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Details on today’s opinions

The Court issued three opinions this morning:

Milner v. Department of the Navy (09-1163) – In a 8-1 opinion by Justice Kagan, the Court reversed the decision of the Ninth Circuit.  This is a FOIA case under Exemption 2, regarding internal personnel rules and practices. The Court held that because the exemption encompasses only records that relate to employee relations and human resources issues,  the maps in this case — describing the location of explosives — do not qualify for withholding.

Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion.  Justice Breyer filed a dissent. 

Wall v. Kholi (09-868) – In a unanimous opinion by Justice Alito, the Court affirmed the decision of the First Circuit.  The case concerns the time limits for filing a federal petition for habeas corpus under AEDPA, which generally allows inmates one year to file a petition, but tolls the time limit while the inmate’s case is on “collateral review” in the state courts.  The Court held that the phrase “collateral review” in AEDPA means judicial review of a judgment in a proceeding that is not part of direct review.  Accordingly, state proceedings on an inmate’s motion to reduce his sentence did toll the time to file his federal habeas petition.

Justice Scalia concurred in part.

Skinner v. Switzer (09-9000) – In a 6-3 opinion by Justice Ginsburg, the Court reversed the decision of the Fifth Circuit.   Skinner filed a civil rights suit under Section 1983, seeking access to DNA evidence to challenge his state conviction.  The Court held that federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over such claims, which are properly cognizable under Section 1983.

Justice Thomas filed a dissent, which was joined by Justice Kennedy and Justice Alito. 

Recommended Citation: Adam Schlossman, Details on today’s opinions, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 7, 2011, 11:06 AM),