McCutcheon v. FEC involved a First Amendment challenge to the constitutionality of campaign finance legislation that established aggregate contribution limits in federal elections. Federal law permitted an individual to make a total of $123,200 in contributions in each two-year election cycle ($48,600 to candidates and $74,600 to parties and non-party political committees). The district court rejected Shaun McCutcheon’s challenge to the aggregate limits, and the Supreme Court noted probable jurisdiction.
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On June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment requires state and local governments to respect the Second Amendment. CAC had urged this result in our brief, arguing that the individual right to bear arms, recognized in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), is “incorporated” against state action via the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment.
At issue in Medina v. Arizona was whether an autopsy report created as part of a homicide investigation is considered “testimonial” under the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause, which guarantees a criminal defendant the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”
Michigan v. EPA involved a challenge to the EPA’s Air Toxics Rule—a regulation that addresses the risks associated with the emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) like mercury and arsenic from coal- and oil-fired power plants.
On September 4th, 2012, CAC filed an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court in support of the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in Miller v. Louisiana. In 2003, petitioner Corey Miller was convicted of murder in the second degree by a 10-2 jury vote. Louisiana is one of just two states that permit conviction by a non-unanimous jury. Miller, a recording artist, had been found guilty of the shooting death of a 16-year-old fan during an altercation outside a Baton Rouge nightclub.
CAC’s brief urges the Supreme Court to reaffirm that the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury requires that a criminal conviction be based on a unanimous jury verdict, and that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to recognize that right. The brief cites constitutional text and history on both points. Founders from John Adams to James Madison understood jury unanimity to be a bulwark of liberty, as essential to the jury trial right as the right to a jury of one’s neighbors and peers. The framers of the Fourteenth Amendment, which applied the guarantees of the Bill of Rights to the states, specifically mentioned the right to a jury trial as one of the fundamental rights newly protected against state infringement.
On February 19, 2013, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case.
Montgomery v. Louisiana addressed whether the Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling in Miller v. Alabama, which held that sentencing schemes that mandate life without the possibility of parole for juveniles are unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment, created a new substantive rule that applies retroactively to cases on collateral review.
In Moore v. Texas, the Supreme Court was asked to decide, among other things, whether the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment is violated by the execution of an inmate after an extended period of incarceration, especially when much of that time has been spent in solitary confinement.
On October 7, 2010, the en banc Ninth Circuit held, in an unsigned and flawed per curiam opinion, that “a section 2 Voting Rights Act challenge to a felon disenfranchisement law based on the operation of a state’s criminal justice system must at least show that the criminal justice system is infected by intentional discrimination or that the felon disenfranchisement law was enacted with such intent.”