Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is SCOTUS Poised to Reconsider Almendarez-Torres?

That the question posed in this post at SCOTUSblog.  What prompted this speculation?
As noted here, the Court called for a response with respect to two petitions that ask the Court to reconsider Almendarez-Torres: Ayala-Segoviano v. United States, 10-5296, and Vazquez v. United States, 10-6117. Since the government filed briefs in opposition, the Court has relisted those cases three times, at the January 7, 14, and (apparently) 21 Conferences.
The post goes on to caution that "[i]t is impossible to know with any certainty what the repeated relists mean[,]" and adds that it may mean one or more of the Justices is preparing a dissent from a denial of cert.  In any event, the attention the Court is giving these two cases suggests that the panel majority in Pineda-Arrellano was wrong when it opined (in dicta) that challenges to Almendarez-Torres are frivolous.

(Incidentally, Ayala-Segoviano is a 1326 case, while Vazquez raises the issue with regard to the ACCA.)

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