New Hits from the Supremes?

 There are several important cases in the docket for the Supreme Court, the question is will their decisions be a hit parade for conservatives, or will they be sent to the cut-out bin of legal history? Let me lay out what’s there now, what led up to it, and some thoughts, then you decide.

 In a sure-fire hit for the right today the justices upheld the State of Kansas’s death penalty law, however the B side of the record is their previous ruling on appeals earlier in June. If you value life, then you have to allow for certainty, so I’m not thoroughly against the prior ruling that allows DNA evidence, and appeals based on the lethal injection process.

(AP) – WASHINGTON-New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke a tie Monday to rule that Kansas’ death penalty law is constitutional.

By a 5-to-4 vote, the justices said the Kansas Supreme Court incorrectly interpreted the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment to strike down the state’s death penalty statute.

The big case of this session, and possibly their biggest hit in a long time will be the Hamdan case. Hamdan was Osama Bin Laden’s driver.

While he’s being painted as an innocent bystander by some, as if Osama had hailed a cab and it just happened to be Hamdan’s, let’s get real a moment. Suppose for a moment that the KBG, most world governments, the Saudi’s, and several tribal leaders hate you and want you dead. Are you going to pick just any goober off the street as your driver? I don’t think so.

Hamdan was a bodyguard without doubt, and probably went through every training regimen that the Taliban and Al Qaeda had. As a driver he was probably privy to a lot of conversations, and probably had knowledge of several terror attacks, so the conspiracy charge is fitting.

The outcome of the Hamdan case before The Supremes now will decide how Gitmo gets emptied. Whether military tribunals, civilian courts, or courts martial are used to determine the cases, as well as the form of military tribunal if that is ruled the legal method. This decision is expected soon, and it could get things moving at Gitmo very quickly.

AP) – SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico-A former driver for Osama bin Laden may help decide the fate of dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and perhaps all of them, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on his legal challenge to the first U.S. war crimes trials since World War II.

The court, which is expected to rule as early as Monday, is considering a range of issues in Salim Ahmed Hamdan’s case, including whether U.S. President George W. Bush had the authority to order military trials for men captured in the war on terror and sent to the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba…

…”Bush can close Guantanamo, but this (court) decision can’t,” said Ben Wizner, an ACLU attorney who monitors Guantanamo. “That’s not a question before this court.”

The ruling, however, could determine whether the government can proceed with military trials for Hamdan and nine other detainees who have been charged with crimes.

Air Force Col. Morris Davis, the chief Guantanamo prosecutor, said about 65 more detainees being held at the U.S. base are likely to be charged with crimes if the Supreme Court upholds the process.

Prosecutors are preparing additional charges, including some that could incur the death penalty, Davis told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Washington.

“We’re pressing on, anticipating a favorable decision,” he said.

His military-appointed attorney, Navy Lt. Cmdr Charles Swift, said the lawsuit is aimed at moving the case to the civilian court system or to a traditional military court-martial. Lawyers for several defendants contend the tribunals lack guidelines and favor the prosecution.

The Supreme Court was also asked to consider whether fair trial provisions of the Geneva Conventions apply to the military tribunals.

Another issue is whether the Supreme Court even has a say in the matter. The administration argues the Detainee Treatment Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by Bush on Dec. 30, strips the federal courts of much of their jurisdiction over Guantanamo detainees.

So shortly we could have some of the worst offenders sentenced to life, hung, shot, or administered other punishment befitting terrorists. The scary part is that Roberts must recuse him selve from the Hamdan case, having been involved with it prior to his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

 The Supes are also about to judge a case on the clean air act, and whether it covers global warming, which should prove interesting.

AP) – WASHINGTON-The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider whether the Bush administration must regulate carbon dioxide to combat global warming, setting up what could be one of the court’s most important decisions on the environment.

A dozen states, a number of cities and various environmental groups asked the court to take up the case after a divided lower court ruled against them.

Reminder of another past cut out bin special from the court:

A revolt that began when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld government’s right to take private property for economic development a year ago is sweeping much of the nation.

Legislatures in 25 states, as well as numerous local governments, including at least seven in California, have passed a variety of laws and ordinances to blunt the court’s June 2005 ruling that the city of New London, Conn., was justified in using the legal process known as eminent domain to seize private land for a different owner to develop a hotel, condominiums and commercial space.

Property rights activists in 11 states, including California, also are responding to the ruling, called Kelo vs. City of New London, by supporting ballot initiatives to restrict land seizures and protect landowners. But California’s proposed Protect Our Homes Act may be the most controversial.

“This is one of the most dynamic issues in urban policy in decades,” said Sam Staley, director of urban and land use policy for the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Los Angeles. “I would never have predicted before Kelo the kind of reaction we’ve seen in the state legislatures.”

This is only slightly better than the Chicoms treat emminent domain cases.

Here’s some more on the shape of the court, their record to-date from myway here.