Gavel Grab

Blog Archives

JAS Daily Blog Monitor 12/12/07

Commentary: Gall and Kimbrough From Three Perspectives – SCOTUSblog
More commentary on the Gall and Kimbrough decisions.

U.S. Sentencing Commission Makes Its Crack Guidelines Retroactive – ACS Blog
Commentary on the USSC’s decision to make the crack guidelines retroactive.

Why a Democratic President is Vital for ‘08: The Courts – Levellers Blog
Bloggers commentary on why it is important to have a democratic president in office to preserve.
*Please note that this viewpoint is not supported by the Justice at Stake campaign.

Setting Judges Free – Norm Pattis
Bloggers entry on the freedom the Supreme Court’s decision in Gall and Kimbrough have now given judges in criminal federal sentencing.

Judge of the Day: John Wulle (aka ‘Straight White Guy’) – Above the Law Blog
Post about a judge’s censure over offensive comments.

Whither the Rule of Law? – Black Prof
A discussion on the future course for the US in wake of the CIA interrogation proceedings.

Federal Judges’ Salaries On Congress’s Docket – Law Blog by the Wall Street Journal
Federal Judicial raises are now on the congresses docket.

December 2007 – Is That Testimonial? – Say What?
Blog entry highlighting court humor.

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Just Another Guantanamo Hearing With No Justice in Sight

It’s pretty much a given that at every Congressional Guantanamo hearing, certain words, phrases and claims will be used to describe the situation: the detainees are enjoying an unprecedented amount of rights, the CSRT process is a sufficient replacement for habeas corpus, the detainees have more rights than the Geneva Convention provides, we can’t close Guantanamo because we have no where to put these killers, and no hearing would be complete without someone calling everyone at Guantanamo “the worst of the worst”. And often, this means that the real question of serving justice is sidestepped. Bad or misrepresented information, vague and sweeping comments, and scare tactics are tainting the arguments and shifting the debate away from the important question of what is the best method for simultaneously securing the U.S. and justice.

In Ranking Member Kyl’s opening remarks today, he stated that 30 of the released detainees have headed back to the battlefield to fight against the U.S. and that this puts our troops and our country at great risk. He also said that if we grant habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees, we will have to also grant it to detainees in Iraq, given that the U.S. military has just as much control over Guantanamo as we have over Iraqi bases.

Lets take a look at these two common statements.

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JAS Daily News Monitor 12/10/07

Supreme Court to Review Courts’ Wartime Reach – The New York Times
The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear Munaf v. Geren and Secretary of the Army v. Omar, both examining the U.S. federal courts role in preventing military officers from turing over U.S. citizens to Iraqi officials.

Republican lawmaker cries foul as Supreme Court drafts a redistricting plan – The Wisconsin State Journal
As Wisconsin considers rewriting legislative voting districts, conflicts arise between the state Supreme Court, the Republican-led Assembly and the Democratic-led Senate.

Is just one race out of 37 doing justice? – The O.C. Register
Approximately one third of Orange County’s judicial seats are up for election in 2008 but only one is being considered a real race.

Judge Wulle censured by commission – The Columbian
Washington state’s Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle was censured Friday for “demeaning, offensive and shocking” behavior at a training conference last year.

Ariz. Immigration Law Challenge Tossed – The Associated Press
U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake throws out a lawsuit seeking to stop a new immigration law from going into effect on January 1.

Illinois Supreme Court to post oral arguments on Web – The Associated Press
The Illinois Supreme Court announces they plan to broadcast oral arguments on their website starting next month.

Click here for more news on fair and impartial courts issues from the Brennan Center for Justice E-lerts.

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A Whole New Meaning to Access to Justice

Attorney Ari Kaplan writes in the ABA Journal about what it takes to get into court – the Supreme Court, that is, when snow is falling and the Court’s about to hear arguments in one of the biggest cases of the year.

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JAS Daily News Monitor 12/6/07

Supreme Court Reconsiders Pivotal Louisiana Case on Racial Selection of Juries – The New York Times
The United States Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Snyder v. Louisiana, Allen Snyder’s final appeal for his claim that the jury selection in his death penalty trial was racially biased.

Justices Leery of Bush’s Guantanamo Stance – The Wall Street Journal
The United States Supreme Court hears Boumediene v. Bush. As with many recent cases, Justice Kennedy may hold the deciding vote.

Gitmo Goes to Court: The judiciary has no business managing how we fight wars abroad – The Wall Street Journal Editorial
In this article, David Rivkin and Lee Casey, who both served in the DOJ under Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr., argue that if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to grant Guantanamo Bay detainees habeas rights, they would be expanding judicial power to an unprecedented level and dismissing the CSRT process as an acceptable habeas substitute.

State Supreme Court: A plus for fairness – The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board
Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire recently appointed Justice Debra Stephens, a judge representing Eastern Washington, to the State Supreme Court.

Elections still better way to choose judges – The Decatur Daily
This editorial argues that while judicial elections have their setbacks, ultimately campaign contribution transparency is a better solution and keeps the judges accountable to the voters.

Click here for more news on fair and impartial courts issues from the Brennan Center for Justice E-lerts.

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JAS Daily News Monitor 12/5/07

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Guest Blogger Dahlia Lithwick: Can the Court Save the Courts?


To help launch Justice at Stake’s new blog, Slate.com Senior Editor Dahlia Lithwick graciously agreed to write our inaugural post:

Today’s the day – because you have been nice– that you will be allowed to listen in, almost contemporaneously, on oral argument at the Supreme Court in Boumediene and Rasul – the two big cases out of Guantanamo Bay.

Do it. Do it because it’s tragic that you only get to hear your nations highest court once a year and do it because you’re going to want to tell your great grandkids about what happened to the rule of law in America back in the day . . .

There is a lot that is noteworthy in the Guantanamo cases but let me focus on just one tiny thing, in lieu of crashing a champagne bottle against Justice at Stake’s new blog this morning: You are going to hear, a LOT, today that the detainees who have been languishing at the prison camp for six years have had tons of “due process” and appeared before myriad “judges” in vast – indeed in unprecedented — numbers of “trials.”

This due process involves secret evidence and torture testimony. These judges are military judges, handpicked to deliver convictions. And the trials? Right. Well six years and millions of dollars into the process we’ve yet to actually have a trial. The notion that the camp at Gitmo is humming away processing prisoner appeals in some kind of legal system is a monstrous lie. The camp at Gitmo is warehousing prisoners until they die or we forget about them.

When you strip real prisoners of their real rights to appear before real judges who are beholden to nobody, then substitute McCommissions that deny them the most basic procedural protections; when those commissions in fact operate under “scripts” wherein everyone is meant to read the lines the army assigns them . . . well. Those are not trials and that is not due process. Even when you use those nouns as the government will do today.

Dahlia Lithwick
Senior Editor
www.Slate.com

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