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Roberts Hits Stevens Over Death Penalty
AP via SFGate ^ | 4/26/7 | MARK SHERMAN

Posted on 04/26/2007 12:57:35 PM PDT by SmithL

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When Chief Justice John Roberts took his center seat for the first time in October 2005, John Paul Stevens, the court's senior justice, wished him "a long and happy career in our common calling."

This week, Roberts had some words for Stevens, who turned 87 last week. And they were not nearly so kind.

In a pointed dissent from decisions overturning death sentences for two Texas inmates, Roberts accused Stevens of engaging in revisionist history.

Stevens, leading a five-justice majority, said Texas state courts should have set aside the death sentences because the Supreme Court had made clear that such sentences could not stand if they were imposed as a result of flawed jury instructions that Texas used until 1991.

Roberts, a dissenter in six of the court's 10 most recent rulings, wrote that contrary to being clear, Supreme Court death penalty law over the years has been a "dog's breakfast," a mess of "divided, conflicted and ever-changing analyses." State courts would find it difficult, if not impossible, to discern federal law from those rulings, he said.

Roberts concluded his 16-page dissent on a sarcastic note, at odds with his amiable image. "Still, perhaps there is no reason to be unduly glum," Roberts said, taking direct aim at Stevens. "After all, today the author of a dissent issued in 1988 writes two majority opinions concluding that the views established in that dissent actually represented 'clearly established' federal law at that time. So there is hope yet for the views expressed in this dissent."

"Encouraged by the majority's determination that the future can change the past, I respectfully dissent," he concluded.

(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS: chiefjusticeroberts; deathpenalty; dogsbreakfast; scotus
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1 posted on 04/26/2007 12:57:36 PM PDT by SmithL
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"Encouraged by the majority's determination that the future can change the past, I respectfully dissent," he concluded.

Me Too!

2 posted on 04/26/2007 12:58:14 PM PDT by SmithL (si vis pacem, para bellum)
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To: SmithL

“A dog’s breakfast” — now that’s a good one.


3 posted on 04/26/2007 1:00:35 PM PDT by Silly (http://www.sarcasmoff.com)
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To: SmithL

I love this guy!


4 posted on 04/26/2007 1:01:09 PM PDT by roses of sharon
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To: SmithL
Roberts Hits Stevens Over Death Penalty

No hitting!

5 posted on 04/26/2007 1:04:07 PM PDT by hsalaw
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To: All
Mr. Roberts looks so much like Greg Kinnear, IMO.


6 posted on 04/26/2007 1:08:57 PM PDT by NYC Republican (Conservatives' Biggest Problem- Single Issue Voters)
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To: SmithL

Did we ever here an admission of error from this person concerning CJ Roberts?

http://www.anncoulter.org/cgi-local/printer_friendly.cgi?article=66

It was a foolish article at the time and it’s foolish now.

GWB has been the best President for SCOTUS nominations since before FDR.


7 posted on 04/26/2007 1:08:59 PM PDT by You Dirty Rats (I Love Free Republic!)
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To: SmithL
the author of a dissent issued in 1988 writes two majority opinions concluding that the views established in that dissent actually represented 'clearly established' federal law at that time.

Well, 'clearly established' in his own mind anyway.

8 posted on 04/26/2007 1:15:12 PM PDT by siunevada (If we learn nothing from history, what's the point of having one? - Peggy Hill)
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To: Silly; SmithL

I understood that a “dog’s breakfast” was “a p!$$ and a good look round” . . . i.e. nothing at all.


9 posted on 04/26/2007 1:17:38 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: You Dirty Rats

Ouch.


10 posted on 04/26/2007 1:21:02 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Duncan Hunter 2008 (or Fred Thompson if he ever makes up his mind))
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To: SmithL

Gotta love the incongruous and tendentious juxtaposition between the two men which opens the piece: Stevens is the benign elderly figure who treats the young Chief Justice with kindness and respect, while the impudent Roberts responds with unkind attacks—and the week after the old man’s birthday, no less! ... And Roberts bullies Stevens in the Supreme Court cafeteria and steals the old man’s milk money too.


11 posted on 04/26/2007 1:21:12 PM PDT by AHerald ("Be faithful to God ... do not bother about the ridicule of the foolish." - St. Pio of Pietrelcina)
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To: SmithL
a well timed pop of a blown up paper bag behind Steven's back and we'd really have a good supreme court (dreaming. just dreaming)
12 posted on 04/26/2007 1:25:01 PM PDT by llevrok (Do cats have belly buttons?)
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To: llevrok
a well timed pop of a blown up paper bag behind Reid's back and he'd surrender to Al-Qaida again.

Fixed it at no charge.

13 posted on 04/26/2007 1:27:16 PM PDT by You Dirty Rats (I Love Free Republic!)
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To: AnAmericanMother

Oh my gosh — that’s even funnier! Way to go, Roberts!


14 posted on 04/26/2007 1:34:18 PM PDT by Silly (http://www.sarcasmoff.com)
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To: SmithL

Why cain’t we awl git alonggg???

I agree, a “dogs breakfast” is a good one!!!

I didn’t think Roberts was that hip! He surprises me!!!

His mentor would be proud!!!

Blown up paper bag behind Steven’s chair!!! Pulleeeze!!! That would be damn funny to see though...

You guys are cracking me up today!


15 posted on 04/26/2007 1:34:34 PM PDT by stevie_d_64 (Houston Area Texans (I've always been hated))
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To: You Dirty Rats

That person will never admit to being wrong. That person is the smartest person on the globe (in that person’s own eyes).


16 posted on 04/26/2007 1:35:01 PM PDT by keepitreal
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To: keepitreal

I used to like her, but lately I view her as the female Michael Savage- shrill and sensational in an attempt to garner attention.


17 posted on 04/26/2007 1:48:44 PM PDT by NYC Republican (Conservatives' Biggest Problem- Single Issue Voters)
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To: SmithL

I think what Roberts is saying, in a sense, is “it’s time for the dog-track, old timer!” The sooner Stevens takes his leave, the better for the court and the country.


18 posted on 04/26/2007 2:01:48 PM PDT by ReleaseTheHounds ("Salvation is not free")
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To: SmithL

is there a way to find a transcript of the actual dissent?


19 posted on 04/26/2007 2:11:09 PM PDT by Christian4Bush (Dennis Miller said it best “Liberals always feel your pain. Unless of course, they caused it.”)
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To: You Dirty Rats
Did we ever here an admission of error from this person concerning CJ Roberts?

http://www.anncoulter.org/cgi-local/printer_friendly.cgi?article=66

It was a foolish article at the time and it’s foolish now.

I gotta disagree, amigo. Ann Coulter's article claims nothing about Roberts, except to say that nothing was known about him. It complains about stealth nominations when

1) a fight on the facts and issues would be playing to our strength;

2) we have (or rather, "had," alas) a majority in the Senate.

I believe Roberts is turning out splendidly, but the issue was an important one to raise. Ann more or less single-handedly got Harriet Miers withdrawn, which I think was a good thing. Maybe Pres. Bush was correct to play a stealth card with Roberts, considering how weak the Senate RINOs were, but I thought the column represented an important "bully pulpit" consideration.

Prudence dictates taking a safe or aggressive strategy, depending on circumstances. It may be that if the GOP had been more willing to pick fights on the actual issues over the last 6 years, they'd still have control of Congress. We do have the truth on our side.

20 posted on 04/26/2007 2:21:55 PM PDT by SamuraiScot
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To: ReleaseTheHounds
Although I'm not a fan of Imus', I listened many times because he did have a lot of impressive guests and even the lefty's because you'd get to hear what they're saying and Bernie would then lambaste them afterwards. This thread reminds me of an expression Imus used to use for this situation:

"time to pin a note to his sweater and drop him off at the dog track every day" No meanness meant to the elderly, but when a guy like Stevens hangs on when he's really not up to par, it's just a rotten disservice to the country and to the Constitution.

21 posted on 04/26/2007 2:32:53 PM PDT by JewishRighter
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To: Christian4Bush
Here is the decision and the dissent.
22 posted on 04/26/2007 2:44:19 PM PDT by RightFighter
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To: You Dirty Rats
a well timed pop of a blown up paper bag behind Reid's back and he'd surrender to Al-Qaida again.

LOL!!!

23 posted on 04/26/2007 3:28:40 PM PDT by Albion Wilde (...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -2 Cor 3:17)
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To: RightFighter

Thanks so much! I appreciate the help!


24 posted on 04/26/2007 3:41:17 PM PDT by Christian4Bush (Dennis Miller said it best “Liberals always feel your pain. Unless of course, they caused it.”)
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To: SamuraiScot
we have (or rather, "had," alas) a majority in the Senate.

A majority in the Senate and $5.00 gets you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

With the 'rats having utterly no respect for the Constitution or for Senate precedent, they blocked votes on judicial nominees for years. We never had 50 Senators willing to go "nucular" on them because our own "moderates" wouldn't want to lose their power. So we had to go stealth on the Senate, because the 'rats would have filibustered an openly conservative candidate.

We had 55 Republicans, but never 55 Conservatives or even 50.

GWB did a great job, and twenty-five years from now odds are Roberts will still be in the Big Chair. My question about Ann was not rhetorical. She should come out and give credit to the President where credit is due.

If there had been 70 'pub Senators and 60 Conservatives then her complaint would have been accurate. We may have the truth on our side, but we didn't have enough Senators worthy of our President. Even this very day, that 'rat Iraq Bill only passed because of Hagel and the other weasel. Add the others (Snowe, Collins, etc.) and it was a job just getting stealth nominees and Janice Rogers Brown through.

25 posted on 04/26/2007 3:53:41 PM PDT by You Dirty Rats (I Love Free Republic!)
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To: SamuraiScot

Oh and great name BTW. I don’t know how a Samurai Scot would dress for battle but a S.S. would be a hell of a warrior.


26 posted on 04/26/2007 3:54:57 PM PDT by You Dirty Rats (I Love Free Republic!)
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To: AnAmericanMother

The normal definition of a “dog’s breakfast” is a jumble, a SNAFU, a mixture of the unknown, disgusting, and the barely identifiable; it is intended to refer to a pile of vomit and/or garbage.


27 posted on 04/26/2007 3:58:56 PM PDT by Republicanus_Tyrannus
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To: Republicanus_Tyrannus
Gotcha!

I was thinking of 'dingo's breakfast' - from the Dinkum Aussie Dictionary:

Dingo's breakfast : a yawn, a leak and a good look round (i.e. no breakfast)

28 posted on 04/26/2007 4:03:37 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: SmithL

meanwhile, the Governor of Tennessee effectively ended the death penalty in the state. Inmates on death row are cheering.

Althought billed as a moderate, when it comes to pandering to his far left constituents, Phil Bredeson is as bad as they come.


29 posted on 04/26/2007 4:07:08 PM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. Reid must go)
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To: SmithL
One note from somebody who's taken a few laps around the courthouse square:

Smart appellate judges don't take disagreement with their opinions -- even highly pointed disagreement -- as personal. You put the proposed majority out there, you catch some dissents from judges who disagree. When the issues are important (and just about everything that reaches the Supremes is important), then you can expect dissents (and revisions to the majority to respond to the dissent) to be downright polemic.

It comes with the job. Apparently the reporter either has no idea of this, or he's just using the opportunity to slam the Chief Justice.

If Stevens is taking this personally, it's just one more indication that it's past time for him to retire.

30 posted on 04/26/2007 4:10:25 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: Silly

Describes so many SC rulings, from Brown onwards. We have muddled law on relgion, abortion, the death penalty, largely because the Court has so little respect for precedent.


31 posted on 04/26/2007 4:10:43 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: roses of sharon; Silly; NYC Republican; You Dirty Rats; siunevada; AnAmericanMother; ...
I’ll say about Roberts just about what I said about Wayne Gretzky after he was in the NHL 1-2 years: If this man lasts ten years or more in this profession, he will go down as the Greatest - but in Roberts’ case I’ll say “one of the Greatest”.

From this dissent, which is AWESOME to read:
-—>>>>

“The convictions were upheld upon direct review...

“This Court had considered similar challenges to the SAME instructions no fewer than five times ... only one ... upheld it. ... Indeed, [in later cases] every one of the remaining Justices who had been in [that] majority [dissented in a later case] on the ground that the Court was failing to adhere to [it].

“We give ourselves far too much credit in claiming ... that our ebbing and flowing decisions in this area give rise to “clearly established” federal law. ... instead a dog’s breakfast” of dividing, conflicting and ever-changing analyses. ... as [the Justices on this Court] shifted from being in the majority, plurality, concurrence, or dissent from case to case, repeatingly lamenting the failure of their colleagues to follow a consistent path. Whatever the law may be today, the Court’s ruling that ‘twas always so -— and that state courts were “objectively unreasonable” not to know it, ... is utterly revisionist.

“In 1987 [case]... Court begins by stating that the principle the state court violated was “firmly established”... the only thing clear ... on the pertinent question ... however, is that it was unsettled and confused. ... [leaving] open the possibility that mitigating evidence might not be within the reach of the jury...

“The next occasion was ... A plurality of the Court ... rejected the argument that a jury must be permitted to give “independent” effect to mitigating evidence...

“The Court today places great weight on a [2-Justice] opinion ... express[ing] “doubts” about the plurality view that mitigating evidence need not be given effect ...

“According to the Court today, a discerning state judge should have seen that federal law was “clearly established” on the point by [those] concurring and dissenting opinions, not the plurality[!]...

“A state court looking at our pertinent precedents ... would next have to consider the significance of ... [in which] the four dissenters ... -— including the author of today’s opinion -— complained that the majority’s discussion ... was “strangely reminiscent” of the position of [that case’s] dissenters. [[[ LOL ... sorry ]]]

... three years later, the Court sought to clarify ... [big paragraph] ... Thus, ... the Court rejected the reading ... that the Court today endorses ...

[much later]”In short, [LOL] a state court reading our opinions would see an ongoing debate over the meaning and significance ... [and] It is in this context that the Court today tells us that the state courts should have regarded [case] as “clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States.”

“... I do not understand how the author of today’s opinion can say that [case] did not disturb the principle of [other case] ... {sorry ... too convoluted for me to simplify] when he joined in a dissent in Graham stating that ‘[Graham’s] position is identical to that of Penry” and that Graham’s case “is controlled by Penry”. That seems to suggest that Graham was inconsistent with Penry. I do not understand how the author of today’s opinion can say that [case] had no effect ... when he joined a dissent ... [which is now] dismissed as just an application of “our basic legal principle[s]” which Justices can disagree; [when] back then it “upset our settled Eighth Amendment jurisprudence.” And what of [other case]!? There the author of today’s opinion joined a dissent claiming the majority was adopting the rule rejected in Penry!

“In fact, Penry is not even consistent with the reading the Court [today] ascribes to it -

“As might be expected in the light of the foregoing, judges called upon to apply these precedents were confused by the ambiguity of this Court’s pronouncements. See [...]

“It is a familiar adage that history is written by the victors, but it goes too far to claim ... “clearly established” ... [much later] ... The state court’s approach to this question was plainly correct; ... [and] In reaching today’s result, the Court also takes advantage of eight years of hindsight and relies on three cases that postdate the state court’s ruling. ... AEDPA requires state courts to reasonably apply clearly established federal law. It does not require them to have a crystal ball.

[much later... conclusion]”Still, perhaps there is no reason to be unduly glum. After all, today the author of a dissent issued in 1988 writes two majority opinions concluding the views expressed in that dissent actually represented “clearly established” federal law at that time. So there is hope yet for the views expressed in this dissent, not simply down the road, but tunc pro nunc. Encouraged by the majority’s determination that the future can change the past, I respectfully dissent.

32 posted on 04/26/2007 4:27:53 PM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: You Dirty Rats

Bush has been excellent on judges, no question about that.


33 posted on 04/26/2007 4:28:19 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Ben Franklin, we tried but we couldn't keep it.)
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To: JewishRighter
I sort of knew that I was quoting Imus with my “dog-track” reference. I think Stevens should also consider what Christopher Buckley satirizes in his book “Boomsday” when he talks about “voluntary early transitioning” (I think that's his phrase for committing suicide) by our/my Baby-Boom Generation.
34 posted on 04/26/2007 4:36:25 PM PDT by ReleaseTheHounds ("Salvation is not free")
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To: You Dirty Rats
"GWB has been the best President for SCOTUS nominations since before FDR."

I'll second that!
35 posted on 04/26/2007 4:42:34 PM PDT by spikeytx86 (Pray for Democrats for they have been brainwashed by their fruity little club.)
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To: AFPhys

Thanks for that the post.

What a Rock Star!


36 posted on 04/26/2007 5:00:55 PM PDT by roses of sharon
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To: AFPhys

I’m as impressed with this as I am with Thomas’ concurrence in U.S. v Lopez.


37 posted on 04/26/2007 5:22:33 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Duncan Hunter 2008 (or Fred Thompson if he ever makes up his mind))
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To: Silly; AnAmericanMother; aculeus; SmithL; Republicanus_Tyrannus; Happygal; RikaStrom; MozarkDawg; ..
According to this source, dog’s breakfast
has been British slang for “a complete mess” since at least the 1930s. While no one took the time to write down the exact origin of the phrase, the allusion involved seems to be to a failed culinary effort, perhaps a burned or botched omelet, fit only for consumption by the mouth of last resort, Fido.
In truth, I’ve always pictured something a little worse, as in #27.
38 posted on 04/26/2007 5:47:34 PM PDT by dighton
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To: spikeytx86

I hate it when people use the words GWB and SCROTUM in the same sentence. Don’t ask me why.


39 posted on 04/26/2007 5:49:03 PM PDT by Silly (http://www.sarcasmoff.com)
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To: AFPhys
"tunc pro nunc"

I like THAT. I'm going to look for a chance to use it.

40 posted on 04/26/2007 5:49:18 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: SmithL

Roberts, now there’s a guy I like. Level-headed, polite, dignified, unassuming...makes it all the more meaningful when he decides to rip them a new one.


41 posted on 04/26/2007 6:10:13 PM PDT by marsh_of_mists
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To: AFPhys

Thanks for the post.

From the dissent, it appears the majority decision citations are beyond mistaken, they are willfully mischaracterizing past decisions.


42 posted on 04/26/2007 6:11:25 PM PDT by siunevada (If we learn nothing from history, what's the point of having one? - Peggy Hill)
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To: siunevada

Well, I see it as really exactly as Roberts says: the decisions have been all over the place, and completely confusing to anyone.

Personally, I find a whole bundle of areas that the USSC has muddled this way, in my opinion, due mostly to their attempting to change the clear meaning of the Constitution without admitting that is their intent.

I see this as only the first salvo of many that Roberts may well fire in the future - and that he’s signalling that loud and clear here.


43 posted on 04/26/2007 6:27:01 PM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: SmithL

Stevens is another addled little man whose time has passed. He needs to go...along with the little bug-eyed, pipe-cleaner lady.


44 posted on 04/26/2007 6:52:42 PM PDT by paddles
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To: paddles

You mean Darth-Bader Ginsberg?


45 posted on 04/26/2007 7:29:33 PM PDT by SmithL (si vis pacem, para bellum)
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To: SmithL

Yeah. Ann Coulter said she looked like she was “fashioned out of pipe cleaners.”


46 posted on 04/26/2007 7:32:29 PM PDT by paddles
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To: SmithL

“You mean Darth-Bader Ginsberg?”

And her Sith apprentice calls her “Master Bader Ginsberg.”


47 posted on 04/26/2007 8:38:38 PM PDT by Revenge of Sith
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To: SmithL
State courts would find it difficult, if not impossible, to discern federal law from those rulings, he said.

That's precisely the intention of multiple confusing or contradictory opinions. Without proper legal guidance, the states will throw their hands up in the air and give up on the death penalty altogether.
48 posted on 04/26/2007 8:41:47 PM PDT by July 4th (A vacant lot cancelled out my vote for Bush.)
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To: You Dirty Rats

Harry Edwards, a Carter appointment to the DC circuit, called John Roberts “the most conservative judge he had ever served with”.

Keep in mind he served with both Scalia and Thomas.


49 posted on 04/26/2007 10:55:09 PM PDT by zendari
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To: SmithL
“Encouraged by the majority’s determination that the future can change the past, I respectfully dissent,” he concluded.

Can I read Roe v. Wade into this comment? Where are the Libs claiming “Stare Decisis, Stare Decisis; It’s settled law, Stevens can’t do that” on this particular decision.
Little did Stevens know he was laying the groundwork for overturning the abortion ruling.

50 posted on 04/28/2007 1:02:33 PM PDT by pangaea6
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