Monday, October 5, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court Tomorrow

On the second day of its new Term the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in three cases tomorrow.

Section 48 of Title 18 of the United States Code prohibits the creation, sale, or possession of a depiction of a live animal being intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed, when the depiction lacks serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value. The question before the Court in U.S. v. Stevens is whether the statute is, under the First Amendment Free Speech Clause, invalid on its face. The case is one of the Term's major free speech cases and has attracted 21 amicus briefs.

The Court will also hear two criminal cases tomorrow. In Johnson v. United States, the Court will interpret the meaning of "violent offender" under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. In Bloate v. United States, the Court will address the requirement of the federal Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161, that a defendant be placed on trial within 70 days of his indictment. The question is whether the time consumed by the preparation of pretrial motions is excluded when calculating the 70 day period.

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