Archive for the 'Constitutional Law' Category



The Supreme Court released a Per Curiam opinion in Spears v. US clarifying its position on the crack/cocaine ratio that it took last year in Kimbrough v. US (2007). The Court ruled that district courts may “categorically disagree” with the advisory 100:1 crack/power cocaine ratio and may choose at will to implement a new standard [...]

[UPDATE]: On February 25, 2009, I filed a brief as amicus curiae in this case. You can find it here. Last week, the court granted review in Ricci v. DeStefano. In 2003, the city of New Haven attempted to promote a number of firefighters to the ranks of captain and lieutenant based on a number [...]

Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court held in Herring v. United States that non-systematic negligence by police officers fall within the scope of the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule. I wrote about the case after oral arguments here. The decision of the conservative majority to significantly expand the scope of the good-faith exception to [...]

The Supreme Court released opinions in Herring v. US (opinion) and Oregon v. Ice (opinion). In Herring, the Court ruled, 5-4, that isolated incidents of negligence are enough to trigger the exclusionary rule and, perhaps more importantly, ‘unreasonableness’ does not necessary trigger the exclusion of evidence. Chief Justice Roberts authored the majority opinion and was [...]

The Court ruled this morning in Chambers v. US. (opinion) that failure to report for weekend confinement falls outside the scope of ‘violent felony’ as defined by the Armed Career Criminals Act (ACCA) [18 U.S.C §924(e)]. The ACCA requires a minimum 15-year sentence for individuals convicted of “three previous convictions . . . for a [...]

The Supreme Court today issued opinions today in Chambers v. US (here) and Jimenez v. Quarterman (here.) Chambers centers around whether or not refusing to report to prison constitutes a ‘violent felony,’ triggering longer sentencing guidelines. Justice Breyer wrote the unanimous opinion that was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Stevens, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, [...]

The Supreme Court granted review today in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Michael Mukasey, a case revolving around whether or not there is still sufficient justification to force municipalities to have their districts pre-approved by Congress. §5 of the Voting Rights Act, now 42 U.S.C 1973(c), forces certain ‘covered jurisdictions’ to have [...]

The Court today accepted four new cases including a potentially landmark voting rights case. The cases will almost certainly be heard in April and you can see the orders list here. The court put each of the cases on a expedited brief schedule in order to fit the cases on to the April session from [...]

Howard Friedman reports on his blog, Religion Clause, that a cert. petition has been filed in Oliver v. Quarterman, a case revolving around whether or not a juror’s use of the bible constitutes grounds for a mistrial. Khristian Oliver claims that a juror member’s reading of the bible during a case represents an ‘external influence,’ [...]

Most terms of the Supreme Court go by without much publicity. The court usually hands down only one or two cases notable to make the front page of the times and another case or two worthy of the business section. In some terms, however, the Court accepts more than its usual load of high-profile cases [...]



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