Monday, July 6, 2009

New York and the Second Circuit in the U.S. Supreme Court

In the Term of the United States Supreme Court which concluded at the end of June, the State of New York had a direct interest in two cases: New York prevailed in one case, and lost in the other.

In Haywood v. Drown the Court by a 5-4 vote reversed the New York Court of Appeals and held unconstitutional Correction Law § 24 which bars federal 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights suits for monetary damages against correction officers in New York trial courts. Under the statute, such suits must be brought against the State in the Court of Claims, which does not have trial by jury and cannot award counsel fees.

Justice Stevens' majority opinion notes the dissent by Judge Jones in the Court of Appeals, and adopts much of his reasoning.

In Cuomo v, Clearing House Association a divided Supreme Court overruled the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and concluded that principles of federal preemption do not prohibit New York State's Attorney General from bringing judicial proceedings to enforce state laws against national banks.

The Supreme Court reviewed only one case from the New York Court of Appeals--the above mentioned Haywood v. Drown--and reversed the Court of Appeals.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit fared only slightly better. The Supreme Court reviewed nine of its rulings, affirming two of them, and reversing seven of them--a reversal rate of 77.8%.

This was not the worst reversal rate for the federal circuit courts. The Court reversed all of the cases it reviewed from the Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits. The Court reviewed 16 cases from the NInth Circuit--often seen as the most liberal circuit--and reversed 13 of them, a reversal rate of 81.25%.

The "Circuit Scorecard" can be found at scotusblog.

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