Alito Splits With Conservatives on Death-Row Inmate

Feb 10, 2000
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From Yahoo!:

WASHINGTON - New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito split with the court's conservatives Wednesday night, refusing to let Missouri execute a death-row inmate contesting lethal injection.

Alito, handling his first case, sided with inmate Michael Taylor, who had won a stay from an appeals court earlier in the evening. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas supported lifting the stay, but Alito joined the remaining five members in turning down Missouri's last-minute request to allow a midnight execution . . .

This is probably not a Big Deal, but it's interesting to me, and suggests that Justice Alito may be a freer thinker than we (or President Bush) thought. It's definitely premature to start presuming anything, but we may yet have another O'Connor, if not another Stevens (also appointed by a Republican, Ford).



 

glenn1

Lifer
Sep 6, 2000
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This is probably not a Big Deal, but it's interesting to me, and suggests that Justice Alito may be a freer thinker than we (or President Bush) thought. It's definitely premature to start presuming anything, but we may yet have another O'Connor, if not another Stevens (also appointed by a Republican, Ford).

Possible. Of course, if you were of a conspiracy theory mind, wouldn't the USSC accepting the case and subsequently ruling for (and issuing a strong opinion backing) the constitutionality of lethal injection further strengthen the ruling of the Appeals Court, and essentially take the issue off the table forever?

 
Feb 10, 2000
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Originally posted by: glenn1

Possible. Of course, if you were of a conspiracy theory mind, wouldn't the USSC accepting the case and subsequently ruling for (and issuing a strong opinion backing) the constitutionality of lethal injection further strengthen the ruling of the Appeals Court, and essentially take the issue off the table forever?

:confused:

This was an emergency appeal. I don't believe the Court even publishes opinions on these cases, so there'll be no opportunity to analyze the constitutionality of the means of execution (not to mention the fact that this issue isn't even before the Court).
 

zendari

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May 27, 2005
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The man has been on the court for some 24 hours. You can hardly order an execution without first reviewing the facts.

I trust his judgement.
 
Feb 10, 2000
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Originally posted by: zendari
The man has been on the court for some 24 hours. You can hardly order an execution without first reviewing the facts.

I trust his judgement.

You won't be saying that if he DOES turn out to be another Stevens. The Court routinely decides these kinds of emergency appeals quickly, and they're not ordering an execution if they vote, as Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts did, not to intervene.
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
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I wouldn't be too surprised if Alito isn't exactly the great hope of the far right. While I know some people are worried, there is a long history of Supreme Court justices turning out quite differently than their political supporters were hoping for...or than their detractors were fearing. It makes sense when you think about it, most of the peole who make it to the Supreme Court are reasonably intelligent individuals. And if there is one thing I've learned about intelligent people, it's that they don't tend to be tied to partisan politics as much as what their thoughtful analysis tells them is the right thing for the moment. Whatever political views Alito has, I think he's a pretty smart guy. Really, I'd rather have a smart righty than a dumb lefty. Of course I'd rather have a SMART lefty, but at the end of the day, I think the first word is the most important one.
 

totalcommand

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Apr 21, 2004
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does zendari have a point don? maybe he didn't have a chance to review the case (i.e. too hungover from his approval party yesterday?)
 

zendari

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May 27, 2005
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Originally posted by: DonVito
Originally posted by: zendari
The man has been on the court for some 24 hours. You can hardly order an execution without first reviewing the facts.

I trust his judgement.

You won't be saying that if he DOES turn out to be another Stevens. The Court routinely decides these kinds of emergency appeals quickly, and they're not ordering an execution if they vote, as Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts did, not to intervene.

When did he have time to review the appeal?
 

jlmadyson

Platinum Member
Aug 13, 2004
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Sam Alito, fair and open minded, never. heh Sam Alito deserved the opportunity to sit on the high court and was rightly confirmed. Certainly nothing wrong at taking a look at the facts of the case when a man's life is at stake.

:thumbsup:
 

Ferocious

Diamond Member
Feb 16, 2000
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umm there was already five votes for the stay.

His vote was irrevelant...except for public opinion purposes...and apparantly it has worked.
 

GroundedSailor

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Feb 18, 2001
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Originally posted by: DonVito
This is probably not a Big Deal, but it's interesting to me, and suggests that Justice Alito may be a freer thinker than we (or President Bush) thought. It's definitely premature to start presuming anything, but we may yet have another O'Connor, if not another Stevens (also appointed by a Republican, Ford).

One can only hope. :D

He does come across as an intelligent person and someone who thinks things through. Throw in a bit of compassion for the fellow human being and a certain mellowing with age you might find your wish come true.


 
Feb 10, 2000
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Originally posted by: zendari

When did he have time to review the appeal?

The appeal by the State of Missouri (the 8th Circuit had stayed the execution earlier today) only reached the Court earlier this evening. That is in the nature of an emergency death-penalty appeal. He had the same time as the other justices to review it.
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
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Originally posted by: Ferocious
umm there was already five votes for the stay.

His vote was irrevelant...except for public opinion purposes...and apparantly it has worked.

We'll see. Like DonVito said, could be nothing, could be a sign of more to come.
 
Feb 10, 2000
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Originally posted by: Ferocious
umm there was already five votes for the stay.

His vote was irrevelant...except for public opinion purposes...and apparantly it has worked.

Even assuming he knew of the other five votes before he committed to his own (which is a leap on your part), it would be an odd public-opinion vote, in that it will piss off a meaningful percentage of President Bush's base. My guess is that the Freepers are already whining about it.
 

EagleKeeper

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Oct 30, 2000
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Originally posted by: Ferocious
umm there was already five votes for the stay.

His vote was irrevelant...except for public opinion purposes...and apparantly it has worked.

Are the votes made available to the other justices before they are anounced.

IF not; by the numbers it would seem to mean nothing; but without knowing the stance it would indicate that he felt that something needed to be looked at; not just public posturing.

 

jlmadyson

Platinum Member
Aug 13, 2004
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Originally posted by: DonVito
Originally posted by: Ferocious
umm there was already five votes for the stay.

His vote was irrevelant...except for public opinion purposes...and apparantly it has worked.

Even assuming he knew of the other five votes before he committed to his own (which is a leap on your part), it would be an odd public-opinion vote, in that it will piss off a meaningful percentage of President Bush's base. My guess is that the Freepers are already whining about it.

Actually no, doesn't piss me off at all. He is following his best judement what more can you ask of the man.
 

maluckey

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Jan 31, 2003
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DVK916

The Catholic Church does not rule out the death penalty, though it has some very strict guidelines as far as it's support. These are the major points...

The first is that that the accused must show no remorse. Second, that he accused will likely do it again, and finally that the threat should this person get out is too great to justify the course of incarceration.

If these conditions are met, the Church will not interfere or opine against Capital Punishment. It has rarely happened.
 
Feb 10, 2000
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Originally posted by: EagleKeeper

Are the votes made available to the other justices before they are anounced.

IF not; by the numbers it would seem to mean nothing; but without knowing the stance it would indicate that he felt that something needed to be looked at; not just public posturing.

Ordinarily I think they discuss their votes in closed deliberations, then the Chief Justice assigns the case to a prevailing Justice to write the opinion. Honestly I have no idea how they handle these emergency appeals, though. I imagine, but don't honestly know, that they discuss their votes behind closed doors before issuing the final tally - this gives the Justices an opportunity to discuss the case and convince one another.
 

zendari

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May 27, 2005
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Originally posted by: DonVito
Originally posted by: zendari

When did he have time to review the appeal?

The appeal by the State of Missouri (the 8th Circuit had stayed the execution earlier today) only reached the Court earlier this evening. That is in the nature of an emergency death-penalty appeal. He had the same time as the other justices to review it.

Assuming he had time, between moving into his newe office and all, doesn't bother me. Even Scalia and Thomas disagree some 20% of the time.
 

chowderhead

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Dec 7, 1999
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Originally posted by: DonVito
Originally posted by: EagleKeeper

Are the votes made available to the other justices before they are anounced.

IF not; by the numbers it would seem to mean nothing; but without knowing the stance it would indicate that he felt that something needed to be looked at; not just public posturing.

Ordinarily I think they discuss their votes in closed deliberations, then the Chief Justice assigns the case to a prevailing Justice to write the opinion. Honestly I have no idea how they handle these emergency appeals, though. I imagine, but don't honestly know, that they discuss their votes behind closed doors before issuing the final tally - this gives the Justices an opportunity to discuss the case and convince one another.

As I understand it, the judges discuss the case and then the Chief calls for a vote. The most junior Justice (Alito) votes first, then everyone else in order of seniority with the Chief Justice voting last. If the Chief votes with the majority, he can assign somone in the majority to write the opinion. If he is in the minority, the senior-most judge in the majority assigns the majority decision. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how Alito continues to vote.
 

joshw10

Senior member
Feb 16, 2004
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does it really matter, isnt the guy going to be executed in like 2 days anyway?
 

ntdz

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Aug 5, 2004
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Originally posted by: DVK916
This is probably due to him being a catholic and thus against the DP

I don't think his personal view on the death penalty has anything to do with his ruling in this case.
 

LumbergTech

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2005
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Originally posted by: ntdz
Originally posted by: DVK916
This is probably due to him being a catholic and thus against the DP

I don't think his personal view on the death penalty has anything to do with his ruling in this case.

i would tend to agree
 

jlmadyson

Platinum Member
Aug 13, 2004
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Originally posted by: joshw10
does it really matter, isnt the guy going to be executed in like 2 days anyway?

Relevant point but maybe, maybe not. The key to this is that it is a stay and thus there will be a full review of the case.