Justices Search For Middle Ground In CA Union-Access Case | SCOTUS Takes Up Boston Marathon Bomber’s Death Penalty Case
March 23, 2021
WHY DON'T YOU JUST MEET ME IN THE MIDDLE|
Yesterday justices heard arguments over a California law that lets labor representatives access growers’ property to meet with farmworkers. Justices appeared ready to limit union organizers’ access to private property, though they didn’t seem ready to go as far as the growers in the case and conservative property rights activists are advocating for. Several justices expressed concern that ruling the state regulation amounted to a government taking of property could endanger all kinds of laws authorizing entry onto private property, such as government safety inspections and visits from social service workers.
The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to review a lower court’s opinion that overturned the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who helped carry out the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld Tsarnaev’s 27 convictions but said that his death sentence should be thrown out due to jury selection issues and a failure to properly screen jurors for bias. SCOTUS will likely hear the case later this year.
THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE|
Lawrence Hurley, Andrew Chung and Jonathan Allen with Reuters review the Supreme Court’s recent and growing practice of relying on its “shadow docket” to make decisions without providing signed opinions or explanations. They note that just before PRESIDENT TRUMP left office, SCOTUS paved the way for the lethal injection of 13 federal inmates — actions that were taken in many instances by way of the shadow docket. The Reuters team writes, “Increasingly, the court relies on the shadow docket to make decisions in a wide range of consequential cases, often in a dramatically accelerated fashion and without providing signed opinions or detailed explanations. Sometimes, as in death penalty cases, the decisions are irreversible. Cases on the docket can be effectively resolved even as lower courts are continuing to assess them – sometimes even before all the evidence is known. Decisions can come in the middle of the night, with no public discussion and no guidance to lower-court judges on how to analyze similar cases. The speed and secretiveness has drawn criticism from legal experts both on the right and left, who call it an improper use of the court’s tremendous power.”
SHORTLISTED IN THE SHADOWS|
Renee Knake Jefferson and Hannah Brenner Johnson write in The Hill about the untold history of the women who found themselves on official presidential Supreme Court shortlists before JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR became the first woman to sit on the high court. “All were imminently qualified for the job, having knocked down barriers and blazed trails to achieve extraordinary success in their legal careers before being named as contenders for the Court. They should be household names, and some were in their time, though none graces a page of any standard K-12 history text or even most law school curricula. We introduce them to you now in the hope you will be inspired to learn more about the women who shaped this nation.” Read about all nine women and their encounters with Supreme Court history.
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away Facebook’s bid to pare back a $15 billion class action lawsuit accusing the company of illegally tracking the activities of internet users even when they are logged out of the social media platform. The justices declined to hear Facebook’s appeal of a lower court ruling that revived the proposed nationwide litigation accusing the company of violating a federal law called the Wiretap Act by secretly tracking the visits of users to websites that use Facebook features such as the ‘like’ button. The litigation also accuses the company of violating the privacy rights of its users under California law but Facebook’s appeal to the Supreme Court involved only the Wiretap Act.”The Hill
“The Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to former President Obama’s designation of a national monument 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a statement issued Monday that ‘despite concerns’ about the designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, the lawsuit does not ‘satisfy our usual criteria’ for reviewing cases. Specifically, he cited a lower court’s finding that the fishing groups opposed to the monument designation did not present sufficient facts to show that it exceeded a requirement that the president designate the ‘smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.'”