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Shackling and C-Plea Sentencing

Other cases argued at the Supreme Court this week included one from California, United States v. Sanchez -Gomez, about the routine shackling of defendants in court,  and Hughes v. United States, in which a defendant who entered into a so-called “C-Plea” promising a below guidelines sentence is eligible for a reduction when the guidelines are lated reduced.

Of course, it’s never that simple. In Sanchez-Gomez the question before the justices is also whether the 9th Circuit has authority to review, and in Hughes it’s about what kind of precedent applies from the Court’s earlier plurality decisions.

Abortion, Speech, and . . . Contracts

It’s been awhile since the Supreme Court heard an abortion case, and while last Tuesday’s argument wasn’t exactly about abortion, it was.

In NIFLA v. Becerra the Court is considering a California law, the Reproductive Fact Act, that compels “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide information to clients including the availability of abortion. The pregnancy centers, whose real mission is pro-life/anti-abortion, say the act violates their First Amendment’s free speech rights.

 

The Constitution’s contracts clause was before the Court on Monday as the justices heard arguments in Sveen v. Melin about a state that law nullifies life insurance beneficiaries post-divorce. The dispute is between the children of Mark Sveen, who divorced four years before he died in 2011, and Sveen’s ex-wife, Kaye Melin.

If you’re wondering about Wednesday’s arguments, I wasn’t there. A snowstorm was rolling through and I, unlike the justices who are no snowflakes, decided not to chance the drive in from Baltimore.

 

 

This Week’S SCOTUS Sketches

A very busy week at the Court beginning with arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, one of the biggies in which the justices, now that are nine, are expected to deal a blow to public sector unions and their right to collect fees from non-members.

On Tuesday the Court heard arguments in two interesting cases, United States v. Microsoft, and Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach.      

The first of Tuesday’s arguments concerned emails stored on servers located in Ireland and whether a warrant served on Microsoft could reach the content of those emails.

The second argument on Tuesday saw the return of Fane Lozman, the gadfly of Riviera Beach. Remarkably, this is the second time Lozman has brought a case against the City of Riviera Beach all the way to the Supreme Court. During the 2012-2013 term the Court considered Lozman’s petition, and ruled in his favor, after the city took possession of his “house-boat” under admiralty law and sank it. This time around, Lozman is arguing for his First Amendment protect speech after being removed from a city council meeting and arrested in retaliation for his statements during the public-comments portion of the meeting.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend Wednesday’s arguments in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, Really sorry I missed that one, but I had to go sketch Manafort’s arraignment on a superseding indictment.