Though none came in the high profile cases — Obamacare or same-sex marriage, for example, which will likely be handed down in the court’s last week — yesterday’s decisions still involved some issues worth noting.
In Henderson v. United States, a unanimous court held that convicted felons could sell or otherwise dispose of their guns to independent third parties.
More here at SCOTUSblog:
When people are arrested, they often surrender their firearms to police. Once those people are convicted of felonies, they can no longer lawfully possess their weapons. In this situation, the Supreme Court unanimously concluded, the felon can ask the government to transfer his firearms to an independent third party. This includes transfers to dealers for sale on the open market, but in some circumstances can also include directed transfers to specific people.
In Tibble v. Edison International, a likewise unanimous court held that employee retirement plan managers have a continuing duty to monitor investments and act “with prudence” to protect funds beyond that exercised when initially selecting such investments.
More here from Forbes:
“The Court’s decision confirms that fiduciaries cannot go on autopilot,” said John Donovan, a partner in the Boston office of Ropes & Gray, in an e-mailed comment. “Managing investments in ERISA plans involves not only prudently selecting those investments in the first place, but monitoring them to make sure that they remain prudent.”
In City of San Francisco v. Sheehan, the court ruled in a narrow 6-2 decision that police officers have some leeway to fire their guns to subdue a mentally disturbed person who is violently threatening them. (Justice Stephen Breyer took no part because his brother, a federal judge in California, had ruled on the case in a lower court.)
More here from SCOTUSblog:
The Court provided little new guidance on the larger question of how the Fourth Amendment applies to claims that police used unnecessary force in carrying out arrests or other confrontations with the public — an issue that has gained new intensity in the wake of incidents in Ferguson, Mo., and other communities in recent months.
At most, the Court on Monday declared that it was not clearly established seven years ago, when the San Francisco incident occurred, that the Fourth Amendment requires police to take special precautionary steps to accommodate the mental disability of a person whom they are trying to subdue. Because that was not the law at the time, the two officers had legal immunity from the woman’s claim that the Fourth Amendment require such an accommodation.
And in Comptroller v. Wynne, a divided court (5-4) held that Maryland’s personal income tax law violated the constitution because it doesn’t give residents a full tax credit for income tax paid out of state.
More here from the Washington Post:
[T]he state’s practice of withholding a credit on the county segment of the state income tax wrongly exposes some residents with out-of-state income to double taxation. The justices said the provision violated the Constitution’s commerce clause because it might discourage individuals from doing business across state lines.