US Supreme Court Posts

Justice John Paul Stevens Dies at Age 99

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Who Led Liberal Wing, Dies at 99: (“John Paul Stevens, whose 35 years on the United States Supreme Court transformed him, improbably, from a Republican antitrust lawyer into the outspoken leader of the court’s liberal wing, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 99. * * * The cause was complications of a stroke he suffered the day before, the Supreme Court announced in a statement. * * * When he retired in 2010 at the age of 90, Justice Stevens was the second-oldest and third-longest-serving justice ever to sit on the court. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was about eight months older when he retired in 1932; William O. Douglas had served 36 years (1939-75), and Stephen J. Field served a few days more than Justice Stevens (1863-97).”)

Protections of Vagueness Doctrine Regarding Crimes of Violence (18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B))

Vagueness Doctrine as a Shield for Criminal Defendants: (“[On June 24, 2019], as expected, the Supreme Court invalidated 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B). In United States v. Davis, the court declared that the categorical approach is dead, and with it Section 924(c)(3)(B). Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for a 5-4 majority (joined by the four more liberal justices), and Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the dissent. * * * This case involved the constitutionality of a federal criminal statute — Section 924(c). Section 924(c) makes it a crime to use a firearm during or in relation to a crime of violence, and Section 924(c)(3)(B) (now defunct) defined a crime of violence as ‘any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.'”)

Justice Gorsuch Chastises Court on Overcriminalization

Gorsuch Slams the Supreme Court for Turning a Blind Eye to Overcriminalization: (“The U.S. Supreme Court made it much easier for federal agencies to create new crimes and prosecute them, rejecting a constitutional challenge based on the separation of powers. In an unusual split that saw Justice Samuel Alito join the Supreme Court’s liberal wing, Gundy v. United States upheld the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), a ‘comprehensive national system’ Congress established in 2006 to register sex offenders, which gave the Attorney General vast powers of rulemaking and enforcement.”)

SORNA Retroactivity Is Constitutional

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Retroactive Part of Sex Offender Law: (“The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the federal government’s authority under a 2006 law to require thousands of sex offenders to register with authorities in the states where they live, as the justices ruled against a child rapist convicted in Maryland. * * * In its 5-3 decision, the court rejected convicted sex offender Herman Gundy’s argument that in passing the law, Congress handed too much power to the U.S. attorney general in violation of a principal of constitutional law called the non-delegation doctrine. This doctrine forbids Congress from assigning its legislative powers to the federal government’s executive branch.”)

US Supreme Court Upholds Dual-Sovereignty Doctrine

The United States Supreme Court upheld the dual-sovereignty doctrine today in Gamble v. United States, reasoning that the doctrine “is not an exception to the double jeopardy right but follows from the Fifth Amendment’s text. The Double Jeopardy Clause protects individuals from being ‘twice put in jeopardy’ ‘for the same offence.’ As originally understood, an ‘offence’ is defined by a law, and each law is defined by a sovereign. Thus, where there are two sovereigns, there are two laws and two ‘offences.’ Gamble attempts to show from the Clause’s drafting history that Congress must have intended to bar successive prosecutions regardless of the sovereign bringing the charge. But even if conjectures about subjective goals were allowed to inform this Court’s reading of the text, the Government’s contrary arguments on that score would prevail.”

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