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Mon Apr 20, 2020, 05:13 PM

Liberal Justice Slammed for Joining Conservative Dissent That 'Ignores Racist History' of Jury Issue

Source: Law & Crime

When the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its ruling in Ramos v. Louisiana on Monday, many were unprepared to see liberal Justice Elena Kagan side with Justice Samuel Alito’s dissent along with Chief Justice John Roberts.

At issue in the case was a Louisiana criminal procedure rule (as well as a similar one in Oregon) that allows criminal defendants to be convicted by a jury vote of 10 to 2 – instead of the usual requirement for unanimity. Part of the majority’s lengthy analysis centered around the rules’ history, which had been rooted in racism

Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, called out non-unanimous jury rules for being engineered to nullify the votes of black jurors. Gorsuch wrote that the origins of the rules were clearly tied to white supremacy, and included many trappings of Jim Crow. Gorsuch explained that the rule was adopted “with a careful eye on racial demographics.” Gorsuch said it was designed to appear facially-neutral in an effort “to ensure that African-American juror service would be meaningless.”

The dissenting trio, however, wouldn’t hear any of these accusations. Alito accused the majority of raising racism as nothing more than an ad hominem attack on Louisiana: “If Louisiana and Oregon originally adopted their laws allowing non-unanimous verdicts for these reasons, that is deplorable, but what does that have to do with the broad constitutional question before us? The answer is: nothing.”

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/supreme-court/liberal-justice-slammed-for-joining-conservative-dissent-that-ignores-racist-history/

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Reply Liberal Justice Slammed for Joining Conservative Dissent That 'Ignores Racist History' of Jury Issue (Original post)
Calista241 Apr 2020 OP
elleng Apr 2020 #1
LiberalArkie Apr 2020 #2
regnaD kciN Apr 2020 #4
LiberalArkie Apr 2020 #5
TomSlick Apr 2020 #7
regnaD kciN Apr 2020 #3
Sgent Apr 2020 #9
bucolic_frolic Apr 2020 #6
intheflow Apr 2020 #8
Blasphemer Apr 2020 #16
intheflow Apr 2020 #20
Blasphemer Apr 2020 #21
Sir Normie Apr 2020 #10
grantcart Apr 2020 #11
Sir Normie Apr 2020 #17
grantcart Apr 2020 #18
Calista241 Apr 2020 #15
Sir Normie Apr 2020 #19
TeamPooka Apr 2020 #12
qazplm135 Apr 2020 #13
burrowowl Apr 2020 #14

Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 05:21 PM

1. 'The dissent went a step further,

criticizing the majority for “mak[ing] no effort” to show that the non-unanimous jury rules were retained for legitimate non-racist purposes.

Alito raised the example of British Parliamentary and Puerto Rican laws that also allowed non-unanimous verdicts; those rules were made to ensure fairness and efficiency, not to silence black jurors.

“Was their aim to promote white supremacy? And how about the prominent scholars who have taken the same position? Racists all? Of course not,” Alito wrote. Then came a footnote:

“Among other things, allowing non-unanimous verdicts prevents mistrials caused by a single rogue juror, that is, a juror who refuses to pay attention at trial, expressly defies the law, or spurns deliberation. When unanimity is demanded, the work of preventing this must be done in large measure by more intensive voir dire and more aggressive use of challenges for cause and peremptory challenges.”

Alito accused his colleagues in the majority of going out of their way to focus on racism, thereby engaging in irrational and uncivil discourse:

“So all the talk about the Klan, etc., is entirely out of place. We dissenting should set an example of rational and civil discourse instead of contributing to the worst current trends.”'

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 05:38 PM

2. I thought that it had to be a unanimous verdict.

I remember all the old movies of the majority of the jurors badgering the remaining not guilty juror to vote guilty so they could go home. I never knew it was majority rules.

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Response to LiberalArkie (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 05:43 PM

4. It isn't, in most places...

There were just a couple of states that allowed a "supermajority" verdict. Guess there aren't any after this.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 05:46 PM

5. It is my understanding that the non-unanimous vote is outlawed now. Or is unanimous vote is outlawed

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Response to LiberalArkie (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 06:14 PM

7. The Supreme Court - or at least a majority of the Supreme Court - agree with you.

There were two states, Louisiana and Oregon, that allowed for less than unanimous verdicts in criminal cases. The federal courts and the courts in forty-eight other states require unanimous verdicts.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 05:42 PM

3. Strange bedfellows...

So one of the liberal justices sides with probably the most conservative one and the alleged-but-not-very-"swing"-vote chief justice...while a ruling that fights racism is written by Gorsuch, and supported by Kavanaugh and Thomas along with the remaining liberals? There must have been some interesting in camera discussions on this case.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 06:41 PM

9. I think at least some of the issues involved

is how to apply it retroactively. LA already got rid of non-unanimous verdicts for crimes after Jan 1, 2019, but this case is from a decades old murder conviction.

They just overturned 100's (if not more) felony convictions so I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 06:11 PM

6. Amazing to see the 'strict constructionists' appeal to historic context and international standards

Gorsuch cited the norms of the time that led to the 6th Amendment. Alito citing Britain and Puerto Rico is particularly rich. These are cracks in strict constructionism worth remembering.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 06:26 PM

8. This is a really weird split.

The dissenting argument is that laws arise in pure, philosophical vacuums, devoid of any contemporary, historical, or societal context, a snapshot of justice sealed in amber for time ever-lasting?

Kavanaugh's siding with the majority on this is particularly interesting. Perhaps his eyes were opened a little after having his racism so publicly outed. I'd like to think so, though I'm guessing it was a calculated decision to avoid being dragged through the mud again. But whatever. I'm grateful for a sane majority rule from this court.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 07:31 PM

16. Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion in the Flowers case...

Overturning the conviction of an African-American man because of racist jury selection. As I understand it, jury bias has been an interest of his since his law school days.

https://www.apmreports.org/story/2019/06/21/curtis-flowers-wins-scotus-appeal

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Response to Blasphemer (Reply #16)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 08:34 PM

20. Intersting!

Thanks for the link!

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Response to intheflow (Reply #20)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 08:57 PM

21. You're welcome!... nt

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 06:46 PM

10. Key Word: DISSENT

 

Which means the Wingnuts lost. As for Kagan, she's her own person, and is not going to come down on the liberal side with every single ruling she ever makes. Please, let's not begin ideological purity testing on judges, too!

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Response to Sir Normie (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 06:51 PM

11. Welcome to DU


I agree with your take on Kagan.

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Response to grantcart (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 08:14 PM

17. Everybody has Free Will

 

Sadly, most Republicans choose not to exercise it.

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Response to Sir Normie (Reply #17)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 08:21 PM

18. Well except for the Calvinists

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Response to Sir Normie (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 07:21 PM

15. Can we really say the wingnuts lost if Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Thomas were in the majority?

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #15)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 08:21 PM

19. Sure we Can

 

I'm a Bottom-Liner: I care about the results. Racism got a punch in the face today. The particular details of said punch are entirely secondary.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 06:59 PM

12. We can't count on anyone.

This is the DU member formerly known as TeamPooka.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 07:08 PM

13. The military also does

Non-unanimous verdicts. It's not unheard of and one can make arguments why it's acceptable but I prefer unanimous verdicts across the board for consistency if nothing else.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2020, 07:09 PM

14. Kick

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