UPDATE: "The Supreme Court has finished issuing rulings for the day, without releasing a decision in the Ricci cases — the New Haven firefighters job discrimination litigation. The Court will issue further rulings on Monday."
From today's decisions, there is Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (PDF), a Confrontation Clause case, decided 5-4, with Justice Scalia writing the opinion joined by Stevens, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg. Kennedy dissents joined by Roberts, Breyer, and Alito.
Here, Scalia dispenses with pragmatic arguments against giving criminal defendants the right to cross-examine laboratory analysts who produce reports, used by the prosecution, certifying that a particular substance, seized from the defendant, was cocaine:
Defense attorneys and their clients will often stipulate to the nature of the substance in the ordinary drug case. It is unlikely that defense counsel will insist on live testimony whose effect will be merely to highlight rather than cast doubt upon the forensic analysis. Nor will defense attorneys want to antagonize the judge or jury by wasting their time with the appearance of a witness whose testimony defense counsel does not intend to rebut in any fashion.Justice Kennedy says:
For the sake of ... negligible benefits, the Court threatens to disrupt forensic investigations across the country and to put prosecutions nationwide at risk of dismissal based on erratic, all-too-frequent instances when a particular laboratory technician, now invested by the Court’s new constitutional designation as the analyst,AND: Here's a new Slate piece about the Ricci case, which is still pending:
simply does not or cannot appear.
As black, white, and Hispanic firefighters in New Haven brace for the Supreme Court's decision, they're keeping their heads down and doing their jobs. But they're also tired and apprehensive. Almost no matter what the court decides, the ruling will mean more hard feelings and strife. No one we talked to can really imagine a way to resolve fairly who will get the promotions—which have been frozen now for six years. In this city at this moment, it's hard to imagine what fair would possibly look like.Also left for Monday: "the case on radio or TV broadcast of a documentary movie critical of presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 08-205), and a test of state governments’ authority to investigate race discrimination in home mortgage lending (Cuomo v. Clearing House Association, 08-453)."