I popped a bottle of champagne today in honor of the opening of the Supreme Court's October Term 2007. After a year of Prof. Choper's SCOTUS seminar, I've gained a whole new appreciation and insight into the Court, especially the philosophical underpinnings of the justices. Anywho, Kennedy is the only one that matters. So here are some predictions on the high profile cases.
* Boumediene v. Bush
(06-1196) and Al Odah v. U.S.
(06-1197). Issue: Constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. I have a feeling Kennedy is pissed off about the procedures used. He wrote that Common Article III applies to GTMO inmates. He'll decide what Common Article III now requires. Prediction: MCA struck down unless Congress revises, then DIGed.
*Baze v. Rees
(07-5439) Issue: Constitutionality of lethal injection cocktail. Prediction: There are four solid votes to uphold the procedure in JGR, AS, CT, and SAA. There are 3 solid votes to strike it down, with Breyer being a "pragmatist." Again, AMK will decide. He has not been as opposed to the DP as SOC was. She would regularly vote with the four liberal justices. But in the last few years there have been some 6-3 decisions. See, e.g.
, Miller-El (ripping the 5th Circuit and the Texas Courts). I'm hoping his attitude is the same towards Kentucky.
* Child rape death penalty. Issue: Can the death penalty be imposed for raping a child? Prediction: Easy 5-4, maybe even 6-3 with Alito.
* Ex parte Medellin. Issue: Can the federal government do anything to force southern states not to f*ck up immigrants' treaty rights? If you recall, Medellin was before the Court a few years ago when it was DIGed because President Bush ordered Texas to comply with the treaty. Texas
failed to accede to the President's demand. And here we are again. Prediction: Texas smack down, round 11ty billion. But expect VERY STRONG dissents. However, Kennedy thinks international opinions should be consulted. The ICJ has ruled on this issue, and at the time, we were bound by that decision. See this post
by some lame 1L.
Voter ID Case. Issue: Is it constitutional for states to require photo IDs for voting? Prediction: Thomas may not uphold the law. He's not too keen on gerrymandering cases, but this isn't one man, one vote. This is access to the ballot. Given his childhood, I'm handicapping a 20% chance that he finds it unconstitutional. Kennedy will uphold.
*Crack vs. Cocaine. Issue: Is it constitutional for the "advisory" sentencing guidelines to have a 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, when the majority of crack convictions are against African Americans and majority of powder against Whites? Thomas will vote to get rid of disparate sentencing, not on some race-based theory but on a Blakely/Apprendi
approach. He doesn't like sentencing guidelines and will probably vote with Scalia, Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg to find it completely reasonable to give the same sentence for possession of crack or powder.
*DC gun ban. Issue: 2nd Amendment, discuss. There's a circuit split on the meaning of the 2A. Will they grant cert to resolve the split? I honestly don't think so. The absolutely LAST thing this Court wants to do is to politicize another issue before it. They'll let the circuit split fester. Frankly, it's probably for the better. We on the west coast don't care for guns. In DC, they can have all the arms in the world.
If I'm missing case names and docket nos. please kindly add them in the comments if you have them handy. Also, be sure to check this cite
for updates on the cert petitions and merits briefs. Of course, the SCOTUSblog
should be a daily read until at least June 30.