The Ninth Circuit-vs.-Supreme-Court AEDPA Wars Continue

The Ninth Circuit panel: Pregerson, Paez, and a district judge sitting by designation. The decision: granting habeas relief despite AEDPA. Disposition at the Supreme Court: Cert denied. Publicly-known votes to grant cert: Scalia and Alito. From Scalia’s dissent from denial of certiorari, in Cash v. Maxwell:

It is a regrettable reality that some federal judges like to second-guess state courts. The only way this Court can ensure observance of Congress’s abridgement of their habeas power is to perform the unaccustomed task of reviewing utterly fact-bound decisions that present no disputed issues of law. We have often not shrunk from that task, which we have found particularly needful with regard to decisions of the Ninth Circuit. See, e.g., Cavazos v. Smith, 565 U. S. 1 (2011) (per curiam) (reinstating California conviction for assault on a child resulting indeath); Felkner v. Jackson, 562 U. S. ___ (2011) (per curiam) (reinstating California conviction for sexual attack ona 72-year-old woman); Premo v. Moore, 562 U. S. ___ (2011) (reinstating Oregon conviction for murder of a kidnaped victim); Knowles v. Mirzayance, 556 U. S. 111 (2009) (reinstating California first-degree murder conviction); Rice v. Collins, 546 U. S. 333 (2006) (reinstating California conviction for cocaine possession); Kane v. Garcia Espitia, 546 U. S. 9 (2005) (per curiam) (reinstating California conviction for carjacking and other offenses); Yarborough v. Gentry, 540 U. S. 1 (2003) (per curiam)(reinstating California conviction for assault with a deadly weapon); Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U. S. 19 (2002) (per curiam) (reinstating capital sentence for California prisoner convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder,and armed robbery). Today we have shrunk, letting stand a judgment that once again deprives California courts of that control over the State’s administration of criminal justice which federal law assures. We should grant the petition for certiorari and summarily reverse the Ninth Circuit’s latest unsupportable §2254 judgment.