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Today’s orders and opinions

The Court issued five opinions today and granted one new case, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research v. United States (09-837).

In Carr v. United States (08-1301), the Court, on a 6-3 vote, reverses and remands in an opinion by Justice Sotomayor. Justice Scalia concurs in part and in the judgment, but joins most of Justice Sotomayor’s opinion.  Justice Alito dissents, joined by Justices Thomas and Ginsburg.

  • Holding: The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, a 2007 law that requires sex offenders to register, does not apply to sex offenders whose interstate travel occurred before the Act went into effect.

In Levin v. Commerce Energy (09-223), the Court reverses and remands, with Justice Ginsburg writing the opinion for the Court.  The vote is unanimous.  Justice Kennedy concurs and Justice Thomas concurs in the judgment only, joined by Justice Scalia.  Justice Alito concurs separately in the judgment.

  • Holding: Under the doctrine of comity, a tax payer’s lawsuit claiming discriminatory state taxation must proceed originally in state court, even when it is a request to increase the tax burden on a competitor.

In Berghuis v. Thompkins (08-1470), the Court reverses and remands in an opinion by Justice Kennedy.  The vote is 5-4, with Justice Sotomayor dissenting joined by Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer.

  • Holding: The Court upholds the state court decision rejecting the claim of a violation of Miranda v. Arizona.  The defendant’s silence while being questioned by police did not amount to an invocation of his Miranda right to remain silent.

In Alabama v. North Carolina (132 Original), the Court overrules the exceptions to the Special Master’s reports and adopts the Special Master’s recommendations.  Justice Scalia writes the opinion for the Court.  Justice Kennedy concurs in part and in the judgment, joined by Justice Sotomayor.  The Chief Justice dissents in part and concurs in part, joined by Justice Thomas; Justice Breyer separately dissents in part and concurs in part, joined by the Chief Justice.

In Samantar v. Yousuf (08-1555), the Court affirms the lower court’s judgment and remands the case, in an opinion by Justice Stevens.  The vote is unanimous.  Justice Alito concurs, Justice Thomas concurs in part and concurs in the judgment, and Justice Scalia separately concurs in the judgment.

  • Holding:  Former Somalian official Mohamed Ali Samantar’s claim of immunity to a damages lawsuit for alleged atrocities in Somalia is not governed by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  But the Court leaves to litigation in the lower court whether Samantar is entitled to common law immunity, or whether he may assert other legal defenses.

The full order list is here.  Separately from that list, the Court also issued an order in the Arizona election subsidies case McComish v. Bennett, refusing to vacate the prior stay of the 9th Circuit.

Below are the texts of the opinions, and the briefs in Mayo Foundation.

Title: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research v. United States
Docket: 09-837
Issue: Whether the Treasury Department can categorically exclude all medical residents and other full-time employees from the definition of “student” in 26 U.S.C. § 3121(b)(10), which exempts from Social Security taxes “service performed in the employ of a school, college, or university” by a “student who is enrolled and regularly attending classes at such school, college, or university.”

No. 08-1301, Carr v. United States

No. 09-223, Levin v. Commerce Energy

No. 08-1470, Berghuis v. Thompkins

No. 132 Original, Alabama v. North Carolina

No. 08-1555, Samantar v. Yousuf