The two friends of Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who removed a backpack and laptop from his dorm room after seeing his picture broadcast were arraigned in federal court Tuesday.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov are charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct. The entire proceedings took about five minutes, but fortunately there was time to get some sketches started before the defendants entered the courtroom.
Boston Marathon bombing suspect slumped in his chair, smirked and generally seemed to display an attitude in court today. The only sign of the injuries he suffered during his capture was a cast or bandage on his hand.
The hearing wasn't scheduled until 3:30 p.m., but a line had already formed by early morning.
We were allowed in the courtroom early and so had time to work on background, which helped since the arraignment proper lasted less than ten minutes.
To each count Tsarnaev responded, "not guilty".
Justice Kennedy had the first opinion, U.S. v Windsor, in which the Court found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
The second victory for same-sex marriage was by default in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts where the Court found that the petitioners in support of California's Proposition 8 lacked standing, thereby allowing the lower court's ruling to stand.
So much will be written about these decisions in the next few days that I won't bother linking to any one.
On the first day of what promises to be a steamy week in Washington, at least outside the Supreme Court building, the Court announced its opinion in a long awaited affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas.
When the case was argued back in October it appeared that the University's use of race as an admissions factor might be struck down.
Instead, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court said such programs must meet the test of "strict scrutiny" as well as being "narrowly tailored".
Surprisingly, for a case argued at the beginning of the term, there was but one dissenter in the 7-1 decision (Justice Kagan took no part), Justice Ginsburg.
"The Court rightly declines to cast off the equal protection framework ...", writes Ginsburg. "Yet it stops short of reaching the conclusion that (it) warrants."
Justice Alito took a sip from his coffee cup.
Among the Supreme Court decisions today was one that overturned an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. In an opinion announced by Justice Scalia the Court found that the federal Motor Voter law preempts Arizona's law.
Camera crews set up by the Supreme Court plaza on a steamy morning with thunderstorms, and even a possible derecho, forecast. Also in the forecast was the possibility of a major decision in one of the remaining twenty-three cases argued earlier in the term.
The Court did not dissapoint the court-watchers, delivering a far reaching opinion on the patenting of natural genes. In his opinion for the Court in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Justice Thomas said, “Myriad did not create anything.” However the Court also found that a synthetic version of the gene created by Myriad was patentable.
There now remain nineteen undecided cases.
No opinions today on any of the big Supreme Court cases everyone has been watching and waiting for, but we did get :
Horne v. Department of Agriculture, in which California raisin growers won the right to challenge the constitutionality of regulatory fees.......
..... and Peugh v. United States, where the Court agreed with Marvin Peugh that the longer sentence he received under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines that were revised upward after he committed his crime were an ex post facto violation.
The Court also announce a third opinion, a class arbitration case, but I didn't finish the sketch of Justice Kagan ....she sits so far away.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy today the Supreme Court said that taking a DNA sample from a suspect is the same as fingerprinting someone upon arrest, and that the purpose is indentification of the suspect.
“When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment," said Justice Kennedy.
"That assertion taxes the credulity of the credulous," said Justice Scalia in a dissent delivered from the bench. "In approving that suspicionless search, the Court has cast aside a bedrock rule of our Fourth Amendment ..."
The case is Maryland v. King
I got a last minute call to go to Philadelphia to sketch the sentencing of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell - a case I have not followed and therefore am thankfully unable to comment on - so I hit the road at 5:00 a.m. Arriving early I had a few minutes to do the sketch above before the courthouse openned.
After waiting several hours in the courtroom, sketching some of the evidence collected from Dr. Gosnell's, the sentencing itself was very brief.
You can read about it here.
NYT's Adam Liptak has the story here.
Robel Philipos, arrested last week and charged with making false statements, appeared before a federal magistrate in Boston. Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler allowed Philipos to go free on supervised bond. The above sketch shows Philipos with his lawyers and the magistrate as well as New York sketch and pleine-aire artist extraordinaire Jane Rosenberg in the right foreground.
Funny story told to me by Jane: Philipos' parents walked out of the courthouse with a young man not Robel, probably one of his friends pictured above. The cameras waiting outside assumed it was Robel and gave chase. Meanwhile, when the real Robel came to the front entrance accompanied by his lawyers the coast was clear. By the time the press caught on he was in the back seat of a car driving away.
Yesterday the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the U.S. government can require NGO's working overseas to fight HIV and AIDS to espouse an anti-prostitution policy as a requirement to receiving funds.
You can read about it here.
After federal employee Warren Hillman divorced his wife Judy Maretta and married Jaqueline Hillman he never changed the beneficiary on his life insurance. When he died the approximately $125,000. benefit went to his ex-wife.
Maybe, as Justice Breyer asked, "he secretly wants to leave the insurance in the name of his first wife while pretending to the second wife it was just an oversight."
Lyle Denniston covers the argument here.
The Supreme Court Justices had a tough time yesterday trying to balance the interests of a child, known as Baby Veronica, with the shameful history of removing American Indian children from their families. The Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, enacted in 1978, gives tribes a strong role in the adoption of Indian children.
In the case of Adoptive Parents v. Baby Girl an unwed mother gave up for adoption her child fathered by a part-Cherokee father. The father had expressed no interest in the upbringing of the child until he was informed of the adoption. After being raised by its adoptive parents for about a year the baby girl was transfered to her father who won custody in federal court under the ICWA.
Mark Walsh has the story here.