Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hank Skinner Update: Tomorrow May Be the Day

Sunday, 16 May 2010

I think tomorrow is the day Hank Skinner will learn whether or not the Supreme Court will consider in full court his request for a writ of certiorari.

Seven weeks ago I predicted, based primarily upon my utter ignorance of Supreme Court procedures, that the Supremes would not respond to Hank Skinner's request for a writ in less than a month. (I also explained what a writ of certiorari was, and I seem to have gotten it correct. It was one of my more lucid moments.) Others were saying the Supreme Court might reply within days or weeks, but I was confident no bureaucracy could respond faster than Texas when it finally has the opportunity to execute someone.  Even in Texas, that process takes a month from signing the death warrant to pushing the needle.

One month after my uninformed prediction, the Supremes ruled against a bunch of appellants but postponed a decision on Hank's case for one week. That week passed, and the Supremes then ruled against another bunch of appellants but postponed a decision on Hank's case for two more weeks. It's now been seven weeks since Scalia put a hold on Hank Skinner's execution. That seven weeks works out to the "we-can-now-execute-him" Texas minimum, plus three weeks of announced delays.

I don't think there will be another delay. The Supremes met in conference Friday, and they will announce the results of that conference tomorrow. I think they will make known their decision regarding Hank Skinner. 

If they rule in his favor, they will be ruling only to consider his request in full court during their next term, which begins in October.

If they rule against him, that means there will be no more impediments to Texas executing him. Everyone will be back to asking Rick Perry to intervene. Unfortunately, I don't believe Rick Perry will do so. I can't get inside that man's head, but it sure seems as if he was going to remain mute last time, when Hank came within forty minutes of being executed. I'm not sure what calculations are going on inside that "I-am-destined-to-be-President" brain, but I suspect political variables are more common and more dominant that justice variables.

I think the die has been cast. Tomorrow, we shall see.


Anonymous said...

And tonight, we shall pray.

Anonymous said...

No decision!!

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