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Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Batson Lives



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A number of decisions from the Supremes today, including two reversing murder convictions under the Batson doctrine, which holds that peremptory challenges during jury selection may not be exercised in a racially discriminatory manner. In one, Johnson v. California, Justices Scalia and Thomas part company–Justice Thomas being the sole dissenter arguing the proposition that Batson left the states lots of flexibility as to compliance with its test for determining whether a Batson claim is valid. The other decision, Miller-El v. Dretke, reversed a capital murder conviction (Thomas and Scalia were together in dissent, along with Chief Justice Rehnquist). It is lengthy and requires more study before responsible comment.



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