012 8:44:36 PM


The people of Washington are bearing the consequences of the Supreme Court's wrongdoing.

It is God's dissenting opinion.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 1, 2012 9:46:30 PM

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