Still no word on 2nd amendment rights. There are only 7 cases still pending before the Supreme Court after todays decisions. This week or next will likely see the rest of the 2007 term opinions.
Sprint Communications v. APCC Services
Breyer wrote the majority, joined by Stevens, Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Souter.
Roberts wrote the dissent, joined by Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.
At issue here is whether a fixed-fee assignee, who has no stake in the litigation it is entering into, has standing (an injury in fact, cause by defendant, which may be redressed by the court) to sue on a debt when any proceeds from the litigation must be distributed to the assignor. The majority sharply redefined the meaning of "injury in fact" through a bit of historical reinterpretation. The dissent clearly pointed this out, demonstrating a clear break from established precident on the standing issue.
I think a lot of attorneys are going to see this as a quick and dirty way to get around the economic protections built by the class action lawsuit process.
Greenlaw v. United States
Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas.
Breyer filed a concurannce.
Alito wrote a dissent, joined by Stevents and Breyer (parts I-III).
At issue here is whether in a criminal case, because of the lower court's mistake, an appellate court can order an increase in defendant's sentence without an appeal by the government. The Supreme Court said that such an increase, despite being plain error, is a violation of our adversarial system of jurisprudence.
A quote from Scalia (on another case) on judicial restraint "[Courts] do not, or should not, sally forth each day looking for wrongs to right."
Interesting to note, the manditory minimum for the sentence should have been 25 years. The district court only sentenced the defendant to 10 years. On appeal, the defendant argued he should have been imprisoned for 15 years.
Alito's dissent discussed the appellate power of a court, asking why the appellate court could raise an issue on it's own initiative, but was barred from ruling on that issue.
Rothgery v. Gillespie County
Souter wrote the majority, joined by Roberts, Stevens, Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Alito.
Roberts wrote a concurrance, joined by Scalia.
Alito wrote a concurrance, joined by Roberts and Scalia.
Thomas wrote a dissent.
At issue was if a defendant cannot afford an attorney, at what stage of the proceeding should one be appointed to him. The defendant was accused and jailed prior to trial, without an attorney being appointed to him. His total jail stay was 3 weeks before he had an attorney appointed, who quickly established that the defendant didn't have any prior felony convictions (he was accused of possessing a firearm by a felon). While the statute says that the right to appointed counsel does not attach until prosecution commences, and no prosecutor was involved until well after the defendant's incarceration. The Supreme Court ruled that the 6th amendment right to counsel attaches as soon as the defendant is thrown into the lions den of the judicial system.
Thomas has a good dissent, consistent with his originalist stance on constitutional interpretation.