FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for U.S. Supreme Court – 03/09/09

BANKING LAW, CIVIL PROCEDURE, COMMERCIAL LAW, DISPUTE RESOLUTION & ARBITRATION

Vaden v. Discover Bank, No. 07-773
The District Court’s order compelling arbitration is reversed, where a federal court may “look through” a 9 U.S.C. section 4 petition to determine whether it is predicated on a controversy that “arises under” federal law. However, a federal court may not entertain a Section 4 petition based on the contents of a counterclaim where the whole controversy between the parties does not qualify for federal-court adjudication.

CIVIL PROCEDURE, REMEDIES

Kansas v. Colorado, No. 105
In an objection to an expert witness attendance fee award, the objection is overruled, where expert witness attendance fees that are available in cases brought under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction shall be the same as the expert witness attendance fees that would be available in a District Court under 28 U.S.C. section 1821(b).

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, ETHICS & PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Vermont v. Brillon, No. 08-88
The Vermont Supreme Court’s reversal of Defendant’s domestic violence conviction is reversed, where the Vermont Supreme Court held that delays attributable to Defendant’s assigned counsel denied Defendant a speedy trial, but assigned counsel, just as retained counsel, act on behalf of their clients, and delays sought by counsel are ordinarily attributable to the defendants they represent.

ELECTIONS, GOVERNMENT LAW

Bartlett v. Strickland, No. 07-689
In an appeal from a state court order requiring a voting district to be redrawn under the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the judgment is affirmed. The plurality opinion stated that Section 2 of the VRA does not require state officials to draw election-district lines to allow a racial minority that would make up less than 50 percent of the voting-age population in the redrawn district to join with crossover voters to elect the minority’s candidate of choice.

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