New Justice Brett Kavanaugh Hears Oral Arguments in Four Cases
The U.S. Supreme Court is back to full strength. On October 8, 2018, Brett M. Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th Justice of the Supreme Court.
The nine justices heard oral arguments in four cases this week, three of which involved the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). Because the federal statute imposes a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence on any federal firearms offender who also has three prior “serious” drug or “violent” felony convictions, the ACCA has resulted in significant legal challenges.
Immigration again took center stage at the Court.
Below is a brief summary of the specific issues before the Court:
- Stokeling v. United States: The issue in this ACCA involves what state law crimes of robbery should be considered prior “violent felonies” under the statute. The specific question is whether a state robbery offense that includes “as an element” the common law requirement of overcoming “victim resistance” is categorically a “violent felony” under the ACCA when the offense has been specifically interpreted by state appellate courts to require only slight force to overcome resistance.
- United States v. Stitt (consolidated with United States v. Sims): The ACCA does not define what constitutes burglary and state law definitions vary significantly, particularly with regard to what types of building or structure must be invaded. Accordingly, the case involves whether the burglary of a nonpermanent or mobile structure that is adapted or used for overnight accommodation can qualify as “burglary” under the statute.
- Nielsen v. Preap: Mandatory detention of illegal aliens is back before the Court this term. The justices must now consider whether a criminal alien becomes exempt from mandatory detention under 8 U.S.C. 1226(c) if, after the alien is released from criminal custody, the Department of Homeland Security does not take him into immigration custody immediately.
- Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. Devries: The maritime law case involves injuries suffered by members of the U.S. Navy, which occurred while they were at sea. The question the justices must decide is can products-liability defendants be held liable under maritime law for injuries caused by products that they did not make, sell, or distribute
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Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.