The Supreme Court this morning again saved for another day the headline cases of the term, but still issued five opinions that will provide plenty of fodder for legal analysis.
Tops among the five are probably:
-- City of Ontario, California v. Quon, a much-anticipated first look at the privacy of workplace text messages. The Court sidestepped the question whether public employees have an expectation of privacy, but in any event unanimously found that the city's search of a worker's text messages at issue in the case was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
-- New Process Steel v. National Labor Relations Board, ruling that a two-member NLRB does not have the legal authority to do the bbusiness of the board, which is supposed to have five members.
- Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a fractured ruling against Florida homeowners who claimed that a state court ruling on beachfront property rights amounted to an improper taking. There was no majority opinion on the eight-member Court, with Justice John Paul Stevens recused because he owns a beachfront condominium in Ft. Lauderdale.
The justices also finally pushed out the door the oldest case on its docket of argued cases this term: Schwab v. Reilly, a bankruptcy case. By a 6-3 vote with Justice Clarence Thomas writing for the majority, the Court ruled against the debtor, a chef who wanted to hang onto some of the tools of her trade. There was an unusual lineup of dissenters: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., and Stephen Breyer.
With Schwab now decided, the oldest case on the docket becomes Bilski v. Kappos, the long-awaited business methods patent case. The Court next sits to issue opinions on June 21.
One more ruling from the Court today: Dillon v. United States, a post-Booker sentencing case.
Check back here and at nlj.com later for more on today's Supreme Court action.