Shocking disturbance at Supreme Court – this is rare

Although there are sharp differences of opinion among members of America’s highest court, those disagreements are usually voiced behind closed door.

That’s why observers were surprised this week when two Supreme Court justices clashed openly while hearing arguments relating to the 2013 Boston bombing.

According to ABC News, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted in 2015 for his role in the terror attack that result in three people dead and many more injured.

As Fox News explained on Wednesday, Tsarnaev was sentenced to death, however that sentence would later be overturned on by an appeals.

Defense attorney contends that trial court should have included evidence linking the defendant’s brother to prior murders

The judges determined that not enough consideration was given to how media coverage of the terror attack would impact members of Tsarnaev’s jury.

Also at issue the exclusion of evidence that Tsarnaev’s brother and co-conspirator, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and previously committed a triple homicide and was able to intimidate the defendant.

In response, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is asking the Supreme Court to reinstate Tsarnaev’s sentence, claiming that the appeals court erred in its decision.

Tense exchange between Justices Kagan and Kavanaugh

At one point, Justice Elena Kagan is said to have questioned DOJ attorney Eric Feigin about the exclusion of the prior murders and asked him to “assume” the evidence was strong before asking what the trial court should have done.

“Your entire case rests on the notion that the evidence just wasn’t strong enough,” Kagan was quoted as saying. “How is it the job of the district court to evaluate, much less decide that question?”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh reportedly took issue with Kagan assumption that the evidence was strong, as the district court had determined it to be weak.

Kagan apparently did not appreciate Kavanaugh’s remarks, snapping, “The premise was assumed away because that was the role of the jury.”

Fox News noted that this “was a rare moment of tension on the normally collegial Supreme Court,” It added, “Even if the justices are taking very different approaches to a case they almost always avoid displays that would appear critical of their colleagues.”

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