Friday morning docket: the post-Iowa edition

Good morning. Last night was a good one for Oprah, Chuck Norris and others who support Sen. Barack Obama or former Gov. Mike Huckabee for president. As the candidates set their sights in New Hampshire, here’s a look at what’s happening back here in Washington:

Monday the Supreme Court kicks of a busy two weeks with a big oral argument day, hearing attorneys explain why the thee-drug cocktail used in most lethal injections in the country is or is not cruel and unusual punishment in Baze v. Rees, 07-5439, (click docket numbers for summaries from the folks at Oyez.com) argued Monday at 10 a.m. The AP reports that the case – one of the biggest capital punishment cases to reach the high court this generation – was largely put together by a Kentucky public defender who graduated law school less than five years ago.

Monday the Court will also hear arguments in Dada v. Mukasey, 06-1181, which considers whether a illegal resident who agrees to voluntarily depart the United States and then files a motion to reopen removal proceedings tolls the time period by which the illegal resident must depart the United States under the voluntary departure order. Argued Monday at 11 a.m.

Tuesday, the Court hears argument in Gonzales v. U.S., 06-11612, which considers whether federal criminal defendant’s counsel’s oral consent to have a United States magistrate judge preside over jury selection is binding on the defendant when the record does not reflect the defendant’s own knowing and voluntary waiver of his constitutional right to have an Article III judge preside over jury selection. Argued Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Also, the court will hear the case of Boulware v. United States, 06-1509, which asks whether the return of capital rule applies automatically when a company without earnings or profits distributes money to a shareholder, or must the taxpayer produce contemporaneous evidence that the money was treated as a return of capital when distributed. Argued Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Wednesday the Court hears the consolidated cases of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, 07-25, a highly anticipated case asking whether a law that requires voters to present either a state or federal photo identification unduly burdens citizens’ right to vote. Argued Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The Court will also hear Kentucky Retirement Systems v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 06-1037, where parties will argue whether the use of age as a factor in a retirement plan “arbitrary” rendering the plan discriminatory on its face in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Meanwhile:

Could this man be the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court? (CNN)

After a not-so-fun night in Iowa, Sens. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd go back to their lawmaking day jobs. (The Trail by WaPo)

Rep. Tom Lantos – the only Holocaust survivor to be elected to congress, announced that he will not seek a 15th term after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer. (AP via Yahoo! News)

The governator is suing the EPA. (NYT)

2007 was a historic year for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That doesn’t mean it was a good year for her – just historic. (AP via Yahoo! News).

It was a very good year for the 10 attorneys selected by Lawyers USA as the 2007 Lawyers of the Year. (Lawyers USA)

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