There’s a fledgling new partnership on the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last month.
Three times on Monday, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito jointly expressed opposition or reservations to high court actions supported in full by the remaining six justices.
Thomas and Alito dissented from the court’s decision to reverse a 14-year-old death sentence for murder and grant the defendant a new trial because prosecutors withheld evidence. The court took that action without hearing the case, something the two conservative justices said it should have done first.
The pair also dissented from the court’s refusal to hear a free-speech case out of Seattle in which the county government blocked a controversial advertisement targeting terror suspects from its public transit system. They said they would have granted the challenge from an advocacy group seeking to post its “Faces of Global Terrorism” ad on city buses.
Finally, Thomas and Alito agreed that the Supreme Court’s recent decision against mandatory life sentences for juvenile murderers requires new hearings in state or lower federal courts for prisoners sentenced years or even decades ago. But they wrote separately in each case to specify that state courts still can decide the life sentences were deserved.