• May 29, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    At the Constitution DailyLyle Denniston closely examines Senator Chuck Grassley's proposal to create an inspector general tasked with monitoring the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts.  

    In The New York TimesMichael D. Shear reports that President Obama's immigration policy will likely remain in limbo until 2017 as the Justice Department has declined to ask the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue. 

    Jess Bravin writes at the Law Blog of The Wall Street Journal about the role Hawaii could play in Evenwel v. Abbott, the "one-person, one-vote" case. 

    Leah Libresco of FiveThirtyEight considers that the lack of "robust statistics on the number of eligible voters" is potentially a major issue with the challengers case in Evenwel v. Abbotas relief would require an "overhaul of the nation's statistics and surveys." 
    At Bloomberg PoliticsSahil Kapur explains how the Republican plan for Affordable Care Act subsidies should the Supreme Court strike down the law will not prevent a "massive disruption."


  • May 28, 2015
    Guest Post

    by Tom Nolan, Associate Professor of Criminology, Merrimack College; 27-year veteran of Boston Police Department

    If there is one constant, predictable, and never-ending narrative that I’ve been hearing about policing since I began my career in law enforcement in 1978, it’s that “policing is not like it used to be”; “I’ve never seen it this bad”; “policing will never be the same”; “the bad guys are going to take over.”  According to The Baltimore Sun, “Lt. Victor Gearhart, a 33-year veteran who works in the Southern District, said residents with complaints about police 'are going to get the police force they want, and God help them.'" 

    Baltimore County State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s decision to charge six Baltimore police officers criminally in the death of Freddie Gray has resulted in an all too familiar trope: The cops are outraged at this obvious and insulting injustice and are now “fearful” and “dejected” — afraid to do their jobs, lest they too fall victim to the whim and capriciousness of prosecutorial discretion.  And “the bad guys are going to take advantage” of the consequences of Mosby’s decision: A work slowdown.  Please. 

    The high ranking Baltimore police officers quoted in The Baltimore Sun piece, “Violence surges as Baltimore police officers feel hesitant,” all of whom have decades of law enforcement experience, should clearly know better than to make such inflammatory, irresponsible, and incendiary remarks about police officers being afraid or reluctant to do their jobs out of a fear of being prosecuted.  I have had the privilege of working with thousands of police officers in my years in law enforcement and I have never met one who would fail to do what was needed in a situation requiring law enforcement intervention out of a fear of being criminally prosecuted for doing the right thing. It doesn’t happen in Boston, and it has not, does not, and will not happen in Baltimore.

  • May 28, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    In The New York TimesACS Board of Directors member Linda Greenhouse explains how presidential hopefuls have made Citizens United a litmus test when discussing potential Supreme Court nominees.  

    Also in The New York Times, Julie Bosman reports on the decision in Nebraska to abolish the death penalty with a veto override. 

    Deborah L. Rhode laments the lack of diversity in the legal profession, the least diverse profession in the United States, at The Washington Post.

    At SlateMark Joseph Stern writes that the Supreme Court will review a case in which prosecutors worked to remove all black jurors from a jury pool for a death penalty case.  

    Simon Maloy examines the Texas redistricting case Evenwel v. Abbott at Salon and argues that the Supreme Court's decision could allow the GOP to engineer elections in their favor. 

    At The AtlanticAlana Semuels takes a look at how Cincinnati both reformed its police department and reduced crime.

  • May 27, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    In The New York Times​Adam Liptak reports on the Supreme Court's decision to hear a Texas redistricting case, Evenwel v. Abbott, that considers the meaning of "one person, one vote."

    Michael Li and Eric Petry explain at the blog for the Brennan Center for Justice how this redistricting case could radically change how voting districts are drawn throughout the country. 

    Richard L. Hasen provides commentary on the case at Slate, arguing that conservatives are asking the Court to restrict states' rights in challenging the "one person, one vote" precedent. 

    At The New RepublicBrian Beutler writes about comments of former Republican Senator Olympia Snowe ​that suggest the conservative argument in King v. Burwellis based on lies.

    At PrawfsBlawg​Howard Wasserman explores why the Supreme Court has not provided a decision in Elonis v. United States

  • May 26, 2015
    Guest Post

    by M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., professor of law at Georgetown and author of The Hippocratic Myth.

    Credit the State of Utah for bringing back the firing squad.

    Two months ago, the state made the rifleman its method of killing when lethal drugs aren’t available. Health professionals and drug companies are saying “no” to participation in executions, and this spring, the trade association representing America’s pharmacists said it would “discourage” them from purveying their own lethal drug mixes on death row.

    So-called “compounding pharmacies” became death-row suppliers of last resort after Big Pharma got out of the execution business.  Not anymore, unless some pharmacists go rogue by defying their trade body.  Executioners around the country are now scrambling to secure drugs that kill, and they’re experimenting with unproven alternatives to the classic, three-drug fatal sequence.

    Death by chemistry emerged almost 40 years ago as a response to our contradictory expectations of capital punishment. As crime rates soared in the late seventies and early eighties, so did our retributive ire. America re-embraced the death penalty, ending a ten-year moratorium, when a Utah firing squad shot Gary Gilmore in January 1977.

    But we wanted to make the killing “humane.” Less than four months later, Oklahoma enacted the first lethal injection law, based on a protocol developed by a doctor. In the 1980s, as executions again became commonplace, the Oklahoma protocol became the prevailing method.

    Medical associations took stands against their members’ participation, but states readily found health professionals willing to flout Hippocratic prohibitions. Some corrections departments kept doctors’ names secret, paid them in cash, and otherwise hid their involvement. State-sanctioned medical killing on the down-low thus became routine.