Tainted Trial

Look who dissented on this Supreme Court ruling to overturn a death penalty case in Louisiana.  Racial issues are so pervasive, diverse and multi-layered.  Excuse the pun, bit I think it’s a big mistake to think it’s an either/or, black/white situation.


2 Responses to Tainted Trial

  1. laurabethnielsen says:

    I thought about posting about this myself. It is really interesting. Justice Thomas does things all the time that are inconsistent with the preferences of the majority of African-Americans.

    But then sometimes, he really surprises me. Like in Virginia vs. Black. In that case, the majority of the court determined that a ban on cross burning when done with the intent to intimidate does not violate the first amendment. The majority then split on who has to decide “with the intent to intimidate.” The plurality said that determination had to be made by the finder of fact (judge or jury), but Justice Thomas said essentially, “DUH!! Cross burning is always done with the intent to intimidate – no finding of fact required; it can be assumed.”

    But here he says that a death penalty jury for an African-American defendant need not include any african-americans. And not just by coincidence, by design.

    At least it came out right even with his dissent.

  2. nobamakoolaid says:

    I want to be careful not to sound like a Thomas defender. I believe this decision was correct and hope lawyers on both sides of the bar will take notice. The potential problem with this ruling is that it may sometimes appear to a biased party that potential jurors are struck because of race when in actuality race may have been a complete nonfactor. Justice Thomas has consistently and even to a fault been a states’ rights kind of guy. On the surface, I do see the argument that he is making. In reality, the Supremes have had to step in and correct racial wrongs time and time again, especially in the South. Justice Thomas would do well to spend more time in the real world instead of in his fantasy cocoon.

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