Key High Court Criminal Rulings May Not Be “Conservative”


It’s the first Monday in October. The Supreme Court term that starts today will “continue to measure just how far to the right the Roberts Court is heading on the eve of a presidential election,” says Legal Times. One key court-watcher predicts that simply because of the different lineup of cases by next June it will be conservatives, not liberals, who will be angry at the Supreme Court. “The take-away from this term will be much less conservative,” says Supreme Court specialist Thomas Goldstein of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Litmus test cases coming up include a test of whether Congress can remove federal court jurisdiction over habeas petitions filed by Guantánamo Bay detainees, a challenge to the so-called PROTECT Act, which makes it a crime to distribute anything “purported to depict” illegal child pornography, a challenge to the chemical combination used in lethal injections as an Eighth Amendment violation because it allegedly causes excruciating pain before death., and an exclusionary rule case from Virginia. Next week, Solicitor General Paul Clement will argue on the side of rapist and murderer José Medellin, a Mexican national. On the other side will be the solicitor general of Texas. In a surprise move in 2005, Bush directed Texas courts to abide by a ruling of the International Court of Justice and review the cases of 51 Mexican nationals. The international court had ruled that the U.S. improperly failed to inform the Mexicans of their right under a treaty to contact their embassy upon arrest.


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