Bench Memos

Today’s Rulings

Next (and presumably last) session on Thursday.

Justice Kennedy wrote majority opinion in Arizona immigration case. Big and unexpected victory for Obama administration. Ought to be another big warning about overreading oral argument. 5-3 decision, with Chief, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor joining Kennedy. (Kagan recused.) Three of the four provisions of Arizona law are held to be preempted. The fourth — section 2(B) — is held to be susceptible to a narrow interpretation (requiring that status check be done during the course of an authorized, lawful detention or after detainee has been released) that wouldn’t be preempted. Scalia and Thomas, in separate dissents, would find all four of the provisions to be enforceable, and Alito would find three of the four not preempted.

Justice Kagan wrote majority opinion in 5-4 ruling holding that the Eighth Amendment forbids mandatory sentences of life imprisonment without parole for juvenile offenders.

Summary reversal, 5-4, of Montana campaign-finance ruling that defied Citizens United.

That’s it for today.

May update/clarify this post. Have been following SCOTUSblog’s live blog.


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