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Tag: supreme court

Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano Reportedly on Supreme Court List

Gov. Napolitano/official photo

Gov. Napolitano/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON —  Janet Napolitano, who has served as Secretary of Homeland Security since January 2009, is reported to be among the top candidates to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Napolitano has a pretty deep resume. She served as Governor of Arizona, Attorney General of the state and as U.S. Attorney for Phoenix under the Clinton Administration.

Other top choices reportedly being considered include Elena Kagan, 49, the U.S. Solicitor General, the fourth highest ranking post at the Justice Department,  Diane Pamela Wood, 59, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in Chicago and Merrick B. Garland, 57, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in D.C.

Other longer shots include Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Three Front Runners For Supreme Court Spot Have Had or Do Have Ties to Justice Dept; 2 Are Jewish

Elena Kagan

Elena Kagan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– Three of the leading candidates reportedly being considered to replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens all have had or do have ties to the Justice Department and two are Jewish, according to media reports.

Elena Kagan, 49, the U.S. Solicitor General, the fourth highest ranking post at the Justice Department, is Jewish and Diane Pamela Wood, 59,  a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in Chicago, is Jewish, AP reported. Wood worked for the Justice Department in different posts including  deputy assistant attorney general for international, appellate and policy matters for the Antitrust Division.

Judge Diane Wood

Judge Diane Wood

The third candidate Merrick B. Garland, 57, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in D.C.,  worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney General  and went into private practice before returning to the government as an assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C.  He later went on to work as a deputy assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s criminal division and was then principal associate deputy U.S. attorney general before going on the bench.

jennifer granholm

Other candidates mentioned include Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit in the 1990s.

Another person mentioned is Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick,  who was an assistant Attorney General for civil rights under the Clinton administration, according to AP.

Currently, two Justices on the Supreme Court — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer — are Jewish

Ex-Fed Prosecutor Parker: State of Alaska and Prosecutor to Blame in DNA/Supreme Crt Case

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com columnist
The greater majority of Americans long assumed that the criminal court system worked just fine. With criminal defendants afforded substantive Constitutional rights, many people assumed the nation’s prison held no innocent men or women.

This blithe assumption was upset in recent times by the use of DNA technology in post-conviction settings, which scientifically demonstrated that the innocent do indeed – even if only rarely– get convicted in this country.

Not only has the infallibility of the jury system suffered a blow by this development, but whole categories of evidence upon which we prosecutors relied upon like confessions and eyewitness identifications, which were utilized in over 75% of the wrongful convictions, have been called into question and become the targets of “reform” movements.

Last week the Supreme Court ruled in the 5-4 Osborne decision that an Alaska inmate did not have the right under the Due Process Clause, in the context of a Section 1983 civil rights suit, to have access, at his own expense, to semen evidence from his rape trial for DNA testing.

Although the Court recognized the “unparalleled ability” of DNA to exonerate the wrongfully convicted and identify the guilty, the majority held that the power to establish rules to regulate the use of this investigative resource belongs primarily to the state legislatures. Since Alaska’s post-conviction relief procedures were not fundamentally unfair, the federal courts could not upset procedures which disallowed “freestanding” discovery rights.

The majority relied on principles such as federalism, comity, finality and states’ rights, to reject the broad-based due process right of access to evidence for testing purposes advocated by Justice Stevens’ four-member minority.

Read more »

Atty. Gen. Holder Says DNA Evidence Can Free the Wrongfully Charged: Disagrees with Supreme Crt. Ruling

The Supreme Court decision seemed to fly in the face of logic. Why wouldn’t an inmate be entitled to a scientific test to assure that everything was done beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if it frees 1 in 1,000 inmates or 1 in 10,000, that should be reason enough to give inmates the right to the tests. No one should serve time for a crime they didn’t commit. It’s not a conservative or liberal issue.  It’s called Justice!

A.G. Eric Holder

A.G. Eric Holder

By The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes
WASHINGTON — A day after the Supreme Court ruled defendants have no constitutional right to a review of DNA evidence in post-conviction proceedings, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. underscored the Justice Department position that seeks to expand access to DNA evidence in the courts.

Addressing the 34th Annual D.C. Courts’ Judicial Conference today in Washington, Holder, the keynote speaker, spoke about the impact of technological advances on the administration of justice, and he vowed the Justice Department will embrace science and technology.

Law enforcement, Holder told the audience, which was brimming with local and federal judges, is placing “more emphasis on DNA evidence than ever before” in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases.

“And we are mindful that DNA evidence can be used to exonerate those who are wrongfully charged,” Holder said today. “Our mission at the Justice Department is not simply to win cases. It is to do justice, and science and DNA can help us accomplish this.”

For Full Story

Identify Theft Law Can’t Be Used to Prosecute Illegal Immigrants

supreme-courtThe Supreme Court’s decision gives the government yet another reason to focus enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws against employers, not illegal immigrants.

By ADAM LIPTAK and JULIA PRESTON
New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a favorite tool of prosecutors in immigration cases, ruling unanimously that a federal identity-theft law may not be used against many illegal workers who used false Social Security numbers to get jobs.

The question in the case was whether workers who use fake identification numbers to commit some other crimes must know they belong to a real person to be subject to a two-year sentence extension for “aggravated identity theft.”

The answer, the Supreme Court said, is yes.

Prosecutors had used the threat of that punishment to persuade illegal workers to plead guilty to lesser charges of document fraud.

For Full Story