SCOTUS Orders and Opinions: 6/15/2015
|Topics:||Federalism & Separation of Powers|
- Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw issue: Whether Indian tribal courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate civil tort claims against nonmembers, including as a means of regulating the conduct of nonmembers who enter into consensual relationships with a tribe or its members
- Bruce v. Samuels issue: Whether, when a prisoner files more than one case or appeal in the federal courts in forma pauperis, the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2), caps the monthly exaction of filing fees at 20% of the prisoner's monthly income regardless of the number of cases or appeals for which he owes filing fees.
-Cert is denied in Hittson v. Chatman issue: Whether the Eleventh Circuit has correctly determined that this Court’s decision in Harrington v. Richter overruled sub silentio the holding of Ylst v. Nunnemaker that “where there has been one reasoned state judgment rejecting a federal claim, later unexplained orders upholding that judgment or rejecting the same claim rest upon the same ground;” (2) whether, once a finding that the state court’s factual findings and/or legal analysis are unreasonable and/or contrary to clearly established Supreme Court precedent, a federal district court may nevertheless defer to the state court’s unreasonable findings and conclusions despite having determined that, applying de novo review, a court could find that an error of constitutional magnitude had been committed; and (3) whether the Eleventh Circuit misapplied the harmless error analysis of Brecht v. Abrahamson by failing to consider the manner in which the prosecutor introduced and relied on evidence taken in violation of Mr. Hittson’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.
-No action taken on the Mississippi abortion or Fisher v. Univ. of Texas cases.
(1) Baker Botts v. Asarco: In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held that Section §330(a)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code does not permit bankruptcy courts to award fees to §327(a) professionals for defending fee applications. Per Justice Thomas, "As we long ago observed, “The general practice of the States is in opposition” to forcing one side to pay the other’s attorney’s fees, and “even if that practice [is] not strictly correct in principle, it is entitled to the respect of the court, till it is changed, or modified, by statute.” Arcambel, 3 Dall., at 306 (emphasis deleted). We follow that approach today. Because §330(a)(1) does not explicitly override the American Rule with respect to fee-defense litigation, it does not permit bankruptcy courts to award compensation for such litigation."
Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Alito joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Sotomayor joined as to all but Part III B 2. Justice Sotomayor filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Ginsburg and Kagan joined. The judgment of the Fifth Circuit was affirmed.
(2) Kerry v. Din: In an opinion delivered by Justice Scalia, the the Court held by a voted of 5-4 that the government did not deprive Din of any constitutional right entitling her to due process of law.
Per Justice Scalia, "Din, of course, could not conceivably claim that the denial of Berashk’s visa application deprived her—or for that matter even Berashk—of life or property; and under the above described historical understanding, a claim that it deprived her of liberty is equally absurd. The Government has not “taken or imprisoned” Din, nor has it “confine[d]” her, either by “keeping [her] against h[er] will in a private house, putting h[er] in the stocks, arresting or forcibly detaining h[er] in the street.” Id., at 132. Indeed, not even Berashk has suffered a deprivation of liberty so understood."
Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Kennedy filed an opinion concurring in the judgment which Justice Alito joined. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. The judgment of the Ninth CIrcuit was vacated and remanded for further proceedings.
(3) Mata v. Lynch: In an opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Court held that he Fifth Circuit erred in declining to take jurisdiction over Mata's appeal. A court of appeals has jurisdiction to review the Board of Immigration Appeals' rejection for an alien's motion to reopen.
Chief Justice Roberts as well as Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito and Sotomayor joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion. The judgment of the Fifth Circuit was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.