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Here's What the 4-4 Supreme Court Has on Docket

Up first: frogs; at least for now, few hot-button issues are at stake
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2018 8:00 AM CDT
The Supreme Court building is seen on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – It's the first Monday in October, which means the Supreme Court will be gaveled into session for its new term—even if the fate of the ninth potential justice remains in limbo. The general consensus in coverage is that the upcoming docket is relatively tame in terms of hot-button issues, though that could change as the term proceeds. In fact, the strategy might be intentional. "This makes me think that the justices were aware of [Anthony] Kennedy's likely departure when they starting granting cases for this term," court observer Adam Feldman tells Fox News. And the justices likely anticipated a vacant seat, at least in the early days of the term. Here are some of the bigger cases on tap for now:

  • Frogs: The timber company Weyerhauser objects to land in Louisiana being declared off limits for the protection of the dusky gopher frog, reports NPR. Only 75 of the frogs remain in existence, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to relocate some to a forest owned by Weyerhauser.

  • Death row: The justices will hear a case out of Alabama in which a murderer with dementia is scheduled to be executed. Vernon Madison's defenders say he can't remember killing a police officer, and the execution would thus be cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Double jeopardy: In Gamble v. United States, the court will look at double jeopardy, and whether states can prosecute a person for a crime independent of the federal government. The reason it matters? If President Trump pardons someone at the federal level, the person could still face state charges over the same offense, explains the New York Times.
  • The list: For a thorough list of upcoming cases, see Law.com.
(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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