[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday issued a summary opinion [PDF text] in Gonzales v. Thomas, 05-552, holding that the 9th Circuit had prematurely decided the asylum claims of a South African family. The 9th Circuit granted asylum [PDF opinion] to Michelle and David Thomas and their children based on claims that they were threatened due to their racist father-in-law's actions. In a per curiam opinion, the Court ruled that the appeals court should have sent the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals to determine whether family could constitute "membership in a particular social group" sufficient to qualify for asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act [text]. Reuters has more.
Also Monday, the Court also issued an order list [PDF text] in which it granted certiorari in three cases. In Carey v. Musladin, 05-785, the Court will consider whether the 9th Circuit properly overturned [PDF opinion] a murder conviction and life sentence of a man because the victim's family members wore buttons with a picture of the victim in the courtroom throughout the trial. AP has more. The Court also granted certiorari in US v. Resendiz-Ponce, 05-998, in which the Court will consider whether leaving an element of a crime out an indictment can be harmless error, and BP American Production Co. v. Watson, 05-669, in which the Court will decide whether a six-year statute of limitations on lawsuits to recover money applies to agency enforcement actions. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Breyer are both recused from the latter case. SCOTUSBlog has more.
The Court denied certiorari in Schneider v. Kissinger, 05-743, in which family members of deceased Chilean General Rene Schneider sued former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger [BBC profile], arguing that the US backed a plot to kill Schneider in 1970. AP has more.