"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Oral arguments to be posted online in Doe challenge

On February 22, 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari (in the sense in which that term is used in U.S. federal courts, rather than the public law relief denoted by the term in England and Ireland) in the case of McCorvey v Hill. Thus the Fifth Circuit's 2004 opinion, including Judge Edith Jones striking comments in her concurrence, stood. Basically, the Fifth Circuit held that procedural rules meant that McCorvey, the woman known as Roe in the seminal case of Roe v Wade, could not now seek to have that decision overturned. Judge Jones critical comments on the decision Roe were therefore entirely obiter.

On the same day in 1973 that Roe was decided, the Court also decided the less well known case of Doe v Bolton. The woman involved in that case applied in 2003 (32 years after she filed the original action) to have Doe set aside. Plaintiff Sandro Cano, like McCorvey, seems to have changed her mind. On January 11, 2006, in an appeal named Cano v Baker et al., the 11th Circuit held it couldn't touch Doe. Only the court of final resort, the Supreme Court, could do so. No surprise there. Her lawyers have now brought the case to Washington D.C.; on October 6th (a week today), the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear her case.

The oral arguments made before the Court - along with interjections from the bench - will be posted online "the same day they occur". This will be a general practice from now on apparently. There would seem to be little reason why the same could not be done in Ireland. Certainly it would be desirable when the Court sits with five or more members, in which instances the case is deemed of particular general importance.

Update (2.10pm.) SCOTUS blog was there well before me, with a more detailed note on Cano's case.


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