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Due process

Supreme Court of the United States

2013

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Fifty Years Before Brady, Colin Starger May 2013

Fifty Years Before Brady, Colin Starger

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In marking the fiftieth anniversary of Brady v. Maryland, a fitting way to appreciate the historic significance of Justice Douglas’ opinion for the Court is to turn back the pages another fifty years. Brady’s profound contribution to our criminal justice system becomes apparent by considering the impoverished state of the Supreme Court’s due process doctrine as it stood a century ago. In the fifty years that led up to Brady, the Court confronted a series of racially and politically charged cases that forced constitutional soul searching about due process in the face of rank injustice. The story of the Court’s …


The Virtue Of Obscurity, Colin Starger Jan 2013

The Virtue Of Obscurity, Colin Starger

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The critics have panned Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in United States v. Windsor. Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage have together bemoaned what may be called Kennedy’s “doctrinal obscurity” in Windsor. Doctrinal obscurity describes the opinion’s failure to justify striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) using any discernable accepted test for substantive due process or equal protection. Specifically, Kennedy does not ask whether DOMA burdens a right “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” nor does he identify sexual orientation as a suspect or semi-suspect classification, nor does he subject DOMA to explicit rational …