US Supreme Court issues 5 opinions, grants cert. in 1

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With thanks to Scotusblog:

Carr v. United States - the Court, on a 6-3 vote, reverses and remands in an opinion by Justice Sotomayor. Justice Scalia concurs in part and in the judgment, but joins most of Justice Sotomayor's opinion.  Justice Alito dissents, joined by Justices Thomas and Ginsburg.

  • Holding: The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, a 2007 law that requires sex offenders to register, does not apply to sex offenders whose interstate travel occurred before the Act went into effect.

The Court rejects the Government's argument that a violation of 18 U.S.C. 2250(a), which requires (1) a sex-offense conviction, (2) subsequent interstate travel, and (3) a failure to register, may be violated by a failure to register after the effective date, even if the conviction and interstate travel took place before the effective date.  The Court's ruling deals primarily with statutory interpretation and deals extensively with past tense vs. present tense words.  The Court does not address the ex-post facto clause issues because the case is resolved as a matter of statutory interpretation.

Berghuis v. Thompkins - the Court reverses and remands in an opinion by Justice Kennedy.  The vote is 5-4, with Justice Sotomayor dissenting joined by Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer.

  • Holding: The Court upholds the state court decision rejecting the claim of a violation of Miranda v. Arizona.  The defendant's silence while being questioned by police did not amount to an invocation of his Miranda right to remain silent.

After advising Thompkins of his rights, detectives interrogated him about a shooting.  He did not say that he wanted to remain silent or that he wanted an attorney.  He was largely silent during the 3-hour interrogation, but eventually said "yes" when asked if he prayed to God to forgive him for the shooting.  The Sixth Circuit found that Thompkins had not waived his right to remain silent and found that the state court was unreasonable in finding an implied waiver based upon Thompkins' response to the detectives.   The Supreme Court finds that the state court's decision was correct and that silence during an interrogation does not invoke the right to remain silent.  Officers are not required to obtain a waiver before interrogating the accused. As with the right to counsel, the defendant must make an unambiguous invocation of the right to remain silent.  In other words, a defendant is required to speak, by saying that he wants to remain silent or does not want to talk, and may not merely remain silent to invoke his right to remain silent.  Insane.  Here's to hoping that our state constitution provides a more rational result.

Levin v. Commerce Energy - the Court reverses and remands, with Justice Ginsburg writing the opinion for the Court.  The vote is unanimous.  Justice Kennedy concurs and Justice Thomas concurs in the judgment only, joined by Justice Scalia.  Justice Alito concurs separately in the judgment.

  • Holding: Under the doctrine of comity, a tax payer's lawsuit claiming discriminatory state taxation must proceed originally in state court, even when it is a request to increase the tax burden on a competitor.


Alabama v. North Carolina -  the Court overrules the exceptions to the Special Master's reports and adopts the Special Master's recommendations.  Justice Scalia writes the opinion for the Court.  The Chief Justice dissents in part and concurs in part, joined by Justice Thomas. 

Samantar v. Yousuf - the Court affirms the lower court's judgment and remands the case, in an opinion by Justice Stevens.  The vote is unanimous.  Justice Alito concurs, Justice Thomas concurs in part and concurs in the judgment, and Justice Scalia separately concurs in the judgment.

  • Holding:  Former Somalian official Mohamed Ali Samantar's claim of immunity to a damages lawsuit for alleged atrocities in Somalia is not governed by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  But the Court leaves to litigation in the lower court whether Samantar is entitled to common law immunity, or whether he may assert other legal defenses.


The Court granted certiorari in Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research v. United States.  The issue presented is whether the Treasury Department can categorically exclude all medical residents and other full-time employees from the definition of "student" in 26 USC 3121(b)(1), which exempts from Social Security taxes "service performed in the employ of a school, college or university" by a "student who is enrolled and regularly attending classes at such school, college or university."  Briefs are available at the link above.


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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on June 1, 2010 8:21 AM.

Nevada Supreme Court issues opinions in 3 civil cases was the previous entry in this blog.

Nevada Supreme Court reverses murder conviction is the next entry in this blog.

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