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No SCOTUS Criminal Cases Today

The US Supreme Court issued one opinion today.  United States v. Tohono O'odham Nation is a civil case about having two suits in two different courts at the same time on substantially the same claim.  (The unsurprising answer: no.)  Today's oral argument is also a civil case.

The question of when two claims are the same is not a trivial one, and it arises frequently in habeas cases under 28 U.S.C. ยง2254(d).  CJLF has briefed the issue several times, including in Bell v. Kelly, but the Supreme Court has not yet squarely addressed it in the habeas context.  Today's decision turns largely on the unique history and language of the federal claims statute and will likely be little help in other contexts.

Here is one nugget from today's opinion, page 7: "Still, the Court of Appeals was wrong to allow its precedent to suppress the statute's aims. Courts should not render statutes nugatory through construction."  That should be usable in habeas cases, especially in circuits divisible by three.

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