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Monday, June 05, 2006 

A Fairly Interesting Day at the Court

Four opinions were announced today by the Supreme Court. They include Anza v Ideal Steel Supply Corp, Mohawk Industries v Williams, Zedner v US, Whitman v Department of Transportation.

Zedner has drawn some attention because it was written by Justice Alito. It is the second Alito decision that can be deemed pro-criminal defendant. Wait a minute... I thought Alito was supposed to be a blood-thirsty prosecutor, ready to trample on the rights of the accused. Well, I guess the Alito opposition rhetoric was just full of hot air.

The opinion also drew attention because of the Justice Scalia concurrence attached to it. Here, Scalia rejects Justice Alito's use of legislative history in the majority opinion. This is an issue that Scalia has been waging a not-so-quiet war of concurrences against for years. Tony Mauro may be over-hyping this with the title of his article, "Alito Opinion Draws Wrath of Scalia". I've read Scalia wrath, and I don't think this comes close to wrath. He's been filing these concurrences for a long time. What is interesting is that Alito could've easily deleted this part of his opinion. He chose not to (and had all of the Justices except Scalia on his side on this point). Wait a minute... I thought Alito was just a Scalia clone. You know, "Scalito" and all that jazz. Well, I guess the Alito opposition rhetoric was just full of hot air. Hmm... I sense a pattern.

Rounding out the day at One First Street in Washington DC, there was a very interesting case grant today. The Court decided that it would hear argument in two cases, Parents Involved in Community Schools v Seattle School District, and Meredith v Jefferson County Board of Education. The cases concern the use of race in student assignments in school districts. The Court has not said if elementary and high schools can pursue a racially diverse student body as a valid, constitutional goal. This is going to be a huge case. So far, I think this is the one to watch for the next term. Based on past cases of this nature, it's going to be a close one too.

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