In United States v. Washington the U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously that Washington State workers’ compensation law, which makes it easier for federal contractors to receive unemployment compensation, violates the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.Continue reading
SCOTUS Holds Religious Schools Can’t be Excluded from Voucher Programs
In Carson v. Makin the U.S. Supreme Court held 6-3 that Maine’s refusal to provide tuition assistance payments to “sectarian” schools violates the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.Continue reading
SCOTUS Decides Federal Arbitration Act Case Involving California’s Private Attorney General Act
In Viking River Cruises v. Moriana the U.S. Supreme Court held 8-1 that the Federal Arbitration Acts (FAA) preempt a holding of the California Supreme Court “insofar as it precludes division of [California private attorney general] actions into individual and non-individual claims through an agreement to arbitrate.”Continue reading
Supreme Court Rules for Tribes in Indian Gaming Case
In Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo v. Texas the U.S. Supreme Court held 5-4 that per the Restoration Act Texas may only prohibit particular types of gaming on Indian reservations where Texas law prohibits that type of gaming throughout the rest of the state.Continue reading
SCOTUS Decides Billion Dollar Medicare Drug Reimbursement Case
In American Hospital Association v. Becerra the U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously that if Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to reimburse Section 340B hospitals for certain outpatient prescription drugs provided to Medicare patients at a different rate than other hospitals it must conduct a survey of hospitals’ drug acquisition costs.Continue reading
SCOTUS Allows States to Recover Settlements for Future Medical Care to Reimburse Medicaid
States participating in Medicaid must require Medicaid beneficiaries to assign the state “any rights . . . to payment for medical care from any third party.” In Gallardo v. Marstiller the U.S. Supreme Court held 7-2 that states may collect from third party tortfeasors settlements allocated for the cost of future (not only past) medical care.Continue reading
SCOTUS to Decide Post-Conviction DNA Testing Statute of Limitations Case
In Reed v. Goertz the U.S. Supreme Court will decide when the statute of limitations begins to run on a claim seeking post-conviction DNA testing of crime scene evidence. All fifty states and the District of Columbia allow postconviction DNA testing in some circumstances.
Rodney Reed was convicted of capital murder in 1998. Stacey Stites’ body and some personal items were found in one location; the truck she shared with her fiancé and other personal items were found at another location. The medical examiner concluded Stites had likely been sexually assaulted prior to being killed. A DNA profile of the sperm found matched with Reed. Reed claims he and Stites were having a consensual affair and that he is innocent.
In 2014 Reed asked the state court to test Stites’ personal items found at both locations pursuant to Texas’s post-conviction DNA testing law. In November 2014 the trial court denied the order. Reed’s unsuccessful appeals ended in October 2017.
In Skinner v. Switzer (2011) the Supreme Court held that state prisoners denied post-conviction DNA testing of crime-scene evidence may bring 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuits seeking “to show that the governing state law denies [them] procedural due process.” Section 1983 is a federal statute which allows government officials and entities to be sued for money damages for constitutional violations.
In August 2019 Reed brought a Section 1983 claim challenging the constitutionality of Texas’s post-conviction DNA testing law. The Fifth Circuit held it was barred by the statute of limitations which began running as soon as the state trial court denied the DNA testing in November 2014.
Texas has a 2-year statute of limitations that applies to Section 1983 cases so filing the Section 1983 action in August 2019 was too late.
Per Fifth Circuit precedent the statute of limitations begins to run on Section 1983 cases “the moment the plaintiff becomes aware . . . he has suffered an injury or has sufficient information to know that he has been injured.”
According to the Fifth Circuit: “Here, Reed first became aware that his right to access that evidence was allegedly being violated when the trial court denied his . . . .motion [for post-conviction DNA testing] in November 2014. Reed had the necessary information to know that his rights were allegedly being violated as soon as the trial court denied his motion for post-conviction relief.”
In his petition asking the Court to hear his case Reed argues that the statute of limitations to bring challenges to post-conviction DNA statutes shouldn’t begin running until the end of state-court litigation denying DNA testing, including any appeals. According to Reed: “Before the state appellate court interprets the statute, a movant cannot know definitively what the statute means and whether it is adequate to protect his constitutional rights.”
SCOTUS to Decide Significant State Court Jurisdiction Case
In Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether states may grant their courts general jurisdiction to hear cases involving businesses that register to do business in their state.Continue reading
Supreme Court to Decide Significant Spending Clause Case
In Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County, Indiana v. Talevski the U.S. Supreme may decide two questions. First, it may review its holding that Spending Clause legislation allows private parties to bring lawsuits for money damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Section 1983). Assuming the Court doesn’t overturn this holding it will decide whether such claims may be brought under the Federal Nursing Home Amendments Act (FNHRA) transfer and medication rules.Continue reading
Boston Loses Third-Party Flag SCOTUS Case
In Shurtleff v. City of Boston the U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously that Boston’s refusal to fly a Christian flag on a flagpole outside city hall violated the First Amendment.Continue reading