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Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court Review

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Aggravating Youth: Roper V Simmons And Age Discrimination, Elizabeth F. Emens Jan 2005

Aggravating Youth: Roper V Simmons And Age Discrimination, Elizabeth F. Emens

Faculty Scholarship

In Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court confronted a difficult question: Given that being younger than eighteen is merely a proxy for diminished culpability, why not let jurors decide whether youth mitigates the culpability of an individual sixteen- or seventeen-year-old offender? The Court's subtle answer draws on psychological literature about the differences between juveniles and adults, but ultimately depends as much on concerns about the mind of the adult juror as on the distinctive traits of juveniles. Read in its best light, Kennedy's opinion seems to turn on the insight that while age-based classifications are rational – they are ...


The Constitutional Principle Of Separation Of Powers, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 1991

The Constitutional Principle Of Separation Of Powers, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court has had many occasions in recent years to consider what it calls "the constitutional principle of separation of powers." The principle in question has been effusively praised and on occasion vigorously enforced. But just what is it? The Court clearly believes that the Constitution contains an organizing principle that is more than the sum of the specific clauses that govern relations among the branches. Yet notwithstanding the many testimonials to the importance of the principle, its content remains remarkably elusive.

The central problem, as many have observed, is that the Court has employed two very different conceptions ...