Posts Tagged ‘5th Amendment’

WHAT HAPPENED? Texas passed a law that raised standards on facilities performing abortions.  Provisions included having a physician who had attending privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and requiring that clinics have the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.  In response to these requirements, most of the abortion clinics in Texas closed down.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT?  The Supreme Court has held that any law that puts an “undue burden” on a women’s right to choose violates the 5th Amendment.  This law, which could be argued is intended to increase the standards for abortion clinics, creates an undue burden not on the face of the law, but in the effect that the law has on women in Texas.

WHAT IS THE RULING?  This case is not yet decided.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS?  The ramifications in both directions are fairly significant.  If the Abortion Clinics win, it adds an extra wrinkle to the “undue burden” test, that allows the Court to consider the effect of the law instead of just its intent.  If Texas wins, state government seeking sneaky ways to restrict abortion rights have the roadmap to doing so.

ROOT FOR WHOLE WOMEN’S HEALTH IF:  You a pro-choice advocate who doesn’t trust the government to follow directions on abortion, and/or admit defeat.

ROOT FOR TEXAS IF:  You are a pro-life advocate living in the middle of no where.



Defendant was charged in U.S. Federal Court with trafficking weapons and ammunition.   Shortly afterward, he faced charged in Puerto Rico based on the same set of facts.   Defendant moved to have his charges dropped based on the Double Jeopardy clause, and the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico granted Defendant’s motion dismissing the charges.


Under the 5th Amendment, U.S. citizens enjoy protections under the Double Jeopardy Clause, which prevents someone from facing subsequent criminal prosecutions for the same action.  This rule has its caveats though, and one of those includes the fact that Double Jeopardy only applies to individual sovereigns, meaning that different States, or the State and Federal government, may bring subsequent criminal charges in their own jurisdiction.  The issue therefore becomes whether or not Puerto Rico is a separate sovereign than the Federal Government, which feels like a question we should have had an answer to before January 2016.


This case is not yet decided.


You could take this case in one of two ways.  On a smaller scale, the Supreme Court has already ruled in Puerto Rico v. Castro Garcia that Double Jeopardy does not bar retrial for Puerto Rico, so the Court could rely on precedent and simply carve out a specific rule only in the context of the Double Jeopardy doctrine and leave the decision regarding Puerto Rico’s sovereignty for another day.  If you are prone to hyperbole, this case could single-handedly appoint Puerto Rico as the 51st State, thus finding new ways for people to hate the Supreme Court.


You enjoy deft issue-dodging and ignoring the elephant in the room.  You also think that this way over the Supreme Court’s head.


You enjoy the maxim(s) “Better late than never” and “If you want something done you have to do it yourself”.  You also like fiery dissents.


Luis v. US

Posted: October 14, 2015 by beguide in case summaries, Criminal Procedure, Forfeiture
Tags: ,

WHAT HAPPENED:  Luis was arrested on charges of Medicare fraud to the tune of millions and millions of dollars.  As part of her arrest, the FBI froze her accounts, which had a similar tune of millions and millions of dollars.
WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  Under the 5th and 6th Amendment, criminal defendants are entitled to an attorney as part of their Due Process and Fair Trial rights.  It should be noted; however, those rights only give you an attorney, and not the best attorney or even a good attorney.  Luis argues that the freezing of her accounts denied her rights under the 5th and 6th amendment because she could not afford her attorney of choice.
WHAT IS THE RULING:  This case is not yet decided.
WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THE DECISION:  The ramifications apply more to the concept of asset/civil forfeiture, which is the process under which the government seizes assets usually at the time of your arrest that the State believes are the product of criminal activity.  This practice has recently come under fire due to the fact that getting those assets back is not subject to the same protections a criminal defendant is afforded, and the State can often obtain ownership of the assets because of the complicated procedures that come along with fighting forfeiture.  On the furthest edge of possibility, this case could expand the meanings of a “right to attorney” under the 5th and 6th amendment to include a “right to an attorney of your choice”, but the implications of that seem a bit too far-reaching even for the most liberal of justices.
YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR LUIS IF:  You can ignore the fact that this case involves a millionaire accused of fraud, and instead see that this also applies to people with less assets who are subject to the same forfeiture regulations.
YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE US IF:  You favor a basic reading of the Constitution that does not expand the existing rights we have to solve ancillary problems that likely require some form of attention from the Supreme Court.  In other words, you make up at least 4/9ths of the current supreme court.