Legal News of the Day: This Week at the Supreme Court

This week, the Supreme Court will hear four oral arguments.

Today (Tuesday), the court will hear two cases concerning the scope of the right to counsel and other rights in death penalty cases in federal habeas courts, where the mental competency of the person convicted is in question.  The first, Tibbals v. Carter, has to do with competency and how long a federal habeas case can be delayed until an individual is found to be mentally competent to proceed.  The second, Ryan v. Gonzales, considers whether a indigent capital state inmate pursuing federal habeas relief can stay the federal habeas proceedings he initiated if he is not competent to assist counsel.  For an in-depth look at the background of these two cases, see this SCOTUSblog article.

Wednesday, the court will hear Fisher v. University of Texas, which will examined whether the University of Texas is permitted to use race in its admissions decisions.  For a preview of this argument, check out this article.   The court will also hear the oral arguments for Moncrieffe v. Holder; the case considers what the legal standard is for deporting a non-citizen convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana, when there is no evidence that he received any money in any transaction.  As one article has phrased it, the case will turn on whether facts matter in this type of case, or whether there is simply a “hard-and-fast” legal rule.

If you want to listen to the oral arguments from last week’s cases, visit the Oyez Project.