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Today’s orders and opinions

The Court granted cert. in three cases today: Chase Bank USA v. McCoy (09-329), Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy v. Reinhard (09-529), and Walker v. Martin (09-996).  The Solicitor General had earlier filed amicus briefs requested from the Court in Chase Bank and Reinhard, recommending grants in both.

The Court also decided four cases:

In Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms (09-475), the Court reverses and remands on a 7-1 vote.  Justice Alito writes the opinion for the Court.  Justice Stevens dissents alone.  Justice Breyer took no part in the case.

  • Holding: The respondents do have standing in the case, and that the district court abused its discretion in enjoining the partial deregulation and prohibiting the planting of the seed.

In Kawasaki v. Regal Beloit (08-1553; 08-1554), the Court reverses on a 6-3 vote.  Justice Kennedy writes the Court’s opinion, while Justice Sotomayor dissents, joined by Justices Stevens and Ginsburg.

  • Holding: The Carmack Amendment does not apply to a shipment that originated overseas under a single through bill of lading.  The parties’ agreement to litigate their agreement in Japan is binding.

In Rent-A-Center, West v. Jackson (09-497), the Court reverses on a 5-4 vote.  Justice Scalia writes the opinion for majority, while Justice Stevens dissents, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.

  • Holding: Under the Federal Arbitration Act, when an agreement to arbitrate includes an agreement that the arbitrator will determine the enforceability agreement: if a party specifically challenges the enforceability of that particular agreement, the district court considers the challenge, but if a party challenges the enforceability of the agreement as a whole, the challenge is for the arbitrator.

In Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (08-1498; 09-89), the Court affirms in part, reverses in part, and remands on a 6-3 vote.  Chief Justice Roberts writes the Court’s opinion, while Justice Breyer dissents, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor.

  • Holding: The federal material-support statute is constitutional as applied to the particular kinds of support that the parties in this case seek to provide to foreign terrorist organizations.  The Court concludes that, as applied to these individuals and groups, the statute does not violate the free speech clause of the First Amendment.
  • Note: On the bench, Justice Breyer read from his dissent.

The full texts of the four opinions, and the briefs in the granted cases, appear after the jump.

Title: Walker v. Martin
Docket: 09-996
Issue: Whether, in federal habeas corpus proceedings, a state law under which a prisoner may be barred from collaterally attacking his conviction when the prisoner “substantially delayed” filing his habeas petition is “inadequate” to support a procedural bar because (1) the federal court believes that the rule is vague and (2) the state failed to prove that its courts “consistently” exercised their discretion when applying the rule in other cases.

Title: Chase Bank USA v. McCoy
Docket: 09-329
Issue: When a creditor increases the periodic rate on a credit card account in response to a cardholder default, pursuant to a default rate term that was disclosed in the contract governing the account, does Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. § 226.9(c), require the creditor to provide the cardholder with a change-in-terms notice even though the contractual terms governing the account have not changed?

Title: Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy v. Reinhard
Docket: 09-529
Issue: Whether the Eleventh Amendment categorically precludes an independent state agency from bringing an action in federal court against state officials for prospective injunctive relief to remedy a violation of federal law.

No. 09-475, Monsanto Co. v. Geerston Seed Farms

No. 09-497, Rent-A-Center v. Jackson

Nos. 08-1553 and 08-1554, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha v. Regal Beloit

Nos. 08-1498 and 09-89, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project