April ALA Speaker Erwin Chemerinsky Previews New Supreme Court Term

October 14, 2016 8:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
By Josh Wolff
Research Attorney, Illinois Appellate Court, First District

The Association’s April 2017 luncheon will feature Erwin Chemerinsky, the renowned legal scholar and dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Chemerinsky recently wrote an article for the ABA Journal, previewing the United States Supreme Court new term, which began on October 3.


Initially, Chemerinsky noted that, for the first time in 30 years, the Court will begin its new term with only eight justices. He also discussed the possibility that the Court goes the entire term without having a ninth justice, observing that if Donald Trump were to be elected president, “hearings would not likely be held until spring” and if Hillary Clinton were to be elected president, various possibilities exists including nominating someone other than Merrick Garland.


Chemerinsky divided the Court's new term into three major areas of law: race discrimination, criminal justice and constitutional rights.


Among the race discrimination cases is Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, which “concerns whether a jury verdict can be reconsidered after it is learned that one of the jurors expressed racial bias during deliberations.” Additionally, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris concern “the use of race in drawing election districts.”


Among the criminal justice cases is Moore v. Texas, which concerns how to determine “whether a person is intellectually disabled and thus cannot be executed.”


Finally, among the constitutional rights cases is Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley, which concerns “whether a state may deny aid to parochial schools that it provides to public and secular private schools in the state.” Additional, in Murr v. Wisconsin, the Court discuss “how to determine what constitutes a parcel of land for purposes of the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment.”

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