25 June 2008

High Court Plans To Sit Thursday -- Heller Anyone?

The U.S. Supreme Court will return to the bench tomorrow, and many court watchers feel the supremes will use this day to issue the opinion in the closely watched District of Columbia v. Heller case.

The Justices issued four decisions today, including rulings that vacated the $2.5 billion punitive damages award resulting from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and that struck down under the Eighth Amendment a Louisiana law permitting capital punishment for defendants convicted of child rape.

The opinion by Justice Souter in Exxon v. Baker (07-219), the punitive damages case, is available here. The court reduced punitive damages in the oil spill case from $2.5 billion to $500 million.

The opinion by Justice Kennedy in Kennedy v. Louisiana (07-343), the child rape case, is available here. In this opinion, the death penalty is barred for child rape crimes.

The opinion by Justice Scalia in Giles v. California (07-6053) is available here.

The opinion by Chief Justice Roberts in Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle (07-411) is available here.

So, it is likely Heller comes down tomorrow. Of course, the opinion isn't going to satisfy everyone -- of that I am convinced. No matter which way it goes, get ready to settle in for another 10-15 years of court argument trying to "define" what exactly the Supreme Court will have meant with its decision.

Isn't the law fun?

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