The Court issued five opinions today, in Dillon v. United States, Schwab v. Reilly, City of Ontario v. Quon, Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and New Process Steel v. National Labor Relations Board. The full texts of all five opinions are below the jump.
In Dillon v. United States (09-6338), the Court affirms, in an opinion written by Justice Sotomayor. The vote is 7-1, with Justice Stevens dissenting alone. Justice Alito took no part in the consideration of the case.
- Holding: The decision limits the scope of the Supreme Court’s decision on sentencing guidelines in United States v. Booker (2005).
In Schwab v. Reilly (08-538), the Court reverses and remands on a 6-3 vote. Justice Thomas writes the opinion for the majority, while Justice Ginsburg dissents, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Breyer.
- Holding: An estate’s trustee in bankruptcy under Chapter 7 need not object to an exemption in order to preserve the estate’s ability to recover value in excess of what the debtor explicitly declared to be exempt.
In City of Ontario v. Quon (08-1332), the Court reverses and remands, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy. The judgment is unanimous, though there are a variety of opinions. Justice Scalia joins all but one part of the Court’s opinion, and additionally writes a concurrence in part and in the judgment. Justice Stevens writes a separate concurrence.
- Holding: The search of the police officer’s text messages to his colleagues and to a woman with whom he was having an affair was reasonable, and therefore the officer’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated. The opinion notes that the case “touches issues of far-reaching significance,” but adds that the case could be resolved simply by applying several principles on when a search is or is not reasonable.
In Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection (08-1151), the Court affirms, in an opinion by Justice Scalia. Justice Kennedy writes separately, concurring in part and in the judgment, joined by Justice Sotomayor; Justice Breyer concurs in part and in the judgment, joined by Justice Ginsburg. Justice Stevens did not participate in the decision.
- Holding: The Florida Supreme Court did not take property without just compensation, in violation of the federal Constitution in its ruling governing the restoration of beach front land.
- Note: The split is 4-4 on the most important question raised in the case, “judicial takings.” There are four Justices who support the proposition that whether property is taken by a legislature or a court, it can constitute a “taking” within the meaning of the Constitution. There are four other Justices who think the Court did not need to reach that issue in this case, but agree that in this case the state supreme court did not violate the Constitution.
In New Process Steel v. National Labor Relations Board (08-1457), the Court reverses and remands, in an opinion by Justice Stevens. The vote is 5-4. Justice Kennedy dissents, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.
- Holding: The National Labor Relations Act requires that the NLRB maintain a membership of at least three to exercise authority delegated to it by the full board.
The full texts of the opinions are below.