Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered a conservative-leaning swing vote in two 5-4 decisions this morning. In District Attorney's Office for the Third Judicial District v. Osborne, the Court ruled 5-4 that criminal defendants have no federal constitutional right of postconviction access to DNA evidence.
In the other 5-4 of the day, Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., the Court said plaintiffs in "mixed motive" Age Discrimination in Employment Act cases must prove that age was the "but for" cause of the employer's action. The Court also said that its precedents in Title VII cases don't automatically inform its rulings on similar issues raised under the ADEA.
In both cases, the majority included Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito Jr., along with Kennedy.
Those were not the only rulings on a busy late-term decision day. In Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Bailey, the Court ruled 7-2 that a 2004 settlement resolving asbestos-related claims against insurers of the Johns-Manville Corporation precludes further actions against those insurance companies. And in an Enron-related appeal Yeager v. United States, the Court ruled 6-3 that the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause prevents a second prosecution of a defendant on charges on which a previous jury had deadlocked, when that jury also acquitted the defendant on related charges.
Check The National Law Journal for updates.
This article first appeared on The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.