U.S. Supreme Court: December 2009 Archives
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December 2009 Archives

Beard v. Kindler, No. 08-992

In a capital habeas matter involving whether Pennsylvania's fugitive forfeiture rule provided an adequate basis to bar federal habeas review of petitioner's claims, grant of his habeas petition is vacated and remanded where a state procedural rule is not automatically "inadequate" under the adequate state ground doctrine (and therefore unenforceable on federal habeas review) because the state rule was discretionary rather than mandatory.

Read Beard v. Kindler, No. 08-992

Appellate Information

Argued November 2, 2009

Decided December 8, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Chief Justice Roberts

Concurrence by Justice Kennedy

Union Pac. R.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Eng'rs., No. 08-604

In an arbitration before the National Railroad Adjustment Board (NRAB) between a railroad and a union regarding disciplinary action against certain employees, a circuit court's order reversing the NRAB's dismissal of the arbitration for failure to conduct a pre-arbitration conference is affirmed where, by refusing to adjudicate the cases on the false premise that it lacked jurisdiction to hear them, the NRAB panel failed to conform, or confine itself, to matters Congress placed within the scope of NRAB jurisdiction.

Read Union Pac. R.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Eng'rs., No. 08-604

Appellate Information

Argued October 7, 2009

Decided December 8, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Justice Ginsburg

Alvarez v. Smith, No. 08-351

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 case involving whether Illinois law provides a sufficiently speedy opportunity for an individual, whose car or cash police have seized without a warrant, to contest the lawfulness of the seizure, a circuit court's ruling reversing dismissal of the action is vacated and the case is remanded where the action was moot because all of the actual property disputes between the parties had been resolved.

Read Alvarez v. Smith, No. 08-351

Appellate Information

Argued October 14, 2009

Decided December 8, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Justice Breyer

Partial Concurrence and Partial Dissent by Justice Stevens

Mohawk Indus., Inc. v. Carpenter, No. 08-678

In an unlawful termination suit wherein defendant-employer appealed from an order granting plaintiff's motion to compel the production of documents that, according to defendant, were protected by the attorney-client privilege, dismissal of the appeal for lack of jurisdiction is affirmed where disclosure orders adverse to the attorney-client privilege do not qualify for immediate appeal under the collateral order doctrine. Postjudgment appeals, together with other review mechanisms, suffice to protect the rights of litigants and preserve the vitality of the attorney-client privilege.

Read Mohawk Indus., Inc. v. Carpenter, No. 08-678

Appellate Information

Argued October 5, 2009

Decided December 8, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Justice Sotomayor

Concurrence by Justice Thomas

Michigan v. Fisher, No. 09-91

In an assault prosecution, grant of petitioner's motion to suppress evidence that he pointed a rifle at an officer when he entered his house is reversed where the officer did not violate the Fourth Amendment because he was responding to a report of a disturbance and encountered a tumultuous situation in the house, which justified a warrantless search under the emergency aid exception.

Read Michigan v. Fisher, No. 09-91

Appellate Information

Filed December 7, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

Dissent by Justice Stevens