Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

One by Scalia, Two by Thomas


Those are the opinions for the Supreme Court today.  For a unanimous Court, Justice Scalia held in a case from Washington state that “it does not violate the First Amendment for a State to require that its public-sector unions receive affirmative authorization from a nonmember before spending that nonmember’s agency fees for election-related purposes.”

In a 7-2 case involving the U.N. missions of India and Mongolia in New York, Justice Thomas held for the Court that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 does not immunize a foreign government “from a lawsuit [by the city] to declare the validity of tax liens on property held by the sovereign for the purpose of housing its employees.”

And in a 5-4 case involving an Ohio murder convict’s habeas appeal, filed in circuit court past the statutory 14-day deadline but within a 17-day window he was mistakenly told he had by the district court, Justice Thomas held for the Court that “this Court has no authority to create equitable exceptions to jurisdictional requirements,” and no “unique circumstances” exception could be entertained.

All told, it looks like it was a good day for the rule of law at the Supreme Court.


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