The Supreme Court released its opinion today in Graham v. Florida, ruling that juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicide may not be sentenced to life sentences without the possibility of parole. In the 5-4 majority opinion in Graham, Justice Kennedy wrote, ''The state has denied him any chance to later demonstrate that he is
fit to rejoin society based solely on a nonhomicide crime that he
committed while he was a child in the eyes of the law. This the Eighth Amendment does
not permit.'' Although the Court heard oral arguments in the case of Joe Sullivan, another Florida juvenile sentenced to life without parole, the Court did not issue an opinion in the Sullivan case. For more information about the Graham case, check out the New York Times coverage or this Wall Street Journal article.
Professors Connie de la Vega and Michelle Leighton were co-authors of the SCOTUS amicus curiae brief submitted by Amnesty International in the Graham and Sullivan cases, arguing that the Court should consider international law and opinion when applying the Eighth Amendment to life sentences without parole for juveniles. Congratulations to our faculty members!
If you're feeling overwhelmed by
the flood of information about Elena Kagan and her nomination to the Supreme
Court, try these sites. They'll give you major news stories, key background
information, and some analysis — all without drowning you.
How Appealing — for links to
mainstream and legal news about the Kagan nomination.
ScotusBlog — for its own news and
analysis, as well as selected links to other sources.
The Georgetown law library's Supreme Court
Nomination Guide —
for a variety of info, including: transcripts and other documents from Kagan's Solictor General confirmation proceedings; a list of books and articles by the nominee (with links to free sources); video of selected speeches, basic biographical information. The folks at Georgetown will keep this guide updated as the confirmation process unfolds and more interesting material comes to light. [Hat tip to Sara Sampson, Head of Reference at
[update, 5.17.10] After ZiefBrief went to press with this post, two more great Kagan collections appeared: