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SCOTUS enters term's final weeks; issues 4 opinions

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued opinions on four cases.

In Williams V. Illinois, the court in a 5-4 decision affirmed a divided opinion of the Illinois Supreme Court. The court ruled that the testimony of an expert witnesses about DNA evidence collected by a witness who did not testify did not violate the Confrontation Clause. The decision was written by Justice Samuel Alito and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer, who wrote a concurring opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas concurred in judgment only. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagen, Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

In Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak et al., the court in an 8-1 opinion ruled that a lawsuit against a Michigan Indian casino south of Grand Rapids may proceed. Sotomayor was the lone dissent in a ruling that a casino opponent had standing to sue in a case in which the United States claimed an interest in land that was not tribal property.

In Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter, justices ruled in a 5-4 decision that the United States government must pay the full costs of tribal contract support costs to fund services the tribes provided that once were done by the government, even though Congress capped those costs. Sotomayor wrote the majority opinion joined by Kagan, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas.

In Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham, the court in a 5-4 decision upheld a decision of the 9th Circuit that for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act, pharmaceutical representatives qualify as outside salesmen. Breyer dissented and was joined by Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor.

The SCOTUS did not issue opinions Monday on any of the highly anticipated health care cases or the Arizona immigration law challenge.

 

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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