2001 term per curiam opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States

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The Supreme Court of the United States handed down nine per curiam opinions during its 2001 term, which began on October 1, 2001, and concluded on October 6, 2002.[1]

Because per curiam decisions are issued from the Court as an institution, these opinions all lack the attribution of authorship or joining votes to specific justices. All justices on the Court at the time the decision was handed down are assumed to have participated and concurred unless otherwise noted.

Court membership[edit]

Chief Justice: William Rehnquist

Associate Justices: John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer

Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Mineta[edit]

534 U.S. 103

Decided November 27, 2001

Writ of certiorari dismissed as improvidently granted.

Full case name: Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Norman Y. Mineta, Secretary of Transportation, et al.
Citations: 534 U.S. 103
Prior history: Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña, 515 U.S. 200 (1995) (Adarand I); on remand, 965 F. Supp. 1556 (D. Colo. 1997); vacated, sub nom. Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Slater, 169 F. 3d 1292 (10th Cir. 1999); rev'd, 528 U.S. 216 (2000); aff'd in part, 228 F. 3d 1147 (10th Cir. 2000); cert. granted, 532 U.S. 941 (2001)
Full text of the Court's decision (.pdf)

Sao Paulo State of Federative Republic of Brazil v. American Tobacco Co.[edit]

535 U.S. 229

Decided April 1, 2002

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded.

In a tobacco-products liability suit brought by a foreign state against an American cigarette manufacturer, the Fifth Circuit held that 28 U.S.C. § 455(a)[2] required the disqualification of the trial court judge because his name had appeared, albeit erroneously, prior to his appointment to the bench, on a motion to file an amicus curiae brief in a similar suit against some of the same defendants. The motion was submitted by an organization of which the judge had been president, but from which he had retired six months prior to its filing. The judge accordingly refused to disqualify himself because his name appeared in error on the motion to file the amicus brief and because he took no part in preparation or approval of the brief. The Fifth Circuit, however, ruled that his explanation would not "dissipate the doubts that a reasonable person would probably have about the court’s impartiality."

The Supreme Court reversed, finding the Fifth Circuit's decision inconsistent with Liljeberg v. Health Services Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847 (1988), which stated that §455(a) requires judicial recusal "if a reasonable person, knowing all the circumstances, would expect that the judge would have actual knowledge" of his interest or bias in the case. The Court characterized the Fifth Circuit's decision as based on what "a reasonable person would believe without knowing (or giving due weight to the fact) that the judge’s name was added mistakenly and without his knowledge to a pro forma motion to file an amicus brief in a separate controversy."

Full case name: Sao Paulo State of the Federative Republic of Brazil v. American Tobacco Co., Inc., et al.
Citations: 535 U.S. 229
Prior history: Motion for disqualification denied, Minute Entry in Civ. Action Nos. 00–0922, 98–3279 (E.D. La., May 26, 2000); rev'd, sub nom. Republic of Panama v. American Tobacco Co., 250 F. 3d 315 (5th Cir. 2001) (per curiam); rehearing en banc denied, 265 F. 3d 299 (5th Cir. 2001)
Full text of the Court's decision (.pdf)

Mathias v. WorldCom Technologies, Inc.[edit]

535 U.S. 682

Decided May 20, 2002

Writ of certiorari dismissed as improvidently granted.

The Court dismissed the writ of certiorari following full briefing and oral argument, determining that the petitioners were the prevailing parties below, and sought review of findings that were not essential to the judgment and not binding upon them in future litigation. The Court stated that "[a]s a general rule, a party may not appeal from a favorable judgment simply to obtain review of findings it deems erroneous." The Court noted that it had since granted certiorari in another case that arose in the same factual context to review the same issues.

O'Connor took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Full case name: Richard L. Mathias, et al. v. Worldcom Technologies, Inc., et al.
Citations: 535 U.S. 682
Prior history:
Full text of the Court's decision (.pdf)

Horn v. Banks[edit]

536 U.S. 236

Decided June 17, 2002

Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded.

Full case name: Martin Horn, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, et al. v. George E. Banks
Citations: 536 U.S. 236
Prior history: Petition denied, 63 F. Supp. 2d 525 (M.D. Penn. 1999); rev'd in part, 271 F. 3d 527 (3d Cir. 2001).
Full text of the Court's decision (.pdf)

Kirk v. Louisiana[edit]

536 U.S. 635

Decided June 24, 2002

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, reversed and remanded

Full case name: Kennedy D. Kirk v. Louisiana
Citations: 536 U.S. 635
Prior history: Motion to suppress evidence denied; defendant convicted and sentenced; aff'd, 773 So. 2d 259 (La. Ct. App. 2000); review denied, La.
Full text of the Court's decision (.pdf)

Stewart v. Smith[edit]

536 U.S. 856

Decided June 28, 2002

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded.

Full case name: Terry L. Stewart, Director, Arizona Department of Corrections v. Robert Douglas Smith
Citations: 536 U.S. 856
Prior history: Petition denied, D. Ariz.; rev'd, 241 F. 3d 1191 (9th Cir. 2001); cert. granted, question certified, 534 U.S. 157 (2001); reply to certified question, 46 P. 3d 1067 (Ariz. 2002)
Full text of the Court's decision (.pdf)

United States v. Bass[edit]

536 U.S. 862

Decided June 28, 2002

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed.

Full case name: United States v. John Bass
Citations: 536 U.S. 862
Prior history: Motion for discovery granted, E.D. Mich.; aff'd, 266 F. 3d 532 (6th Cir. 2001)
Full text of the Court's decision (.pdf)


  1. ^ The description of two opinions have been omitted. In Stewart v. Smith, 534 U.S. 157 (2001), the Supreme Court granted certiorari and certified a question to the Arizona Supreme Court; see later opinion at Stewart v. Smith, 536 U.S. 856 (2002) for a full account. In Adams v. Florida Power Corp., 535 U.S. 228 (2002), the Court dismissed certiorari as improvidently granted.
  2. ^ 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). "Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."