Kagan snipes at Kavanaugh in rare moment of tension during Boston Bomber case

Kagan snipes at Kavanaugh in rare moment of tension during Boston Bomber case
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Brett Kavanaugh had a brief but tense exchange during oral arguments Wednesday in a case over whether a death sentence should be reinstated for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a death sentence for Tsarnaev after a lower court overturned it last year, contradicting President Joe Biden's campaign promise to end federal executions and the Justice Department’s current moratorium on federal executions.

SUPREME COURT WEIGHS WHETHER TO REINSTATE DEATH PENALTY FOR BOSTON MARATHON BOMBER

The lower court overturned the death sentence, citing a procedural error by a trial judge who said the court did not sufficiently question prospective jurors about their media consumption and did not allow the jury to consider evidence that Tsarnaev's older brother Tamerlan may have played a role in a triple murder prior to the 2013 attack. That would have aided the defense’s case that Dzhokhar was radicalized by Tamerlan.

During Wednesday’s oral arguments, the justices examined whether permitting that evidence to the court would prompt new questions about its reliability.

“At a trial, you don't have these mini-trials,” said Justice Samuel Alito. “If a person's on trial for murder X, you don't have a trial about murder Y and murder Z.”

Kagan countered jury members are the ones who should have determined if the evidence was reliable. She asked Eric Feigin, deputy solicitor general, that if the “entire case rests on the notion that the evidence just wasn't strong enough,” how should the district court “evaluate, much less decide, that question?"

“It's the job of the jury, isn't it, to decide on the reliability of the evidence, to decide whether it's strong evidence or weak evidence that Tamerlan, in fact, played a leading role in those other gruesome murders?” she asked.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh appeared to take issue with the idea that the evidence should have been included if the lower court deemed it insufficient, arguing the “premise was assumed away.”

Kagan then interjected, “The premise was assumed away because that's the role of the jury.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Kavanaugh replied, “Well, I think it's important to discuss the district court's reasoning. And the district court said, 'We don't know what happened.'”

The Supreme Court is known for maintaining public collegiality between members.

Washington Examiner Videos

Tags: News, Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, Boston Bombing, Death Penalty

Original Author: Kate Scanlon

Original Location: Kagan snipes at Kavanaugh in rare moment of tension during Boston Bomber case

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting