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Today’s orders and opinions

The Court issued no grants this morning, though it invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the views of the United States in the felon disenfranchisement case Simmons v. Galvin (09-920).  The full order list is here.  The Court also announced two opinions:

In Hui v. Castaneda (08-1529), the Court unanimously reverses and remands the lower court decision.  Justice Sotomayor writes the opinion.

  • Holding: Public health service officers and employees are immune from Bivens actions for constitutional harms committed in the line of duty.

In Renico v. Lett (09-338), the Court, on a 6-3 vote, reverses and remands the lower court decision.  Chief Justice Roberts writes for the majority, while Justice Stevens dissents, joined in full by Justice Sotomayor and in part by Justice Breyer.

  • Holding: The Michigan Supreme Court decision in the case was “reasonable” under federal habeas law, and therefore the Sixth Circuit was wrong in granting habeas relief to Reginald Lett.

The briefs in Simmons v. Galvin and the full texts of both opinions follow the jump.

Title: Simmons v. Galvin
Docket: 09-920
Issues: (1) Whether Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (“VRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1973, applies to state felon disenfranchisement laws that result in discrimination on the basis of race; and (2) whether the Massachusetts felon disenfranchisement scheme established in 2000 violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution as applied to those Massachusetts felons who were incarcerated and yet had the right to vote prior to 2000.

Hui v. a No. 08-1529

Renico v. Lett, No. 09-338