Another Botched Lethal Injection, Another Official Refusal to Accept Responsibility for Failure in the Execution Process
Verdict
by Austin Sarat
3d ago
Another lethal injection gone awry. The story is as troubling as it is familiar. Wednesday’s execution of Thomas Eugene Creech added the latest chapter to lethal injection’s gruesome history. Once touted as America’s most humane execution method, lethal injection has turned out to be its least reliable one. Once touted as a model of efficiency in the grim business of state killing, lethal injection is now marked by mayhem. This time the story of lethal injection’s failure played out in Idaho, a state which has only put three people to death in the last fifty years. The last of the ..read more
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Was the Federal District Court Correct in Dismissing Disney’s Speech-Retaliation Case Against Florida Officials?
Verdict
by Vikram David Amar, Jason Mazzone and Lena Shapiro
5d ago
In the space below, we raise and begin to analyze several interesting legal issues raised by the recent decision by a federal district court judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Disney Corporation against Florida officials for alleged retaliation (against Disney’s outspoken opposition to certain Florida laws and policies) by altering the structure of the board that regulates the land in which Disney World is located. Since many of the constitutional issues raised are complex (and somewhat unresolved by the U.S. Supreme Court), our thoughts today are in the nature of issue-spottin ..read more
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Of Embryos, Elections, and Elephants: Are Rights Always Zero-Sum?
Verdict
by Michael C. Dorf
6d ago
Last week’s decision by the Alabama Supreme Court in LePage v. Center for Reproductive Medicine, P.C., is most notable for its use of the extreme rhetoric of the fetal personhood movement—calling frozen embryos “extrauterine children,” for example. Joanna L. Grossman and Sarah F. Corning quite rightly called much of the reasoning of the opinion “nonsense.” To be sure, the particular result in LePage could be justified. Creating embryos via in vitro fertilization (IVF) requires substantial economic and bodily sacrifice. Hormone stimulation carries risks, and egg retrieval can be pain ..read more
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Alabama Should Not Be Allowed to Carry Out Another Nitrogen Hypoxia Execution
Verdict
by Austin Sarat
1w ago
David Phillip Wilson is on Alabama’s death row having been convicted and sentenced for killing Dewey Walker during a 2004 burglary at Walker’s home. The prosecution argued that Walker was attacked when he resisted the attempt by Wilson and three others to take his customized van and collection of rare coins. On February 15, Wilson filed suit in the United States District Court for The Middle District of Alabama claiming that the state’s plan to execute him by nitrogen gas violates the Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. His suit leans heavily on an account of ..read more
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The Gas Chamber, 100 Years of Cruelty
Verdict
by Austin Sarat
2w ago
One hundred years ago this month, the first gas chamber execution was carried out in the United States. On February 8, 1924, the state of Nevada used cyanide gas to put Gee Jon to death. In a cruel twist of history, in January of this year the state of Alabama revived the use of gas when it put Kenneth Smith to death. Over the course of the hundred years that separated Jon’s and Smith’s executions, the history of the gas chamber, as I noted in Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty, has been marked by claims that it would provide a painless death and a l ..read more
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Trump Lawyer Reads the Constitution Like a Secret Code Requiring Decryption
Verdict
by Michael C. Dorf
2w ago
During last week’s Supreme Court oral argument in Trump v. Anderson, a majority of the Justices appeared likely to reverse the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling that Donald Trump is ineligible to run in the state’s Republican Party Presidential primary because he “engaged in insurrection or rebellion,” thus disqualifying him under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. Exactly how the U.S. Supreme Court will reach that result remains to be seen. Trump’s lawyers have offered a grab-bag of possible rationales, eliciting varying responses from the Justices. For example, Chief Justice Joh ..read more
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The Supreme Court’s Oral Argument in Trump v. Anderson: The Court’s Seeming Failure to Understand Some Basic Starting Points
Verdict
by Vikram David Amar
2w ago
Last week’s Supreme Court oral argument in Trump v. Anderson was disconcerting. Perhaps, given the complexity of the case and the relatively little time the Justices had to prepare, we all ought not to be overly surprised or disappointed by the generally poor quality of the Justices’ lines of oral inquiry, but the stakes of the case (both symbolically and substantively) should have led to more careful interrogation. A low-quality oral argument does not mean, of course, that the Court will generate subpar written opinions, but because of the felt need to resolve the case soon (hence th ..read more
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Robert Hur’s Report on Biden Shows How Ageism Works
Verdict
by Austin Sarat
3w ago
Ageism is pervasive and ugly. As the American Psychological Association (APA) says, it is one of the “last socially acceptable prejudices.” Ageism is fueled by “negative and inaccurate stereotypes.” It is, as the APA puts it, “so ingrained in our culture that we often don’t even notice.” Yet it is impossible not to notice the ugliness of that prejudice in the pages of special counsel Robert Hur’s report of his investigation of Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents. That report went out of its way to highlight seemingly age-related problems that manifested themselves during ..read more
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Federal Jurisdiction and the Limited Liability Company: Should the Diversity Statute be Amended?
Verdict
by Meredith R. Miller and Laura Dooley
3w ago
The intersection of procedural and corporate law takes on tactical immediacy when it comes to the question of access to federal courts.  And it raises the question: should the diversity statute be amended to provide that litigants facing limited liability company (“LLC”) opponents need only be diverse from the LLC’s state of creation and principal place of business?  The answer may take direction from fundamental concepts in civil procedure and business law.  It also requires consideration of the conventional wisdom about who benefits from litigating in federal court an ..read more
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Look Away: How the Supreme Court Could Set Aside Trump’s Disqualification for Insurrection under the Fourteenth Amendment
Verdict
by Dean Falvy
1M ago
It’s 2028. Donald J. Trump, nearing the end of his second term as President of the United States, announces he will seek re-election to a third term. Dismissing complaints that this would violate the 22nd Amendment (“No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice”), Trump claims that the Amendment was only intended to apply to consecutive terms. He quotes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Trump v. Anderson (2024): “In our democracy, we must trust the people, not unelected judges, to choose our leaders.” Does that sound crazy? Like a bad d ..read more
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