2011 term United States Supreme Court opinions of Sonia Sotomayor

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The 2011 term of the Supreme Court of the United States began October 3, 2011 and concluded September 30, 2012. This was the third term of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor's tenure on the Court. Sonia Sotomayor in SCOTUS robe.jpg
Sonia Sotomayor 2011 term statistics
6
Majority or Plurality
7
Concurrence
1
Other
7
Dissent
1
Concurrence/dissent Total = 22
Bench opinions = 19 Opinions relating to orders = 3 In-chambers opinions = 0
Unanimous opinions: 0 Most joined by: Ginsburg, Kagan (8) Least joined by: Kennedy, Alito (4)
Type Case Citation Issues Joined by Other opinions
4-01



Buck v. Thaler • [full text] 565 U.S. ___ (2011)

death penalty Kagan
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Alito
Sotomayor dissented from the Court's denial of certiorari in a case involving the murder conviction and death sentence of an African-American in Texas state court. During the sentencing phase, a psychologist had improperly testified that blacks were more likely to be violent. Though the psychologist was a defense witness called to testify that the defendant would not pose a continuing threat to society behind bars, on cross-examination the prosecution further elicited statements from the psychologist regarding race as a predictor of future violence. In Sotomayor's view, "the salient fact was that the prosecution invited the jury to consider race as a factor in sentencing." Sotomayor also noted that the State had misrepresented to the lower courts the nature of other Texas death sentences that had involved the same psychologist but had already been set for resentencing, and she believed the District Court should have the opportunity to evaluate this case with a clear record.

Further reading

5-02



Cash v. Maxwell • [full text] 565 U.S. ___ (2012)

Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act  • due process  • false testimony  • jailhouse informants
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Scalia
Sotomayor filed a statement respecting the Court's denial of certiorari. A state court had found there was no credible or persuasive evidence that a jailhouse informant had lied in a murder trial when testifying that the defendant had confessed to him. Sotomayor agreed with the Ninth Circuit's finding that this was unreasonable, in light of voluminous evidence that the informant had lied about confessions in many other trials and had concededly lied about other matters in this trial, and therefore passed the high hurdle for setting aside a state court conviction under AEDPA. Disagreeing with Scalia's dissent, Sotomayor took issue with his characterization of the evidence that the informant lied as merely "circumstantial". She wrote that the dissent "insists that it is possible that Storch [the informant] repeatedly falsely implicated other defendants, and fabricated other material facts at Maxwell's trial, but uncharacteristically told the truth about Maxwell's supposed confession. Of course, that is possible. But it is not reasonable, given the voluminous evidence that Storch was a habitual liar who even the State concedes told other material lies at Maxwell's trial." She also noted that the Ninth Circuit had conducted the proper review under the law, and that the main purpose of granting certiorari is to clarify the law. "Mere disagreement with the Ninth Circuit's highly factbound conclusion is, in my opinion, an insufficient basis for granting certiorari."
2-03



CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood 565 U.S. ___ (2012)

Federal Arbitration Act  • Credit Repair Organizations Act Kagan
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Scalia
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Ginsburg
1-04



Gonzalez v. Thaler 565 U.S. ___ (2012)

Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996  • habeas corpus  • statute of limitations Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Kagan
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Scalia
4-05



Perry v. New Hampshire 565 U.S. ___ (2012)

Due Process Clause  • eyewitness identification made under suggestible circumstances
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Ginsburg
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Thomas
2-06



United States v. Jones 565 U.S. ___ (2012)

Fourth Amendment  • GPS tracking of suspect's vehicle
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Scalia
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Alito
4-07



Messerschmidt v. Millender 565 U.S. ___ (2012)

Fourth Amendment  • law enforcement reliance on overbroad search warrant  • qualified immunity Ginsburg
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Roberts
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Breyer
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Kagan
3-08



Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products Corp. 565 U.S. ___ (2012)

Locomotive Inspection Act  • injury from asbestos exposure  • state law claims for defective design and failure to warn  • federal preemption Ginsburg, Breyer
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Thomas
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Kagan
1-09



Roberts v. Sea-Land Services, Inc. 566 U.S. ___ (2012)

Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act  • date of assessment of compensation rate Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Alito, Kagan
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Ginsburg
2-10



Zivotofsky v. Clinton 566 U.S. ___ (2012)

political question doctrine  • U.S. position on status of Jerusalem  • Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003  • passport designation of births in Jerusalem Breyer (in part)
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Roberts
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Alito
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Breyer
4-11



FAA v. Cooper 566 U.S. ___ (2012)

Privacy Act of 1974  • sovereign immunity  • damages for mental or emotional distress Ginsburg, Breyer
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Alito
2-12



Filarsky v. Delia 566 U.S. ___ (2012)

qualified immunity  • private individuals temporarily working for government
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Roberts
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Ginsburg
2-13



Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S 566 U.S. ___ (2012)

pharmaceutical patents  • counterclaim by generic drug companies to force correction of patent-holder use code
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Kagan
2-14



Kappos v. Hyatt 566 U.S. ___ (2012)

patent law  • introduction of new evidence in challenge to denial of patent application Breyer
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Thomas
1-15



Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority 566 U.S. ___ (2012)

Torture Victim Protection Act  • liability against organizations Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Kagan; Scalia (in part)
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Breyer
1-16



Hall v. United States 566 U.S. ___ (2012)

bankruptcy  • priority of taxation on post-petition sale of farm assets Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito
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Breyer
4-17



Blueford v. Arkansas 566 U.S. ___ (2012)

double jeopardy  • retrial after mistrial due to hung jury Ginsburg, Kagan
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Roberts
1-18



Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter 567 U.S. ___ (2012)

Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act  • reimbursement of tribal contract support costs for public services  • Contract Disputes Act Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Kagan
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Roberts
4-19



Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak 567 U.S. ___ (2012)

Indian Reorganization Act  • government acquisition of property to provide to Native Americans  • sovereign immunity  • Quiet Title Act  • prudential standing
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Kagan
4-20



Fairey v. Tucker 567 U.S. ___ (2012)

Fourteenth Amendment  • trial in absentia
Sotomayor dissented from the Court's denial of certiorari.
2-21



Knox v. Service Employees 567 U.S. ___ (2012)

mootness due to voluntary cessation  • First Amendment  • compulsory fees for political lobbying by public sector agency shop Ginsburg
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Alito
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Breyer
1-22



Southern Union Co. v. United States 567 U.S. ___ (2012)

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976  • Sixth Amendment  • right to jury determination of facts relating to criminal fines Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg, Kagan
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Breyer

References