on Jun 5, 2012 at 9:43 am
Yesterday the Court issued two opinions in two argued cases, as well as orders from the May 31 Conference. The Court granted certiorari in one new case, Bailey v. United States.
In Armour v. City of Indianapolis, the Court held that because the city had a rational basis for its distinction between homeowners who paid their taxes in a lump sum and those who paid in installments, the city’s refusal to provide a refund to lump-sum payers did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. Lyle Denniston of this blog describes the opinion as “full of admonitions against courts’ second-guessing of state and local tax policy”; other coverage comes from Greg Stohr of Bloomberg and Maureen Groppe of the Indianapolis Star. Brent Kendall of WSJ Law Blog focuses on the dissent, written by the Chief Justice Roberts and joined by Justices Scalia and Alito, and the fact that Justice Thomas “unusually” joined the majority in this case.
In the second opinion of the day, Reichle v. Howards, the Court unanimously held that two Secret Service agents are entitled to qualified immunity from claims that they arrested a man in retaliation for remarks made about then-Vice President Dick Cheney.
Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justice Breyer, filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, while Justice Kagan recused herself from the case. The majority opinion, as Lyle Denniston of this blog explains, “chose to leave unanswered the power of police or federal agents to arrest a political protester whose views the officers find objectionable,” and instead focused only on the narrow question of immunity. Other coverage of the decision comes from Greg Stohr of Bloomberg, Adam Liptak of the New York Times, Bill Mears of CNN, Warren Richey of the Christian Science Monitor, David Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Mike Sacks of the Huffington Post, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, Josh Gerstein of Politico, Ruthann Robson of Constitutional Law Prof Blog, and Reuters. And Mike Dorf of the eponymous Dorf on Law characterizes the opinion as “a missed opportunity to clearly establish that government officials may not arrest people in retaliation for the exercise of their free speech rights, even if there may be some other ground on which an arrest might be based.”
Orders from the May 31 Conference included only one new grant: Bailey v. United States, in which the Court will consider whether police officers may detain an individual incident to the execution of a search warrant when the individual has left the immediate vicinity of the premises before the warrant is executed. The Associated Press and Courthouse News have brief summaries of the issues in Bailey.
And finally, other coverage focused on the cases in which the Court denied review. The Court declined to review the federal bribery convictions of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy (Bloomberg, Ballot Access News, CNN, Los Angeles Times) or the reinstatement of charges against four Blackwater security guards (Reuters, Associated Press), among others. Lyle Denniston of this blog also notes that the Court did not act on any of the seven new Guantanamo cases, but “that does not mean anything conclusive about whether the Court will at some point grant or deny any of the cases.”