The rantings of a Public Defender constantly fighting against society's pervasive Police Industrial Complex. Enjoy the unique perspective of one whose life's work is to fight the system through the system.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Supreme Court Day

It seems like the end of June always produces some bombshell Supreme Court decisions. This year was no exception, with huge rulings on Miranda (alright, maybe not huge, but a strong reaffirmation), and perhaps the most important series of rulings on the scope of government power in history, with the Court taking up the unlawful combatants and Guantanamo detainee issues.

It is gratifying to me when I see that 8 justices support the notion of judicial review over the executive branch. The fact that Clarence Thomas doesn't support this review doesn't surprise me, I'm quite sure he's still steamed at Marbury v. Madison and the ability of the judiciary to overturn an act of government (he probably loves Andrew Jackson's view of the Court and the subsequent Trail of Tears though). I thought, interestingly enough, that Scalia got it pretty good when he commented that, absent some legislation from Congress, the president really has no choice but to try Yasser Hamdi for treason, or let him go.

Just the other day, another great opinion on the ability of judges to increase sentences without a specific finding by the jury. Another great opinion by Scalia! Who would've thought the Constitution would create such strange bedfellows. On the otherhand, Scalia has had it right several times before (Texas v. Johnson, the flag burning case?).

All in all, this is a week that will leave any constitutional scholar in a tizzy. Rather than listening to my blathers, I'd suggest going to sites such as Volokh Conspiracy or Legal Theory Blog, or others listed at the end of my list of links.

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