April 17, 2013
Missouri v. McNeely
Docket No. 11-1425
Respondent was arrested for driving while intoxicated and taken to a nearby hospital for blood testing. The respondent refused to consent to the blood test, and without attempting to secure a search warrant, the officer directed a lab technician to take a sample. The trial court suppressed the blood test result on Fourth amendment grounds, and the state supreme court affirmed.
The Supreme Court affirmed the suppression, concluding that in drunk-driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant. Instead, it is a factor to be considered, along with all other relevant factors, in deciding whether a warrant is required.
Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the Court. Chief Justice Roberts filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Justices Breyer and Alito joined. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion.
Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum
Docket No. 10-1491
Petitioners filed suit in federal court under the Alien Tort Statute, alleging that respondents–certain Dutch, British, and Nigerian corporations–aided and abetted the Nigerian Government in committing violations of the law of nations in Nigeria. The District Court dismissed several of petitioners’ claims, and on interlocutory appeal, the Second Circuit dismissed the entire complaint, reasoning that the law of nations does not recognize corporate liability. The Supreme Court granted review and ordered supplemental briefing on whether and under what circumstances courts may recognize a cause of action under the ATS, for violations of the law of nations occurring within the territory of a sovereign other than the United States.
The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal, holding that the presumption against extraterritoriality applies to claims under the Alien Tort Statute, and therefore the petitioners’ case seeking relief for violations of the law of nations occurring outside the United States is barred.
Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the Court. Justice Kennedy filed a concurring opinion. Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.