Wednesday, September 9, 2020

More SCOTUS musings

Law360 has Mark Chopko and Karl Myers in 4 Ways Amicus Briefs Can Support An Overall Legal Strategy, a nice piece with these four key headings: (1) To urge the right answer; (2) to highlight a case's importance; (3) to advance an issue in the context or background of the case; (4) to advance the amicus's own cause or case. The article concludes: "The strategic use of amicus briefs by organizations can help an appellate court think about a case in a new way, lift an organization's own cause, dispute or reputation for legal thought, or point a court in a new direction. Briefs that embrace these themes satisfy the substance of the court's rule that an amicus participant should advance "relevant matter not already brought to its attention by the parties" rather than simply replicate a party's argument. When that happens, even the courts will concede it is good to have such a friend."

Today's DJ has Justice Hoffstadt's Hit or miss: Is that the question? about how next month, SCOTUS will consider when police can use deadly force. Test your Con Law chops by considering whether the 4th Amendment applies in these three hypos:

Hypo No. 1: A cop shoots at a suspect, hits the suspect with a bullet and kills the suspect.
Hypo No. 2: A cop shoots at a suspect, misses the suspect, and the suspect gets away.
Hypo No. 3: A cop shoots a suspect and hits the suspect with a bullet, but the suspect is still able to flee.

The piece concludes:

The outcome of Torres -- and the path the court travels -- is critical. If the court determines there is no "seizure," the Fourth Amendment will not apply at all and the use of deadly force when a suspect gets away will not be regulated by the courts.

Either way, Torres will not end the national conversation, but it will certainly inform it.