Monday, June 25, 2018
My email has been filled recently with appellate court news. Much of the news is focused on the end of the Supreme Court term, but there is news about other appellate courts too.
This morning the Supreme Court issued two opinions, added some cases to its docket for next term, sent back two cases to the lower courts to reconsider, and denied cert in some news worthy matters. The two cases sent back to the lower courts are getting quite a bit of attention. One of the cases involves a florist who would not do flowers for same-sex weddings. That case was sent back in light of the Court's decision in Masterpiece Cake. The other case concerned partisan-gerrymandering, and it was sent back in light of Gill v. Whitford.
Among the cases denied cert was Brendan Dassey's challenge to the voluntariness of his confession. Many people are familiar with Dassey's case thanks to the Netflix documentary Making a Murder. Dassey's lawyers argued that Dassey, a juvenile at the time of this confession, "was subject to coercive police tactics and that he is borderline intellectually disabled."
In addition to waiting for the Court to issue its final opinions, potential Supreme Court vacancies are also making the news. This weekend Fox News feature a profile of Leonard Leo. During his interview with Chris Wallace, Leo, who has been instrumental in assisting the Trump administration with judicial vacancies, predicted that President Trump might get the opportunity to fill at least one more vacancy on the Supreme Court. And speaking of vacancies, the federal appellate vacancies are getting press too. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican, has confirmed that he is holding up President Trump's judicial nominees over the issue of tariffs. President Trump has been able to fill a large number of appellate vacancies, but that action appears to be on hold for a few weeks while things get worked out with Senator Flake.