Today the Supreme Court released three more opinions. A summary follows:
(1) Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Bd.: By a vote of 7-2, the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is reversed and the case remanded. Per Justice Ginsburg's opinion for the Court: "This case concerns the proper forum for judicial review when a federal employee complains of a serious adverse employment action taken against him, one falling within the compass of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA).... In the CSRA, Congress created the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB or Board) to review certain serious personnel actions against federal employees. If an employee asserts rights under the CSRA only, MSPB decisions, all agree, are subject to judicial review exclusively in the Federal Circuit. §7703(b)(1). If the employee asserts no civil-service rights, invoking only federal antidiscrimination law, the proper forum for judicial review, again all agree, is a federal district court, see Kloeckner v. Solis, 568 U. S. 41, 46 (2012); the Federal Circuit, while empowered to review MSPB decisions on civil-service claims, §7703(b)(1)(A), lacks authority over claims arising under antidiscrimination laws, see §7703(c). When a complaint presents a mixed case, and the MSPB dismisses it, must the employee resort to the Federal Circuit for review of any civil-service issue, reserving claims under federal antidiscrimination law for discrete district court adjudication? If the MSPB dismisses a mixed case on the merits, the parties agree, review authority lies in district court, not in the Federal Circuit. In Kloeckner, 568 U. S., at 50, 56, we held, the proper review forum is also the district court when the MSPB dismisses a mixed case on procedural grounds, in Kloeckner itself, failure to meet a deadline for Board review set by the MSPB. We hold today that the review route remains the same when the MSPB types its dismissal of a mixed case as 'jurisdictional.' As in Kloeckner, we are mindful that review rights should be read not to protract proceedings, increase costs, and stymie employees, but to secure expeditious resolution of the claims employees present."
Justice Ginsburg's majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Gorsuch dissented (his first SCOTUS dissent), joined by Justice Thomas.
(2) Murr v. Wisconsin: By a vote of 5-3, the judgment of the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin is affirmed. Per Justice Kennedy's opinion for the Court: "In the case now before the Court, petitioners contend that governmental entities took their real property—an undeveloped residential lot—not by some physical occupation but instead by enacting burdensome regulations that forbid its improvement or separate sale because it is classified as substandard in size. The relevant governmental entities are the respondents. Against the background justifications for the challenged restrictions, respondents contend there is no regulatory taking because petitioners own an adjacent lot. The regulations, in effecting a merger of the property, permit the continued residential use of the property including for a single improvement to extend over both lots. This retained right of the landowner, respondents urge, is of sufficient offsetting value that the regulation is not severe enough to be a regulatory taking. To resolve the issue whether the landowners can insist on confining the analysis just to the lot in question, without regard to their ownership of the adjacent lot, it is necessary to discuss the background principles that define regulatory takings.... While the Court has not set forth specific guidance on how to identify the relevant parcel for the regulatory taking inquiry, there are two concepts which the Court has indicated can be unduly narrow. First, the Court has declined to limit the parcel in an artificial manner to the portion of property targeted by the challenged regulation.... The second concept about which the Court has expressed caution is the view that property rights under the Takings Clause should be coextensive with those under state law.... As the foregoing discussion makes clear, no single consideration can supply the exclusive test for determining the denominator. Instead, courts must consider a number of factors. These include the treatment of the land under state and local law; the physical characteristics of the land; and the prospective value of the regulated land. The endeavor should determine whether reasonable expectations about property ownership would lead a landowner to anticipate that his holdings would be treated as one parcel, or, instead, as separate tracts. The inquiry is objective, and the reasonable expectations at issue derive from background customs and the whole of our legal tradition.... Under the appropriate multifactor standard, it follows that for purposes of determining whether a regulatory taking has occurred here, petitioners’ property should be evaluated as a single parcel consisting of Lots E and F together.... Petitioners furthermore have not suffered a taking under the more general test of Penn Central. See 438 U. S., at 124. The expert appraisal relied upon by the state courts refutes any claim that the economic impact of the regulation is severe. Petitioners cannot claim that they reasonably expected to sell or develop their lots separately given the regulations which predated their acquisition of both lots. Finally, the governmental action was a reasonable land-use regulation, enacted as part of a coordinated federal, state, and local effort to preserve the river and surrounding land."
Justice Kennedy's majority opinion was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. The Chief Justice filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Thomas and Alito. Justice Thomas also filed a dissenting opinion. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
(3) Lee v. United States: By a vote of 6-2, the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed and the case remanded. Per Chief Justice Roberts' opinion for the Court: "Petitioner Jae Lee was indicted on one count of possessing ecstasy with intent to distribute. Although he has lived in this country for most of his life, Lee is not a United States citizen, and he feared that a criminal conviction might affect his status as a lawful permanent resident. His attorney assured him there was nothing to worry about—the Government would not deport him if he pleaded guilty. So Lee, who had no real defense to the charge, opted to accept a plea that carried a lesser prison sentence than he would have faced at trial. Lee’s attorney was wrong: The conviction meant that Lee was subject to mandatory deportation from this country. Lee seeks to vacate his conviction on the ground that, in accepting the plea, he received ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment. Everyone agrees that Lee received objectively unreasonable representation. The question presented is whether he can show he was prejudiced as a result.... In the unusual circumstances of this case, we conclude that Lee has adequately demonstrated a reasonable probability that he would have rejected the plea had he known that it would lead to mandatory deportation.... We cannot agree that it would be irrational for a defendant in Lee’s position to reject the plea offer in favor of trial. But for his attorney’s incompetence, Lee would have known that accepting the plea agreement would certainly lead to deportation. Going to trial? Almost certainly. If deportation were the “determinative issue” for an individual in plea discussions, as it was for Lee; if that individual had strong connections to this country and no other, as did Lee; and if the consequences of taking a chance at trial were not markedly harsher than pleading, as in this case, that 'almost' could make all the difference. Balanced against holding on to some chance of avoiding deportation was a year or two more of prison time. See id., at 6. Not everyone in Lee’s position would make the choice to reject the plea. But we cannot say it would be irrational to do so."
The Chief Justice's majority opinion was joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Alito joined, except as to Part I. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.