2009 term United States Supreme Court opinions of John Paul Stevens

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The table below lists all opinions filed by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens during the 2009 term of the Supreme Court of the United States, which began on October 5, 2009 and will conclude on October 3, 2010. This was the thirty-fifth and final term of Stevens' tenure on the Court; he retired June 29, 2010. John Paul Stevens, SCOTUS photo portrait.jpg
John Paul Stevens 2009 term statistics
6
Majority or Plurality
13
Concurrence
3
Other
13
Dissent
2
Concurrence/dissent Total = 37
Bench opinions = 33 Opinions relating to orders = 4 In-chambers opinions = 0
Unanimous decisions: 1 Most joined by: Ginsburg, Sotomayor (8) Least joined by: Scalia, Thomas (4)
Case Issue Joined by


United States v. Seale
558 U.S. ___ (2009)
Federal criminal law: statute of limitations Scalia
Stevens filed a statement respecting the Court's dismissal of a certified question, regarding which statute of limitations applied to the federal crime of kidnapping, 18 U.S.C. § 1201. The question arose in the federal prosecution, begun in 2007, of KKK member James Ford Seale for his role in the 1964 murders of two black teens. There was no statute of limitations for capital crimes, but if the crime was not capital in nature the limitations period would be five years and have since expired. Section 1201 was punishable by death at the time of the crime and at the time of the prosecution, but not for more than two decades in between due to a repeal of the relevant death penalty provision in 1972. The District Court in Seale's prosecution ruled that the repeal did not retroactively change the character of the crime, which a panel of the Fifth Circuit then reversed. The Fifth Circuit vacated that decision for an en banc review, but then evenly divided and so the District Court's ruling was reinstated. A majority of the Fifth Circuit then voted to certify the question to the Supreme Court.

Stevens believed the certified issue was "a pure question of law that may well determine the outcome of a number of cases of ugly racial violence remaining from the 1960s." Though the question was interlocutory, due to Seale's appeal on other grounds, Stevens saw no reason to delay the resolution of that question, which Stevens viewed as "narrow, debatable, and important." Stevens further noted that the Court had not accepted a certified question since 1981, but that the certification process remains law because it "serves a valuable, if limited, function."



Muhammad v. Kelly
558 U.S. ___ (2009)
Death penalty Ginsburg, Sotomayor
Stevens filed a statement respecting the Court's denial of a stay of execution, and denial of the petition for certiorari.


Wong v. Belmontes
558 U.S. ___ (2009)
Ineffective assistance of counsel; death penalty; jury instructions
Stevens filed an opinion concurring in the Supreme Court's judgment that a convicted murderer on death row had failed to show that his attorney's failure to present more mitigating evidence affected the outcome of his sentencing. Stevens, however, criticized the Supreme Court's prior decision in the same case, from which he had dissented, and stated that he strongly disagreed with the decision to review the case again. The jury had been erroneously instructed that they could not give mitigating weight to any factors that did not reduce his culpability for the crime, which lead it to disregard evidence of the defendant's religious conversion and contributions to a youth rehabilitation program that could have "afford[ed] the jury a principled basis for imposing a sentence other than death." Stevens noted that "the conscientious jurors' mistaken understanding of the law would have prevented them from giving that additional evidence 'any weight at all,' let alone controlling weight."


Johnson v. Bredesen
558 U.S. (2009)
Eighth Amendment: death penalty Breyer
Stevens filed a statement respecting the Court's denial of certiorari and a stay of execution.


Michigan v. Fisher
558 U.S. ___ (2009)
Fourth Amendment: emergency aid exception Sotomayor


Alvarez v. Smith
558 U.S. ___ (2009)


Smith v. Spisak
558 U.S. ___ (2010)


NRG Power Marketing, LLC v. Maine Pub. Util. Comm'n
558 U.S. ___ (2010)


Wood v. Allen
558 U.S. ___ (2010)
Kennedy


Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n
558 U.S. ___ (2010)
First Amendment: free speech: campaign finance restrictions Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor


Florida v. Powell
559 U.S. ___ (2010)
Fifth Amendment: Miranda warnings Breyer (in part)


Maryland v. Shatzer
559 U.S. ___ (2010)


Florida v. Rigterink
559 U.S. ___ (2010)
Stevens dissented from the Court's summary granting of a certiorari petition, vacatur of decision by the Florida Supreme Court, and remand of the case. Stevens believed the lower court's decision rested upon an adequate and independent state ground, leaving the Court without jurisdiction to vacate the judgment.


Graham County Soil and Water Conservation Dist. v. United States ex rel. Wilson
559 U.S. ___ (2010)
Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Alito; Scalia (in part)


Padilla v. Kentucky
559 U.S. ___ (2010)
Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor


Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates, P. A. v. Allstate Ins. Co.
559 U.S. ___ (2010)


Merck & Co. v. Reynolds
559 U.S. ___ (2010)


Salazar v. Buono
559 U.S. ___ (2010)
First Amendment: Establishment Clause Ginsburg, Sotomayor


Renico v. Lett
559 U.S. ___ (2010)
Sotomayor; Breyer (in part)


Abbott v. Abbott
560 U.S. ___ (2010)
Thomas, Breyer


Graham v. Florida
560 U.S. ___ (2010)
Ginsburg, Sotomayor


American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League
560 U.S. ___ (2010)
Antitrust Unanimous


United States v. O'Brien
560 U.S. ___ (2010)


Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co.
560 U.S. ___ (2010)


United States v. Marcus
560 U.S. ___ (2010)


Samantar v. Yousuf
560 U.S. ___ (2010)
Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor


Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder
560 U.S. ___ (2010)
Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor


New Process Steel, L. P. v. NLRB
560 U.S. ___ (2010)
Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito


Ontario v. Quon
560 U.S. ___ (2010)


Dillon v. United States
560 U.S. ___ (2010)


Rent-A-Center, West, Inc. v. Jackson
561 U.S. ___ (2010)
Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor


Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms
561 U.S. ___ (2010)


Doe v. Reed
561 U.S. ___ (2010)
Breyer


Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd.
561 U.S. ___ (2010)
Ginsburg


Bilski v. Kappos
561 U.S. ___ (2010)
Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor


Christian Legal Soc. Chapter of Univ. of Cal., Hastings College of Law v. Martinez
561 U.S. ___ (2010)


McDonald v. Chicago
561 U.S. ___ (2010)

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