The U.S. Supreme Court has already handed down several major rulings this month, and none of them have been favorable to Democrats.
The nation’s highest court just delivered another ruling this week — and liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sided with conservatives in the historic 6-3 ruling.
The Supreme Court ruled that defendants in criminal trials can only be convicted by a unanimous jury, striking down a previous law that has been rejected by every state except one.
The court said in a divided opinion that the Constitution requires agreement among all members of a jury in order to impose a guilty verdict.
“Wherever we might look to determine what the term ‘trial by an impartial jury trial’ meant at the time of the Sixth Amendment’s adoption—whether it’s the common law, state practices in the founding era, or opinions and treatises written soon afterward—the answer is unmistakable. A jury must reach a unanimous verdict in order to convict,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in an opinion.
Five justices joined Gorsuch in ruling the practice unconstitutional.
Chief Justice John Roberts and two liberals — Justices Samuel Alito and Justice Elena Kagan — dissented from the decision.
Oregon is the only state in America where defendants can be convicted over the dissent of up to two jurors. Louisiana recently abandoned the practice.
The ruling overturns the 2016 conviction of a Louisiana man named Evangelisto Ramos. A jury by a 10-2 margin found him guilty of killing a woman in New Orleans. Two years after Ramos’s conviction, Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment getting rid of non-unanimous jury verdicts.
The new ruling likely means that Ramos could get a new trial.
Cohen, a lawyer with the Promise of Justice Initiative, said the Louisiana-based nonprofit is working to identify convicts in the state who are in prison despite non-unanimous jury verdicts.
The Supreme Court has already handed down several major rulings this month.
The nation’s highest court issued a 7-2 decision last week that gives federal appeals courts greater authority to review rulings by immigration courts and a Justice Department appeals panel that oversees those courts.
The SCOTUS recently ruled that the Trump administration can enforce the “remain in Mexico” policy.
Before that, the High Court ruled 5-4 in favor of tossing a lawsuit filed against a Texas border agent for shooting and killing a Mexican teenager.
In the other immigration case, the Court ruled 5-4 in favor of allowing the Trump administration to enforce its “public charge” immigration rule, which allows them to deny green cards to immigrants who would be dependent on government welfare for extended periods.
The SCOTUS also ruled 9-0 that there must actually be racism in racism cases.