Supreme Court correspondent Tony Mauro explores whether the conservative legacy President George W. Bush leaves behind at the Supreme Court is really the "shining success" it is often made out to be. Mauro digs into the dynamics of the Roberts Court, examining Bush appointments to the bench and high-profile cases before the Court since Bush was elected. In a "conservative paradise," Mauro writes, "the court would not have expanded habeas rights for Guantanamo detainees in Boumediene v. Bush and it would not have limited the application of the death penalty for defendants convicted of raping children.
In this week's Legal Times, Mauro also examines Wyeth v. Levine, the big pre-emption case set for argument today in the Supreme Court. Mauro begins the piece with Diana Levine saying, "I thought the case had to do with me.” The Vermont guitarist and songwriter sought compensation for losing her arm to gangrene stemming from the misapplication of a Wyeth company drug. As Mauro reports: "But here’s the bigger picture: whether a range of companies, aided by the Bush administration and the Supreme Court, should be able to use the pre-emption card to free themselves of the noisome product liability litigation they’ve been unable to contain through legislation and punitive damages challenges." A win for Wyeth would mark the broadest victory yet on pre-emption.
And on a lighter side, Justice Samuel Alito Jr. weighs in on the Philadelphia Phillies and the team's World Series win in an interview with Mauro. Yes, Justice Alito is a fan—so much so that he has turned his desk at the Court into what Mauro calls a "mini-shrine" to the Phillies. Alas, Alito was unable to attend the World Series. Alito said he was "living and dying with every pitch" as he watched the games on TV.
Voter groups are gearing up to unleash a veritable army of lawyers to monitor Tuesday's election, reports Joanna McCarthy. With memories of voting problems in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004, civil rights organizations, public interest groups, and private law firms are mobilizing lawyers for Election Day. Among other things, the Election Protection Coalition plans to set up a nationwide hotline to field calls about voting irregularities.
In an update on a murder that has gripped the D.C. legal community, the authorities are pressing forward in the murder investigation of Robert Wone, the prominent young lawyer who was fatally stabbed in 2006 in a Dupont Circle rowhouse, according to a report by Joe Palazzolo and Mike Scarcella. But the arrest of a man last week on an obstruction charge still leaves one question without a clear answer: motive. The police say Dylan Michael Ward—one of three men living at the home where Wone was killed—participated in a scheme with the other two men to hinder the homicide investigation. The other men, Arent Fox partner Joseph R. Price and his domestic partner, Victor Zaborsky, have not been charged. Ward, Price, and Zabrosky all deny having any role in the murder.