Today the Court issued 3 opinions and a new Order List, summarized below:
Two summary reversals (Wearry and V.L., no oral argument) and one signed opinion (Americold).
(1) Wearry v. Cain: By a vote of 6-2, the judgment of the Louisiana postconviction court is reversed and the case remanded. Justice Alito, joined by Justice Thomas, dissented. Per curiam: "Michael Wearry is on Louisiana’s death row. Urging that the prosecution failed to disclose evidence supporting his innocence and that his counsel provided ineffective assistance at trial, Wearry unsuccessfully sought postconviction relief in state court. Contrary to the state postconviction court, we conclude that the prosecution’s failure to disclose material evidence violated Wearry’s due process rights. We reverse the state postconviction court’s judgment on that account, and therefore do not reach Wearry’s ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim."
(2) V.L. v. E.L.: By a vote of 8-0 the judgment of the Alabama Supreme Court is reversed and the case remanded. Per curiam: "A Georgia court entered a final judgment of adoption making petitioner V. L. a legal parent of the children that she and respondent E. L. had raised together from birth. V. L. and E. L. later separated while living in Alabama. V. L. asked the Alabama courts to enforce the Georgia judgment and grant her custody or visitation rights. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled against her, holding that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution does not require the Alabama courts to respect the Georgia judgment. That judgment of the Alabama Supreme Court is now reversed by this summary disposition."
(3) Americold Realty Trust v. ConAgra Foods: By a vote of 8-0 the judgment of the Tenth Circuit is affirmed. Per Justice Sotomayor's opinion for a unanimous Court: "Federal law permits federal courts to resolve certain nonfederal controversies between “citizens” of different States. This rule is easy enough to apply to humans, but can become metaphysical when applied to legal entities. This case asks how to determine the citizenship of a “real estate investment trust,” an inanimate creature of Maryland law. We answer: While humans and corporations can assert their own citizenship, other entities take the citizenship of their members...[F]or purposes of diversity jurisdiction, Americold’s members include its shareholders."
- Beyond a number of GVRs, there were no new grants. The number of GVRs is quite large, mostly due to the Court's recent decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana. Many of these GVRs contain a concurring statement by Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Alito, along the following lines: "The Court has held the petition in this and many other cases pending the decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U. S. ___ (2016). In holding this petition and now vacating and remanding the judgment below, the Court has not assessed whether petitioner’s asserted entitlement to retroactive relief 'is properly presented in the case.' Id., at ___ (slip op., at 13). On remand, courts should understand that the Court’s disposition of this petition does not reflect any view regarding petitioner’s entitlement to relief. The Court’s disposition does not, for example, address whether an adequate and independent state ground bars relief, whether petitioner forfeited or waived any entitlement to relief (by, for example, entering into a plea agreement waiving any entitlement to relief), or whether petitioner’s sentence actually qualifies as a mandatory life without parole sentence."
- Two summary per curiam reversals (described above).
Other Orders of Note
- American Freedom Defense Initiative v. King County: Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Alito, dissented from denial of certiorari.
- Betterman v. Montana: SG's motion for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument is granted.