The Court issued two opinions today:
(1) T-Mobile South, LLC v. City of Roswell. (Telecomms case) By a vote of 6-3 the judgment of the Eleventh Circuit is reversed and the case remanded. The issue and outcome are summarized in the opening paragraph of Justice Sotomayor's opinion for the Court:
"The Telecommunications Act of 1996 provides, in relevant part, that '[a]ny decision by a State or local government or instrumentality thereof to deny a request to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities shall be in writing and supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record.' 110 Stat. 151, 47 U. S. C. §332(c)(7)(B)(iii). The question presented is whether, and in what form, localities must provide reasons when they deny telecommunication companies’ applications to construct cell phone towers. We hold that localities must provide or make available their reasons, but that those reasons need not appear in the written denial letter or notice provided by the locality. Instead, the locality’s reasons may appear in some other written record so long as the reasons are sufficiently clear and are provided or made accessible to the applicant essentially contemporaneously with the written denial letter or notice."
Justice Sotomayor was joined by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. Justice Alito also filed a concurring opinion. Chief Justice Roberts dissented, joined by Justice Ginsburg, and by Justice Thomas as to Part I. Justice Thomas also filed a separate dissenting opinion.
(2) Jennings v. Stephens. (Habeas case). By a vote of 6-3, the judgment of the Fifth Circuit is reversed and the case remanded. Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court, compressed here into the following summary:
"Petitioner Robert Mitchell Jennings was sentenced to death for capital murder. He applied for federal habeas corpus relief on three theories of ineffective assistance of counsel, prevailing on two. The State appealed, and Jennings defended his writ on all three theories. We consider whether Jennings was permitted to pursue the theory that the District Court had rejected without taking a cross-appeal or obtaining a certificate of appealability....[A]n appellee who does not cross-appeal may not “attack the decree with a view either to enlarging his own rights thereunder or of lessening the rights of his adversary....Since Jennings did not cross-appeal the denial of his Spisak theory [rejected below], we must determine whether urging that theory sought to enlarge his rights or lessen the State’s under the District Court’s judgment granting habeas relief....Because Jennings’ Spisak theory would neither have enlarged his rights nor diminished the State’s rights under the District Court’s judgment, he was required neither to take a cross-appeal nor to obtain a certificate of appealability. We reverse the judgment of the Fifth Circuit and remand the case for consideration of Jennings’ Spisak claim."
Justice Scalia was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Kennedy and Alito joined.