Justiceline: February 26, 2013

Welcome to Justiceline, ThinkProgress Justice’s morning round-up of the latest legal news and developments. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @TPJustice

  • A full year after his nomination, federal appeals court nominee Robert Bacharach was confirmed unanimously by a Senate that had previously filibustered his nomination. In spite of support from both of his home-state Republican senators, other Republicans held up his confirmation by voting against a motion to simply hold an up-or-down vote last July. Bacharach’s slow-walked confirmation is emblematic of a broken confirmation process.
  • In a summary ruling Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a decision not to execute a man deemed intellectually disabled. A federal appeals court in Virginia had determined that Leon Winston had an IQ score below the state’s threshold for “mental retardation” and therefore was entitled to a new appeal. The state of Georgia came within 30 minutes of executing an inmate in a similar case last week, before a last-minute stay by a federal appeals court.
  • As Maryland considers a bill this week to abolish the death penalty, the Washington Post explores how the state’s death row inmates are stuck in a “politically forged purgatory.”
  • And in Baltimore County, new statistics reveal that simply calling juvenile defendants and their parents to remind of their court dates spiked attendance from about 40 percent to more than 70 percent.