October 6th marks the opening of the new Supreme Court Term. The Court has already announced its intention to consider a number of interesting issues, including whether lower courts properly enjoined the use of sonar by the Navy in training exercises for having failed to conduct an environmental impact statement; whether the FCC can fine broadcast stations for “fleeting expletives” as a violation of federal restrictions on indecent language; whether a monument donated to a municipality and displayed in a public park constitutes government speech under the First Amendment; whether a lawsuit alleging that the Attorney General should be held personally liable for certain acts of discrimination carried out by subordinates in prosecuting the war on terror should have been allowed to go forward; whether the Immigration and Naturalization Act’s “persecutor exception” prohibits the granting of asylum to a refugee who was forced under threat of death to be a prison guard against his will; whether the Sixth Amendment requires facts necessary to impose consecutive sentences to have been found by a jury or admitted by the defendant; and whether federal law preempts state torts claims based on the labeling of cigarettes as light or the labeling of drugs the FDA had previously approved. In addition, the Court’s opening conference is scheduled for September 29, and it is expected to announce its grants of certiorari on a number of other cases shortly after that conference. Additionally, the Court is considering a petition to rehear Kennedy v. Lousiana, a case from last term in which it held that the death penalty is “cruel and unusual” if used as punishment for child rape. Audio and video recorded on October 2, 2008.
- Allyson Ho, Partner, Morgan Lewis
- William Otis, Former White House Special Counsel
- Virginia Seitz, Partner, Sidley Austin
- Kannon Shanmugam, Former Assistant to the Solicitor General
- George Terwilliger, White & Case; Former Deputy Attorney General
- Moderator: Terry Eastland, Publisher, The Weekly Standard
National Press Club