U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog

January 2011 Archives

Harrington v. Richter, No. 09-587

Denial of Murder Habeas Petition Reversed

In Harrington v. Richter, No. 09-587, a murder prosecution, the Ninth Circuit's reversal of the denial of petitioner's habeas petition is reversed where: 1) 28 U.S.C. section 2254(d) applied to petitioner's petition, even though the state court's order was unaccompanied by an opinion explaining the court's reasoning; and 2) the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that, because petitioner's attorney had not consulted forensic blood experts or introduced expert evidence, the State Supreme Court could not reasonably have concluded counsel provided adequate representation.


Premo v. Moore, No. 09-658

Felony Murder Habeas Petition

In Premo v. Moore, No. 09-658, a felony murder prosecution, the court reversed the Ninth Circuit's reversal of the district court's denial of petitioner's habeas petition where 1) the state court would not have been unreasonable to accept as a justification for counsel's action that suppression of petitioner's confession would have been futile in light of petitioner's other admissible confession to two witnesses; and 2) the state court also reasonably could have concluded that petitioner was not prejudiced by counsel's actions.


NASA v. Nelson, No. 09-530

Challenge to NASA Background Check

In NASA v. Nelson, No. 09-530, an action claiming that NASA's National Agency Check with Inquiries background check process violated a constitutional right to informational privacy, the court reversed the Ninth Circuit's reversal of the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction where, assuming, without deciding, that the government's challenged inquiries implicated a privacy interest of constitutional significance, that interest, whatever its scope, did not prevent the government from asking reasonable questions of the sort included on the forms at issue in an employment background investigation that was subject to the Privacy Act's safeguards against public disclosure.


Ransom v. FIA Card Servs., N.A., No. 09-907

Car-Ownership Deduction Disallowed

In Ransom v. FIA Card Servs., N.A., No. 09-907, a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, the Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit's affirmance of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel's order denying the confirmation of the debtor's proposed plan, where a debtor who does not make loan or lease payments may not take the car-ownership deduction.

Mayo Found. for Med. Educ. & Rsrch. v. US, No. 09-837

Challenge to Treasury Department Regulations

In Mayo Found. for Med. Educ. & Rsrch. v. US, No. 09-837, an action asserting that certain Treasury Department regulations, which provided that the services of a full-time employee -- which included an employee normally scheduled to work 40 hours or more per week-- were not incident to and for the purpose of pursuing a course of study, and thus not exempt from the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, were invalid, the court affirmed the Eighth Circuit's order reversing judgment for plaintiff where the Treasury Department's full-time employee rule was a reasonable construction of 26 U.S.C. section 3121(b)(10).

Madison Cty. v. Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y., No. 10-72

Grant of Certiorari Vacated

In Madison Cty. v. Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y., No. 10-72, an action concerning an Indian tribe's collection of property taxes, the Supreme Court vacated a grant of certiorari and remanded to the Second Circuit where that court needed to address, in the first instance, whether to revisit its ruling on sovereign immunity in light of new factual developments, and -- if necessary -- proceed to address other questions in the case consistent with its sovereign immunity ruling.