It was a newsy morning at the Supreme Court today, with four rulings, including a victory for the United States in a case argued by Solicitor General Elena Kagan. The Court also issued a landmark ruling on life sentences without parole for juveniles in non-homicide crimes. The Court did not rule in the long-awaited Bilski v. Kappos case on the patent eligibility of business method inventions. The Court sits next for releasing opinions on May 24.
In the juvenile sentencing case, Graham v. Florida (pdf), Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for a 6-3 majority that such a sentence categorically violates the Eighth Amendment bar against cruel and unusual punishments. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. joined the bottom-line judgment only, arguing that the sentence in the case should be struck down, but not based on a categorical rule. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito Jr. dissented.
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