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The Champion

December 2003 , Page 12 

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Supreme Court 2002-2003 Review

By G. Paul McCormick

The 2002-03 term of the U.S. Supreme Court decided high-profile cases involving the Texas sodomy statute and the Virginia cross-burning statute. However, there were other equally important cases focusing on the California “three strikes” law, sex offender registration statutes, effective assistance of counsel in death penalty cases, the ramifications of coerced statements, statute of limitations in sex cases, RICO, the law of conspiracy and, as usual, several cases pertaining to the AEDPA. A consistent theme permeating many of the cases was whether a defendant’s “fundamental right” had somehow been compromised, or whether its lesser cousin, a mere “liberty interest,” was involved. In several decisions, the conservative members of the court criticized the majority for recognizing “liberty interests” when no fundamental right was implicated. Indeed, the origins of liberty interests seem somewhat vague, but the concept probably has its source in Griswold v. C

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