The Supreme Court issued two opinions today, and as usual, denied a slew of petitions for writ of certiorari. The Court’s opinions and order list can be viewed here.
The opinions issued in Presley v. Georgia (09-5270) and Wellons v. Hall (09-5731), involved criminal law issues which were summarily decided by the Court without the benefit of oral argument. Presley questioned whether a trial court could exclude the public from the voir dire of prospective jurors. The Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires that trial courts are “obligated to take every reasonable measure to accommodate public attendance at criminal trials.” In Wellons, the Court issued a GVR order (granting certiorari, vacating the judgment below, and remanding the case back to the lower court), based on its conclusion that the lower court erroneously denied Wellons federal habeas corpus review. The per curiam opinion drew separate dissents from Justices Scalia and Alito.
The Court did not grant new certiorari petitions. The lack of cert action by the Court most likely reflects the fact that the Court granted five petitions last Friday. At this juncture of the term, this is not an unusual move. In order to expedite briefing schedules, the Court will often announce the granting of certiorari on the day of conference. This is exactly what occurred on Friday as the Court expedited briefing on all five cases. Those five cases are:
- Krupski v. Crociere (09-337)
- Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co. (09-448)
- Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms (09-475)
- Rent-A-Car v. Jackson (09-497)
- Doe v. Reed (09-559)
Notably, the Court also relisted several cases from previous conferences. The Court infrequently relists cases and does so for a variety of reasons. Those reasons include:
- the Court is waiting on the lower court record (see e.g., Thaler v. Haynes (09-273)
- one or more Justices need further time to consider the case (see e.g., City of Ontario v. Quon, (08-1332)
- a Justice may be preparing a dissent from the denial of certiorari (see e.g., Virginia v. Harris, (08-1385)
- the Court may be considering summary disposition (see e.g., Presley v. Georgia (09-5270) and Wellons v. Hall (09-5731)).
Among, the relisted cases is a plea for review from former Panama military dictator Manuel Noriega. Noriega v. Pastrana, (09-35), has, remarkably, been relisted for the tenth time. The other cases which were relisted are: