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Well said

Anne Reed summarizes her thoughts on the the dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Roberts in Abdul-Kabir v. Quarterman in Give Me Clarity or Give Me Death in her Deliberations blog.:

"The opinion that's being quoted everywhere, though, is Chief Justice Roberts's dissent. He argues that the law isn't clear, it's a mess -- in fact, a 'dog's breakfast':

'We give ourselves far too much credit in claiming that our sharply divided, ebbing and flowing decisions in this area gave rise to "clearly established" federal law. If the law were indeed clearly established by our decisions "as of the time of the relevant state-court decision," Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000), it should not take the Court more than a dozen pages of close analysis of plurality, concurring, and even dissenting opinions to explain what that "clearly established" law was. Ante, at 10-24. When the state courts considered these cases, our precedents did not provide them with "clearly established" law, but instead a dog's breakfast of divided, conflicting, and ever-changing analyses. That is how the Justices on this Court viewed the matter, as they shifted from being in the majority, plurality, concurrence, or dissent from case to case, repeatedly lamenting the failure of their colleagues to follow a consistent path.'

Commentators are chiming in to vote on who's right: the law is clear here, a disaster there. Meanwhile, two things are resonating with me. First, it's a lot to ask twelve jurors to unanimously apply death penalty law when nine Supreme Court justices cannot. But we knew that.

More troubling is what the Chief Justice's dissent comes down to. The Court's jurisprudence is a mess, he tells us . . . and so the defendant should die. I'm not sure I'd give that analysis to my dog."

The remainder of the blog post is well worth reading. For that matter, the entire blog provides an interesting look at juries and jury trials.

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