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Of the eight cases the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this term, six were reversed. “The (appellate) court did very poorly,” said Tom Goldstein, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who keeps tabs on the high court. “There were eight cases which is a large number. They were reversed in six of the eight.” The 7th Circuit sent four big cases to the Supreme Court and were reversed in all four, including unanimous decisions in three of them, Goldstein said. Only the 9th Circuit on the West Coast had a lower affirmation rate than the 7th Circuit, said Goldstein, who added this was the first year he had tracked 7th Circuit cases because there were quite a number heard by the Supreme Court. The 7th Circuit handles cases from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The cases the Supreme Court affirmed were: Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, No. 99-1288 in which the Court ruled that that persons who aren’t part of a specially protected group can invoke the Constitution’s equal protection clause and sue if they say a government body treated them differently than others for no good reason. Raleigh v. Illinois Department of Revenue, No. 99-387 in which the Court ruled that the burden of proof on a tax claim in bankruptcy court is not altered when the substantive law creating the tax obligation puts the burden on the taxpayer. The cases the Supreme Court reversed were: Shalala v. Illinois Council on Long Term Care, No. 98-1109 in which the Court ruled that nursing homes can challenge Medicare regulations in federal court only after going through a prior administrative hearing. Miller v. French, No. 99-224 in which the Court ruled that the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act doesn’t impose on the rights of trial court judges who are considering requests by prison officials that standing injunctions to improve conditions at their facilities be lifted. The case stemmed from a lawsuit filed at a prison in Indiana. Board of Regents of University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, et al., No. 98-1189 in which the Court ruled unanimously ruled that public colleges and universities can subsidize campus groups with student fees even if students find those groups objectionable. Jones v. U.S., No. 99-5739 in which the court unanimously overturned the federal arson conviction of an Indiana man because his crime did not meet the criteria that a federal crime must affect interstate commerce. Pegram v. Herdrich, No. 98-1949 in which the Court unanimously ruled that HMOs should be kept from being sued under federal law for the financial incentives it gives to its doctors to control costs. Harris Trust v. Salomon Smith Barney, No. 99-579 in which the Court unanimously ruled that the Employment Retirement Income Security Act allows the fiduciary of an employee benefit plan to file a lawsuit against a non-fiduciary party of interest in that plan.

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