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Legal news ahead this week

In addition to the many elections on Tuesday, several states have ballot issues of note. Per the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, these include:

Same-sex marriage: Maine, Maryland and Washington could become the first states to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

Marijuana: Washington, Oregon and Colorado could become the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Voters in Arkansas and Massachusetts will decide whether to allow marijuana use for medical reasons, as 17 states have already done.

Assisted suicide: Massachusetts voters will decide whether to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Oregon and Washington are currently the only states to allow terminally ill patients to obtain lethal doses of medication if doctors say they have six months or less to live.

Death Penalty: California voters will decide whether to abolish it. If the measure is approved, more than 720 inmates on California’s death row would have their sentences converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Abortion: Florida voters will decide on a measure that seeks to limit interpretation of the privacy rights contained in the state’s constitution. And voters in Montana will consider a measure on parental-notification rules.

And of interest at the U.S. Supreme Court this week:

On Monday, the Court will hand down orders from its Nov. 2 private conference, including of interest to NC residents the Court’s decision on whether to hear the Voting Rights Act case out of Kinston, N.C. See more about that here.

And the Court will hear arguments in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend and Amgen v. Connecticut Retirement Plans. In both cases, the court will consider what the lower courts must require of plaintiffs seeking class certification.

On Tuesday, the Court will hear arguments in Smith v. U.S. and Evans v. Michigan. In Smith, the court is asked to decide which party in a criminal conspiracy case bears the burden of proof that an alleged conspirator withdrew from a conspiracy outside of the statute of limitations. In Evans, the court will consider whether the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause prohibits the retrial of a defendant acquitted based on a trial judge’s mistakenly adding an element to the offense.

On Wednesday, the Court will hear arguments in Marx v General Revenue  concerning   the standard for awarding costs in litigation under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

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