UPDATE 1: The first case is Descamps: "The modified categorical approach does not apply to statutes that contain a single indivisible set of elements." Kagan, the least senior Justice, wrote the opinion. "In Plain English, it is now harder for the government to use the facts of a prior conviction to enhance a federal criminal sentence." This case has 1 dissenter: Alito.
UPDATE 2: Here's the PDF of the Descamps opinion. From the Alito dissent:
Suppose that a defendant in Massachusetts was charged with breaking into a structure like the Lozman floating home. In order to convict, would it be necessary for the jury to agree whether this structure was a “building” or a “vessel”? If some jurors insisted it was a building and others were convinced it was a vessel, would the jury be hung? The Court’s answer is “yes.” According to the Court, if a defendant had been charged with burglarizing the Lozman floating home and this Court had been sitting as the jury, the defendant would have escaped conviction for burglary, no matter how strong the evidence, because the “jury” could not agree on whether he burglarized a building or a vessel.This is not unlike the question of Alito and the Phillie Phanatic's glove that we were bandying around earlier this morning.
UPDATE 3: The second case of the day is American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant: "The Federal Arbitration Act enforces a class action arbitration waiver; cannot defeat the waiver on the ground that individual arbitration is too expensive." It's 5-3 and written by Scalia, who is the most senior Justice, other than the Chief, so only more Scalia opinions or opinions by the Chief remain to be announced today.
UPDATE 4: Presumably, no Fisher (affirmative action) case today, since we think we know that Kennedy has that opinion, and he's junior to Scalia.
UPDATE 5: The next case is written by the Chief: Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. "The Court holds that the policy violates the First Amendment by compelling affirmation of a belief outside the scope of the program." The federal law in question required organizations to have a policy against prostitution and sex trafficking to receive funding for anti-AIDS programs.
UPDATE 6: Excitement time over. Take a deep breath. No same-sex marriage. No affirmative action. No Voting Rights Act. These will all need to wait until next week. Monday will be nerve-wracking.
UPDATE 7: Here's the PDF of the AID case. Scalia and Thomas dissent, so I will take a look at that... in a new post.