Bill Rankin's Legal Brief

The AJC's blog about the courts, crime and law

A truly timeless moment in the U.S. Supreme Court

When Stephen Bright stepped to the U.S. Supreme Court's lectern on Monday morning, the wall clock high above the justices' mahogany bench said it was a few minutes after six o'clock.

Except it was really about 10:05 a.m. The clocks in the majestic courtroom weren't working. Not only that, the ensuing arguments didn't go exactly as expected.

The justices heard an appeal from Bright's client, Timothy Tyrone Foster, who sits on death row for sexually assaulting and then killing a 79-year-old retired school teacher in her Floyd County home almost three decades ago. At issue in Foster's appeal was whether prosecutors struck all the prospective black jurors from the case because of their race.

This was AJC reporter Bill Rankin's fourth time covering arguments before the high court. To read his first-person account, please go to this story on

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About the Author

Bill Rankin covers criminal justice for the Enterprise team.