US Supreme Court: December 2008 Archives

US Supreme Court grants cert. in 2 cases

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The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in two new cases today.  The Court will hear the cases of al-Marri v. Pucciarelli and Gross v. FBL Financial Servicesal-Marri presents the issue of whether Congress, in passing the Authorization for Use of Military Force after September 11, authorized the indefinite military detention of a legal immigrant sezied on domestic soil whom the government alleged to have conspired with al Qaeda to carry out attacks against the United States.  Gross presents the issue of whether a plaintiff must present direct evidence of discrimination in order to obtain a mixed-motive instruction in a non-Title VII discrimination case.  Scotusblog provides copies of the lower court opinions, petitions, oppositions, and briefs of amici curiae.

The United States Supreme Court issued one decision today.  In Hedgpeth v. Pulido, the Court issued a per curiam decision, with 3 justices dissenting as to the remand, in which it held that a conviction based on jury instructions containing more than one theory of guilt, where one theory is invalid, is to be judged under the harmless error standard.  The Ninth Circuit had found the error to be structural error.pink-family portret

"[A] reviewing court finding such error should ask whether the flaw in the instructions 'had a substantial and injurious effect or influence in determing the jury's verdict.'"pink-family portret

The Court's ruling is consistent with a recent opinion by the Nevada Supreme Court, Cortinas v. State, which addressed the same issue.pink-family portret

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