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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court sounded ready Wednesday to reinstate the death penalty for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

In more than 90 minutes of arguments, the court’s six conservative justices seemed likely to embrace the Biden administration’s argument that a federal appeals court mistakenly threw out Tsarnaev’s death sentence for his role in the bombing that killed three people near the finish line of the marathon in 2013.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled last year that the trial judge improperly excluded evidence that could have shown Tsarnaev was deeply influenced by his older brother, Tamerlan, and was somehow less responsible for the carnage. The appeals court also faulted the judge for not sufficiently questioning jurors about their exposure to extensive news coverage of the bombing.

The court’s three liberal justices appeared more favorable to Tsarnaev. If the appellate ruling were affirmed, Tsarnaev would have to face a new sentencing trial if the administration decided to continue pressing for a death sentence.

Tsarnaev’s guilt in the deaths of Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford, Massachusetts; and 8-year-old Martin Richard, of Boston, is not at issue, only whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or to death.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett was the only member of the court to raise the administration’s pursuit of a capital sentence for Tsarnaev even as it has halted federal executions. President Joe Biden also has called for an end to the federal death penalty.

Barrett wondered about the “government’s end game,” noting that if the administration wins the case, Tsarnaev would be “living under a death sentence the government doesn’t intend to carry out.”

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Biden Says He Guesses He Should Visit Southern Border, But Notes Hes Been Busy

President Joe Biden said at CNN’s Thursday town hall that he guesses he should visit the southern border amid the ongoing crisis, but added that he hasn’t had the time.

A Republican law student pressed Biden about why he hasn’t visited the southern border and why he’s reverted to Trump-era policies after criticizing the former president’s “treatment of illegal immigrants.” The president began by noting that the Remain in Mexico policy – one of the Trump-era rules the administration is using – is being forced to stay because of a court ruling.

“We’re repealing it,” Biden said. “That’s one of the reasons why we haven’t changed it.”

Biden went on to say that his administration has decreased the number of children in custody of Border Patrol and promised that they’re “making more progress than you think.” Moderator Anderson Cooper interjected to point out that Biden has also kept Title 42, another Trump-era policy, in place. (RELATED: Migrants Illegally Crossing US-Mexico Border Thank Biden Administration)

Title 42 allows for the quick expulsion of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Yes … we maintained that because of the extent of the — of the continued extent of COVID in those countries from which people are coming,” Biden explained. “It’s very, very high. And so we maintained the policy. We are not sending back children. We send back adults and we send back large families. But we don’t send back children in that circumstance.”


When asked whether he has plans to visit the southern border, Biden said he’s “been there before.”

“I know it well, I guess I should go down, but the whole point of it is I haven’t had a whole hell of a lot of time to get down,” the president said. “I’ve been spending time going around, looking at the $900 billion damage done by hurricanes and floods and weather and traveling around the world.”

Biden noted that his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, has been down and seen “both sides of the river.” He did not mention Vice President Kamala Harris’s trip to the southern border in June but continued on to argue his administration has improved conditions for migrants.

“There’s much more to be done,” Biden added.

In September, amid a massive wave of mostly Haitian migrants, the president admitted that the situation at the border was not under control, though he vowed to get it under control. The Biden administration has repeatedly blamed Trump for the situation at the border and has largely refused to declare it a crisis.

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