The Many Layers of the Ramos Case

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 11, 2018 (Erin Schaff/Reuters)
The big stakes behind why the Supreme Court’s unanimous-jury decision wasn’t unanimous

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he Supreme Court’s decision in Ramos v. Louisiana ruled that the Constitution requires a unanimous jury verdict to convict anyone accused of a serious crime. Most Americans probably thought this was already the law. It was generally accepted as the law when the Bill of Rights was written, and for a century thereafter. But two states, Louisiana and Oregon, have laws allowing convictions on a 10–2 vote, which survived a challenge in 1972 (Louisiana repealed its law in 2018 for new prosecutions). The Court’s 6–3 decision was written by Justice Gorsuch, over a dissent by Justice Alito that was joined


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