US Supreme Court issues 5 opinions

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Pearson v. Callahan - qualified immunity for police officers.  Unanimous opinion authored by Justice Alito.  The Court overrules the procedure for determining whether officers are immune from a civil rights action that was established in Saucier v. Katz.  It explains the standards following stare decisis vs. revisiting precedent.  It also finds that the Saucier procedure is often appropriate, but is no longer mandatory in all cases.  The Court also finds that the search at issue, which involved "consent once removed" and an informant, was not cleraly established as unconstitutional at the time of entry, so the officers are entitled to qualified immunity.

Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee - Title IX action re: gender discrimination.  Unanimous opinion authored by Justice Alito.  The Court holds that Title IX does not preclude a 1983 civil rights action alleging unconstitutional gender discrimination in schools.

Locke v. Karass - public sector unions and non-member agency fees for litigation expenses.  Justice Breyer authored the majority opinion.  Justice Alito authored a concurring opinion which was joined by Chief Justice and Justice Scalia.  The Court holds that the First Amendment permits a local union to charge nonmembers for national litigation expenses in certain situations.

Waddington v. Sarausad - habeas relief and ambiguous jury instruction.  Justice Thomas authored the majority opinion.  Justice Souter authored a dissenting opinion which was joined by Justices Stevens and Ginsburg.  The Court holds that the Ninth Circuit erred in granting habeas relief because a Washington court's decision that a jury instruction defining accomplice liability was not ambiguous was not an objectively unreasonable decision.  The Court also finds that the Ninth Circuit erred in concluding that there was a reasonable likelihood that the prosecutor's closing argument caused the jury to apply the instruction in a way that relieved the State of its burden to prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Spears v. United States - Per curiam opinion concerning the federal sentencing guidelines and the crack/powder cocaine disparity.

 

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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on January 21, 2009 8:07 AM.

US Supreme Court grants cert. in 6 cases was the previous entry in this blog.

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