On the docket for today: Federalism

Monday, October 7, 2019
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

U.S. Supreme CourtIt's a new term for the U.S. Supreme Court, and one legal fellow says federalism is a big issue in today's cases.

The issue in Kahler v. Kansas is whether the Eighth and 14th Amendments permit a state to abolish the insanity defense.

"That's an important case because it deals with the scope of states' powers in the area of criminal law and their ability to define their criminal laws and define what sort of affirmative defenses they will and will not allow," thinks Elizabeth Slattery, legal fellow for The Heritage Foundation.

Another case today, Ramos v. Louisiana, explores whether the 14th Amendment incorporates the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a unanimous verdict.

Slattery

"In the federal system, we require unanimity. But throughout our history, some states have had non-unanimous juries as part of their system, so it's another sort of federalism issue -- both that and the insanity defense system," says Slattery. "These may not be front-page news for most Americans, but they're important for federalism reasons."

Today marks the start of the third term for Justice Neil Gorsuch. This will be the second term for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Both justices were nominated by President Donald Trump.

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