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Today’s Opinions

UPDATE, 12:45 p.m.: We’ve added holdings in the cases decided today.

The Court has not decided the political speech case Citizens United.  It has issued the following opinions:

Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter (08-678):  Affirmed.  Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the Court; Justice Thomas joined in part and filed a separate opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

Held: Disclosure orders about the attorney-client privilege cannot qualify for immediate appeal.

The opinion is here.

Alvarez v. Smith (08-351): Vacated and remanded.  Justice Breyer authored the opinion of the Court; Justice Stevens joined in part, filing an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part (so the vote count is 8-1 on some parts).

Held: a challenge to an Illinois statute authorizing forfeiture of personal property used to facilitate drug crimes was mooted when parties resolved underlying disputes as to ownership of the property.

The opinion is here.

Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Brotherhood of Teamsters (08-604): Affirmed. Justice Ginsburg wrote for a unanimous Court.

Held: (1) The Court declined to reach the constitutional question whether orders of the National Railroad Adjustment Board may be set aside for failure to comply with due process notwithstanding statutory limitations on the grounds for judicial review of such orders; the court of appeals granted the Union relief on statutory grounds and therefore should not have reached the constitutional question. (2)  The requirement that parties submit proof that they have conferred on issues before seeking arbitration under the National Railway Labor Act is not jurisdictional.

The opinion is here.

Beard v. Kindler (08-992): Vacated and remanded.  Chief Justice Roberts authored the opinion of the Court; Justice Kennedy concurred, joined by Justice Thomas.  Justice Alito took no part.

Held: A state procedural rule is not automatically “inadequate” — for purposes of the federal rule excusing habeas petitioners from having failed to comply with it — simply because the rule is discretionary.

The opinion is here.