Writer: Ashley Bow
In a world filled with rising political tensions and an increasingly divided public, people can easily look to the president, the most well-known political figure as the sole outlet for governmental news. However, the rest of the government should not be forgotten.
As the congress labors over which bills to pass, so works the United States Supreme Court (USSC) on determining the constitutionality of even the most trivial supreme court cases. Below, I have listed the three court cases scheduled for October which I believe will be the most important.
16-424 CLASS V. UNITED STATES
Essentially, this case made it to the Supreme Court after Rodney Class, who pled guilty to a crime decided that his sentence lacked constitutionality. The District Court decided that Class had no right to claim a constitutional error when he pled guilty to the crime. Class then took the case to the US Supreme Court because in the USSC cases Blackledge v. Perry and Menna v. New York, the court decided that people could still raise a constitutional appeal if they didn’t question their guilt of the crime.
This case, scheduled for October 4th, will determine, for the foreseeable future, whether citizens who have already pled guilty may challenge what they believe to be a error in the interpretation of the constitution.
15-1204 JENNINGS V. RODRIGUEZ
Currently, there are a set of laws in place concerning whether non-citizens aliens should be allowed bond hearings rather than being detained by the police for indefinite periods of time. These paws include 8 U.S.C. 1226(a) which allows aliens to be released from jail during removal proceedings, 8 U.S.C. 1226(b), which specifies that aliens who seek admission but are found to be inadmissible at the US border receive no bond hearing whatsoever, and 8 U.S.C. 1226(c), which specifies that criminal aliens have no option for a bond hearing during the removal process.
The case came to the supreme court in order to determine whether this rejection of bond hearing opportunities for the aliens in question is legal. The argument made is that these people should be allowed bond hearings if they are being detained for six months or longer. The Supreme Court’s ruling on this decision, whether they determine that the constitution does or does not guarantee these people a bond hearing, will become the definitive outline for these people in the future.
16-6795 AYESTAS V. DAVIS
Carlos Ayestas is a death row inmate who filed for a federal habeas proceeding. While his case was pending, a memo from the Harris County District Court, stated that one of the reasons he should receive the death penalty is because he is not a citizen, was accidentally released. However, the lower federal courts did not put out the effort to investigate further into the ‘overt discrimination’ which was a main factor in putting Ayestas on death row. Continually, the Fifth Circuit denied Ayestas’ claim that he lacked the necessary resources to develop a claim about his Ineffective-Assistance-of-Counsel.
Now awaiting a supreme court hearing, Ayestas’ constitutional question is whether the Fifth Circuit erred in the decision to withhold assistance to him. In the future, this case could be used as a means to justify a harsher or more lenient policy governing the Ineffective-Assistance-of-Counsel claim of others.