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To uphold the rule of law, US Supreme Court must act in Texas death penalty case


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To uphold the rule of law, US Supreme Court must act in Texas death penalty case

BY KENNETH W. STARR, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 12/23/21 02:00 PM EST  153

THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL

As a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, I know how difficult it can be to apply decisions of our nation’s highest court with which I disagreed. And yet the job of a judge is to uphold the rule of law. The importance of doing so goes beyond the merits of any individual case. It is a basic precept of our judicial system that “[f]ederal and state courts are absolutely bound by vertical precedents,” as 12 wise federal and state judges, including current Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, wrote in “The Law of Judicial Precedent” in 2016Regrettably, in a matter of life and death, the top criminal court in my home state of Texas does not appear to be following this foundational constitutional principle.

In 2020, in a case involving Texas death row prisoner Terence Tramaine Andrus, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Andrus’s trial lawyer had performed deficiently during his 2012 sentencing proceeding by failing to investigate and challenge the State’s case and by failing to investigate or present extensive mitigating evidence about Andrus’s background of abuse, poverty and mental illness.  :snip:    https://thehill.com/opinion/criminal-justice/587117-to-uphold-the-rule-of-law-us-supreme-court-must-act-in-texas-death?rnd=1640277656

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