2005 term United States Supreme Court opinions of Samuel Alito

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The 2005 term of the Supreme Court of the United States began October 3, 2005 and concluded October 1, 2006. This was the first term of Associate Justice Samuel Alito's tenure on the Court. Justice Alito official.jpg
Samuel Alito 2005 term statistics
Majority or Plurality
Concurrence/dissent Total = 9
Bench opinions = 9 Opinions relating to orders = 0 In-chambers opinions = 0
Unanimous opinions: 2 Most joined by: Scalia, Thomas (6) Least joined by: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer (2)
Type Case Citation Issues Joined by Other opinions

Holmes v. South Carolina 547 U.S. 319 (2006)

Rights of the accused  • right to present evidence of third-party guilt Unanimous
Alito's first opinion on the Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for a criminal defendant's evidence of third-party guilt to be excluded based only on the strength of the prosecution's case. This standard was irrational because whether the prosecution's evidence was strong had no logical bearing on the reliability and probative value of the defendant's proferred evidence.

Zedner v. United States 547 U.S. 489 (2006)

Rights of the accused  • Speedy Trial Act Roberts, Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer; Scalia (in part)
Alito's unanimous decision ruled that a criminal defendant cannot prospectively waive the protections of the Speedy Trial Act of 1974. Justice Scalia declined to join the portion of Alito's opinion addressing the Act's legislative history, and wrote a separate concurrence criticizing that method of statutory interpretation.

Dixon v. United States 548 U.S. 1 (2006)

Federal firearms law  • rights of the accused  • burden of proof on defense of duress Scalia
Alito concurred in the Court's opinion and in its 7-2 judgment that a defendant charged with the federal crime of receiving a firearm while under indictment had the burden of proving the affirmative defense of duress. Alito wrote separately to express his understanding that the allocation of the burden would not vary from one federal criminal statute to another. The defendant had the burden at common law, and Alito did not believe Congress reassessed the burden with every new statutory enactment so that the allocation would impliedly follow the current legal trends.

Burlington, N. & S. F. R. Co. v. White 548 U.S. 53 (2006)

Civil rights  • Title VII
Alito concurred in the Court's judgment, but disagreed with its reasoning.

Woodford v. Ngo 548 U.S. 81 (2006)

prisoners' rights  • Prison Litigation Reform Act Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas
Alito's majority opinion ruled that the Prison Litigation Reform Act required administrative remedies to be properly exhausted before prison conditions could be challenged in federal court. Remedies that were unavailable only because they were time-barred were not properly exhausted. Justice Stevens dissented.

United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez 548 U.S. 140 (2006)

Rights of the accused  • Sixth Amendment  • right to counsel Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas
Alito's first dissent on the Court was in response to a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Scalia. Alito wrote that the Court had misinterpreted the Sixth Amendment's protection of the right to counsel to protect a defendant's choice of counsel, when he believed the text and history of the Amendment indicated that it merely protected a defendant's right to assistance that was as effective as his choice of counsel would be. Even if it protected choice of counsel, it did not mean that violation of this right should be grounds for automatic reversal. Instead, because the Constitution lacked directives as to how such rights should be enforced, the Court should follow the Congressional directive to apply harmless error analysis.

Randall v. Sorrell 548 U.S. 230 (2006)

First Amendment  • free speech  • campaign finance reform
Alito concurred in the Court's judgment, and concurred in the plurality's opinion in part.

Arlington Central School Dist. Bd. of Ed. v. Murphy 548 U.S. 291 (2006)

Civil rights  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas
Alito wrote the five-justice majority for a 6-3 decision that prevailing parents under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act were not entitled to an award of expert witness fees. Justices Souter and Breyer filed dissenting opinions.

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld 548 U.S. 557 (2006)

Scalia, Thomas (in part)
Alito also joined Scalia's dissent, and Thomas' in part.