News Roundup

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Some of you aren’t getting email notifications of new posts. Sorry about that. Our IT folks are working to resolve the glitch, but it may take a little time. I’ll keep you informed. Meanwhile, the world keeps turning. Among the interesting news this week:

  1. In a development that is a surprise to exactly no one, the state has asked the state supreme court to review Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks’ ruling granting relief under the Racial Justice Act to Marcus Robinson. The state’s petition can be viewed here.
  2. Speaking of the state’s high court, Republican strategist Carter Wrenn argues here that behind the presidential race, “the second most watched race may not be the Governor’s race – it may be the race between Paul Newby and Sam Ervin for the lone Supreme Court seat [at issue in the election].” Why? Because the race could tip the ideological balance on the court, and, so the theory goes, the outcome of the Democrats’ redistricting lawsuit: “So, if Newby wins, Republicans in the House and Senate keep their districts and, the way they see it, control of the legislature for the next decade. The Democrats have figured out the same thing in reverse.” Sheesh.
  3. From our supreme court to the Supreme Court: the Justices are being asked to consider whether due process requires a state to provide an insanity defense to criminal charges. Four states — Kansas, Montana, Idaho and Utah – don’t have the defense, and a group of law professors is asking the Court to consider the constitutionality of that. Seems like there’s an Eighth Amendment issue, too. Pretty interesting stuff, even if not directly relevant to North Carolina, and it’s covered in greater depth here at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
  4. Keeping with the law professors theme, Brian Leiter at the University of Chicago has just highlighted this ranking of law faculties by their “scholarly impact,” which seems to mean how often each school’s faculty members are cited in the legal literature. The two North Carolina schools that were ranked were Duke (number 11) and UNC (number 33). The mighty UC – Irvine Anteaters outpaced both the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels at number 7, apparently pretty much exclusively based on the work of one person, former Duke professor Erwin Chemerinsky.
  5. Finally, thinking about law schools makes one think about the creation of new lawyers, which makes one think about whether we need additional attorneys. As is often said of Scripture, you can find support for any point of view in this infographic. It claims that 80% of the world’s lawyers live in the United States and that we devote more of our GDP to “tort costs” than any other country . .  . but it also shows that North Carolina has fewer lawyers per capita than almost any other state. Food for thought.
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