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Over 3 A.M. Dissent, Supreme Court Says Alabama Execution May Proceed

In seven angry pages, Justice Stephen G. Breyer recounted how the conservative majority on the court had refused his request to delay the execution of an Alabama inmate for a few hours so he and the other justices could discuss the matter in person at their usual Friday morning conference. Instead, by a 5-to-4 vote in the middle of the night, the court allowed the execution to proceed, with the conservative justices in the majority and the liberals in dissent. The dispute among the justices on Friday lasted long enough that Alabama officials postponed the execution of the inmate, Christopher L. Price, which had been scheduled for Thursday night. “To proceed in this matter in the middle of the night without giving all members of the court the opportunity for discussion tomorrow morning is, I believe, unfortunate.” The majority, in a brief unsigned opinion, said Mr. Price had waited too long to raise his claim that Alabama’s method of execution, a lethal injection of three chemicals, could subject him to excruciating pain. Mr. Price asked to be executed using nitrogen gas, a method allowed by Alabama law. Around 9 p.m. on Thursday, Alabama officials asked the Supreme Court to allow the execution to go forward. In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the majority was “profoundly wrong.” In March, the court halted the execution of a Buddhist inmate in Texas in similar circumstances, over two noted dissents, with the majority apparently satisfied that the request had been timely. In his dissent on Friday, Justice Breyer reviewed the proceedings in Mr. Price’s case and said undue haste had undermined justice. “I recognized that my request would delay resolution of the application and that the state would have to obtain a new execution warrant, thus delaying the execution by 30 days. “But in my judgment, that delay was warranted, at least on the facts as we have them now,” Justice Breyer wrote.

Partisan Gerrymandering is Back Before the US Supreme Court

Justice Stephen Breyer suggested a rule that a map be deemed an unconstitutional gerrymander if one party can win a majority of the statewide vote but nonetheless end up with less than one third of the available legislative seats.

Jonathan Bernstein: Confirmation shows brutal politics

The big two lessons of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and confirmation are that U.S. politics right now is party politics – and that the Republican Party has fully absorbed the style and principles of Newt Gingrich, the Tea Party, and other influences that tell it to never compromise and always exploit all short-term advantages as much as possible. Parties are (among other things) networks of individual partisans, and that means that within specialized areas – such as the top lawyers and the politicians who work with them – strong personal relationships develop. That helps a lot when things go wrong. That explains why Democrats, including several up for election in Republican states, almost unanimously opposed Kavanaugh (and the only exception, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, was widely thought to be an available “no” vote if needed). On the Republican side, meanwhile, things are the same as with the Democrats, except more formalized with the role of the Federalist Society as the arbiter and protector of Republican orthodoxy in judicial selections. George W. Bush and Donald Trump have nominated people from the most conservative edge of the conservative mainstream. That’s why his nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court was bitterly opposed by Democrats when George W. Bush was president. Faced with a Republican majority in the Senate in 2016, Obama sought to compromise – nominating an older moderate liberal, Merrick Garland. We’ll know more after the 2018 and 2020 elections.

‘No accident’ Brett Kavanaugh’s female law clerks ‘looked like models’, Yale professor told students

A top professor at Yale Law School who strongly endorsed supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a “mentor to women” privately told a group of law students last year that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s female law clerks all “looked like models” and would provide advice to students about their physical appearance if they wanted to work for him, the Guardian has learned. Yale provided Kavanaugh with many of the judge’s clerks over the years, and Chua played an outsized role in vetting the clerks who worked for him. One source said that in at least one case, a law student was so put off by Chua’s advice about how she needed to look, and its implications, that she decided not to pursue a clerkship with Kavanaugh, a powerful member of the judiciary who had a formal role in vetting clerks who served in the US supreme court. [Rubenfeld] told me, 'Kavanaugh hires women with a certain look'. However, the remarks from Chua and Rubenfeld raise questions about why the couple believed it was important to emphasize the students’ physical appearance when discussing jobs with Kavanaugh. Chua allegedly told the students that it was “no accident” that Kavanaugh’s female clerks “looked like models”. A Yale Law School official said in an emailed statement: “This is the first we have heard claims that Professor Chua coached students to look ‘like models’. We will look into these claims promptly, taking into account the fact that Professor Chua is currently unreachable due to serious illness. The couple have hired a well-known crisis communications expert but he did not respond to specific questions from the Guardian about Chua’s remarks or the internal investigation. “There is good reason so many of them have gone on to supreme court clerkships; he only hires those who are extraordinarily qualified.

Let’s Get Political: Kavanaugh, Kyl and Kansas Politics

Emily Reid National: Hearing for Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh started this week. President Trump selected Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh, a conservative judge, was questioned this week, by the Senate Judiciary Committee about his position on key topics such as abortion rights, presidential power and the second amendment. Former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, 76, will be filling late John McCain’s senate seat until a new congressional term starts in Jan. 2019. Kyl and McCain served together representing their home state for almost 20 years. President Trump fired back, calling the writer “gutless” and demanding the New York Times release the name of the author. Local: The GOP spent 1.8 million dollars this week on two competitive Kansas representative districts: the third district race with Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder verses Democrat Sharice Davids, and the race for the vacant seat left by Senator Lynn Jenkins, which is a toss up between Democrat Paul Davis and Republican Steve Watkins. Republican Kris Kobach, Democrat Laura Kelly and Independent Greg Orman, the candidates for Kansas governor had a fierce debate in Overland Park on Wednesday. They talked tax cuts, immigration, education and gun rights., only agreeing on legalizing sports betting in Kansas. Former Republican Kansas Governor Bill Graves announced his support Tuesday, for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Laura Kelly.

Look past the politics — Kavanaugh superbly qualified for the U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh are over. We learned very little about the nominee that we did not know before. We know that he served for 12 years with distinction on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and is highly regarded by appellate lawyers across the political spectrum. On the first day of the hearings, he was introduced by Lisa Blatt, a former clerk of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and self-described liberal, feminist lawyer who has argued 35 cases before the Supreme Court — more than any other woman. The opposition to Kavanaugh is actually not about him, but about the man who nominated him, Donald Trump. The notion that any Trump nominee is illegitimate because he would shield Trump from hypothetical future subpoenas or prosecutions is belied by history. Kavanaugh has no closer relationship to Trump that those appointees did to the presidents who appointed them. Well, Kavanaugh was probably right. Kavanaugh has never suggested that current procedures for investigating the president are unlawful. If Kavanaugh is unacceptable as a justice to liberals and Democrats, no Republican nominee would pass muster.
Dershowitz's take on Kavanaugh confirmation, Mueller probe

Dershowitz’s take on Kavanaugh confirmation, Mueller probe

Harvard Law professor emeritus offers his legal expertise on the Supreme Court confirmation battle and Manafort trial. FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as political and business news. The…

Trump supreme court pick called Nixon Watergate tapes ruling ‘erroneous’

Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh suggested several years ago that the unanimous high court ruling in 1974 that forced President Richard Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes, leading to the end of his presidency, may have been wrongly decided. The committee released the documents on Saturday. Kavanaugh said at three points that the decision in US v Nixon, which marked limits on a president’s ability to withhold information needed for a criminal prosecution, may have come out the wrong way. “But maybe Nixon was wrongly decided,” he said, “heresy though it is to say so. At another point, Kavanaugh said the court might have been wise to stay out of the tapes dispute. Kavanaugh was among six lawyers who took part in the discussion in the aftermath of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. In a 2016 law review article in which he referred to several landmark supreme court cases, Kavanaugh wrote: “Whether it was Marbury, or Youngstown, or Brown, or Nixon, some of the greatest moments in American judicial history have been when judges stood up to the other branches, were not cowed, and enforced the law. “Years before I became a member of the Congressional Country Club and the Chevy Chase Club, it is my understanding that those clubs, like most similar clubs around the country, may have excluded members on discriminatory bases that should not have been acceptable to people then and would not be acceptable now,” he wrote. Asked to list the 10 most significant cases for which he sat as a judge, Kavanaugh cited nine in which “the position expressed in my opinion (either for the court or in a separate writing) was later adopted by the supreme court”. Kavanaugh said an appeals court panel on which he sat reversed a lower court’s ruling in favor of Fannie Mae.

Rand Paul breaks with Republicans as he doubts Trump supreme court pick

Breaking with many Republican colleagues, the Kentucky senator Rand Paul has revealed his concern over Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the supreme court. Is John Roberts poised to become the supreme court's key swing vote? They need a simple majority or a tie broken by Vice-President Mike Pence to confirm Kavanaugh as Trump’s second supreme court pic, after Gorsuch. With John McCain absent through illness and Democrats promising all-out opposition to a pick that could tilt the court to the conservatives for a generation, public attention has focused on three Democrats facing re-election in Republican states and two moderate GOP senators. Democrats may not put too much faith in Paul as an ally. In April, Paul flipped and approved the nomination. Immediately after Trump nominated Kavanaugh, Paul, who often positions himself as a civil liberties champion, released a statement in which he pledged to review the judge’s record and keep an “open mind”. I disagree completely – if we give up our liberty for security then we could end up with neither, neither liberty nor security.” Asked if he could support Kavanaugh, Paul said: “Basically there are 10 amendments listed in the bill of rights, so we’re down one. But hopefully we’re going to get an open, long and far-ranging conversation about this.” Neither Collins nor Murkowski have signalled their opposition to Trump’s pick. “I can’t speak for them, but I’m just pretty sure they’ll be there,” Hatch told the Hill.
Tammy Bruce on the liberal meltdown over the Kavanaugh pick

Tammy Bruce on the liberal meltdown over the Kavanaugh pick

Fox News contributor says Democrats should be making an effort to come to the table with President Trump instead of promoting division. FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as…