On March 7, 2011, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Skinner v. Switzer. The question in this case is whether "a convicted state prisoner seeking DNA testing of crime-scene evidence [may] assert that claim in a civil rights action under 42 U. S. C. §1983," or must instead do so "in a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U. S. C. §2254."
In an opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held by a vote of 6-3 that federal courts do have subject-matter jurisdiction over convicted state prisoner Skinner's claim and that Skinner's claim is cognizable in a civil rights action under 42 U. S. C. §1983. Justice Ginsburg was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Kennedy and Alito.
To discuss the case, we have Evan A. Young, who is an attorney in Texas. Mr. Young is counsel of record on an amicus brief in support of the respondent.