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Justice Clarence Thomas said the Supreme Court has previously given federal trial judges “quite a bit of discretion at the jury-selection stage.” And Justice Samuel Alito questioned the usefulness of the evidence about the other crime, suggesting that judges shouldn’t be required to hold “mini-trials” about extraneous matters in death penalty proceedings.

President Joe Biden’s administration is urging the court to reinstate Tsarnaev’s death sentence even though Biden has said he is opposed to capital punishment. Attorney General Merrick Garland placed a moratorium on federal executions in July.

Tsarnaev, who was 19 at the time of the bombing, didn’t contest his guilt at trial. He instead sought to persuade jurors to sentence him to life in prison, arguing he was acting under the radicalizing leadership of his brother. Tamerlan, who set off the other bomb at the marathon’s finish line, died when he was run over by a car driven by his brother during a shootout with police.

—Bloomberg News

Georgia ballot inspection case dismissed after no fraud found

ATLANTA — A judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday by Donald Trump supporters who sought to inspect absentee ballots from last year’s presidential election, a decision that came a day after Georgia investigators told the court they were unable to find any counterfeit ballots.

 

Superior Court Judge Brian Amero’s ruling ended the last remaining major lawsuit over Georgia’s 2020 election and prevented an outside review of Fulton County’s 147,000 original absentee ballots.

The judge’s order is the latest in a series of decisions against supporters of the former Republican president who have asked the courts to help them pursue suspicions of fraud or reverse the results of the election.

State election officials have said there’s no indication of fraud after three ballot counts and multiple investigations. Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump in Georgia’s presidential election by about 12,000 votes.

Though Amero’s decision was based on the legal principle of standing — the plaintiffs hadn’t suffered a specific injury that would give them a right to sue — he reviewed the evidence before making his ruling.

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