US Supreme Court issues 4 opinions

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The US Supreme Court issued four opinions today:

Flores-Figueroa v. United States - The decision below, which held for the United States, is reversed and remanded in a 9-0 opinion by Justice Breyer, available here.  Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in part and in the judgment, joined by Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in part and in the judgment. 18 USC 1028A(a)(1) forbids "aggravated identity theft" and imposes a mandatory consecutive two-year prison term for a person convicted of certain predicate crimes.  The statute requires that the government establish that the defendant "knowingly  . . . uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person."  The defendant gave his employer counterfeit Social Security and alien registration cards contaning his name but other people's identification numbers and was charged under the statute.  He moved for acquittal on a claimt hat the government could not prove that he knew the documents' numbers were assigned to other people. The government argued, and the federal district court and Eighth Circuit agreed, that the word "knowingly" did not apply to "of another person."  The Supreme Court unanimously reversed and held that under 1028 the government must show that the defendant knew that the means of identification at issue belonging to another person.  As a matter or ordinary English grammar, "knowingly" is naturally read as applying to all the subsequently listed elements of the crime.  Where a transitive verb has an objects, listerns in most context assume that an adverb, such as knowingly, thad modifies the verb tells the listener how the subject performed the entire action, including the object. 

Carlsbad Technology, Inc. v. HIF Bio, Inc.  The decision below, which held for HIF Bio, is reversed and remanded in a 9-0 opinion by Justice Thomas, available here. Justice Stevens and Justice Scalia filed concurring opinions. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Souter.  The Court holds that a federal district court's order remanding a case to state court after declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state-law claims is not a remand for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.  Appellate review of the order is therefore not barred by 28 USC 1447.

Arthur Andersen LLP, et al. v. Carlisle, et al.  The decision below, which held for the company owners, is reversed and remanded in a 6-3 opinion by Justice Scalia, available here. Justice Souter filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Stevens.  The opinion addresses stays of actions involving arbitration and appeals from orders denying stay motions.

Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company, et al. v. United States; Shell Oil Company v. United States   The decision below, which held for the United States, is reversed and remanded in an 8-1 opinion by Justice Stevens available here. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion. - The opinion addresses liability of an arranger for contamination under CERCLA.

With thanks to scotusblog for the links and early info.


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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on May 4, 2009 8:49 AM.

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