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2002 Supreme Court Docket Summary
— By Thomas Goldstein

2002 Monthly Sittings: Oct | Nov | Dec | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | Summ Rev | Dismissed

October 2002 Case List As of June 26, 2002
Cases decided after argument: 73
Summary reversals: 8
ll Summary affirmances: 5 ll Dismissed cases: 6

Civil Rights Cases


General Civil Matters


Criminal Matters


Business Cases
Non-Business Cases
Statutory Cases
Constitutional Cases
Original Cases

To download Goldstein’s analysis of the statistics from this Term’s decisions, click here (pdf).
To download the opinion statistics from this term, click here (pdf).
To download the justices’ voting relationships from this term, click here (pdf).

The following pages set out the cases for the Term by argument week, as follows:

Case Name (Dkt No) (Date of grant; arg; decision) (lower ct; judgment; split)
Question Presented or Holding
Majority: [author] & joined by
Concurrences: [authors] & joined by
Dissents: [authors] & joined by

Thus, for each case:

the 1st line lists the case name in italics, docket number, and the dates on which cert. was granted, the case was argued, and the decision was issued, as well as the lower court and whether the judgment was Affirmed or reversed;

the 2d line lists the question(s) presented or, if the case has been decided, the holding(s) in bold;

the 3d line lists the kind of case involved, e.g., civil, criminal, etc., as summarized in the table above;

the 4th line through the end list who joined each opinion, with the author in brackets.



  • Yellow Transportation v. Michigan (01-270) (1/22; 10/7; 11/5) (Mich.; Rev.; 9-0)
    Decision; Docket; Findlaw
    The Interstate Commerce Commission’s interpretation of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act’s "fee-cap provision" to require states to maintain the reciprocity agreements that were in place before 1991 is reasonable under Chevron.
    General Civil, Business, Statutory
    Majority: [SOC] & WHR, AS, AMK, DS, CT, RBG, SGB
    Concurrence in judgment: [JPS] [ICC has authority to prevent states from attempting to drop reciprocity agreements, but statute does not so require]

  • FCC v. Nextwave Communications (01-653 & 01-657) (3/4; 10/8; 1/27) (CADC; Aff.; 8-1)
    Decision; Docket & 01-657; Findlaw
    Under Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code, the FCC may not revoke spectrum licenses held by a bankruptcy debtor upon the debtor ’s failure to make timely payments to the FCC for purchase of the licenses.
    General Civil, Business, Statutory
    Majority: [AS] & WHR, SOC, AMK, DS, CT, RBG; & JPS (in part)
    Concurrence in part and in judgment: [JPS] [The exceptions to Section 525, which do not include spectrum licenses, indicate that the broad language of Section 525’s prohibition was intended to cover this case.]
    Dissent: [SGB] [The purpose of Section 525 was to prevent the government from discriminating against license applicants who are or were in bankruptcy, not to prevent the government from enforcing a security interest it had taken in a license.]

  • Barnhart v. Peabody Coal Co., (01-705 & 01-715) (1/22; 10/8; 1/15) (CA6; Rev.; 6-3)
    Opinion; Docket & 01-715; Findlaw
    The Commissioner of Social Security may require coal companies to pay benefits to retired miners even if the responsibility for payment is assigned after the October 1, 1993 cutoff date set by the Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act.
    General Civil, Business, Statutory
    Majority: [DS] & WHR, JPS, AMK, RBG, SGB
    Dissents: [AS] & SOC, CT [The Act gave the Commissioner power to require coal companies to pay benefits only for a limited time, and therefore the Commissioner cannot impose payment requirements after the deadline.] [CT] [The language of the Act should be construed as a mandatory command, and the Commissioner therefore had no power to make initial assignments after the date specified in the statute.]

  • Eldred v. Ashcroft (01-618) (2/19; 10/9; 1/15) (CADC; Aff.; 7-2)
    Decision; Docket; Findlaw
    The Sony Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extends by 20 years both existing and future copyrights, does not violate the Copyright Clause or the First Amendment of the Constitution.
    General Civil, Business, Constitutional
    Majority: [RBG] & WHR, SOC, AS, AMK, DS, CT
    Dissents: [JPS] [The extension of existing copyrights is invalid under the Copyright Clause because it does not promote the creation of new works or the addition of works to the public domain.]
    [SGB] [The Act bestows benefits that are private, not public, threatens to undermine the values that the Copyright Clause embodies, and cannot be justified by any significant objective related to the Clause, and therefore is unconstitutional.]

  • Howsam v. Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. (01-800) (2/25; 10/9, 12/10) (CA10; Rev.; 8-0)
    Decision; Docket; Findlaw
    A National Association of Securities Dealers arbitrator, and not a court, should decide whether a claim falls within the NASD’s time limits for arbitration.
    General Civil, Business, Statutory
    Majority: [SGB] & WHR, JPS, AS, AMK, DS, RBG
    Concurrence in judgment: [CT] [The parties’ contract expressly provided that the contract should be construed under New York law, and under New York law the time limit question is for the arbitrator to decide.]

  • Syngenta Crop Protection v. Henson (01-757) (2/19; 10/15; 11/5) (CA11; Aff.; Unan.)
    Decision; Docket; Findlaw
    The All Writs Act does not authorize removal of a case from state to federal court.
    General Civil, Non-Business, Statutory
    Majority: [WHR] & Unan.
    Concurrence: [JPS] [The majority’s interpretation of the Act is correct. United States v. N.Y. Tele. Co., 434 U.S. 159 (1977), which misreads the Act, should be overruled]

  • Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine (01-706) (1/22; 10/15, 12/03) (Ill.; Rev.; Unan.)
    Decision; Docket; Findlaw
    The Federal Boat Safety Act does not pre-empt state common law claims against the manufacturer of an outboard motor.
    General Civil, Non-business, Statutory
    Decision: [JPS] & Unan.

  • United States v. Bean (01-704) (1/22; 10/16, 12/10) (CA5; Rev.; Unan.)
    Decision; Docket; Findlaw
    Congress’s denial of funding to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to consider a felon’s application for relief from federal law prohibiting the felon from owning a firearm also precludes a federal court from awarding that relief.
    General Civil, Non-Business, Statutory
    Decision: [CT] & Unan.

  • Miller-El v. Cockrell (01-7662) (2/15; 10/16; 2/25) (CA5; Rev.; 8-1)
    Decision; Docket; Findlaw
    A court of appeals should allow a defendant to appeal a denial of habeas corpus relief when the defendant’s constitutional claim is at least debatable among reasonable jurists.
    Criminal, Non-Business, Statutory
    Majority: [AMK] & WHR, JPS, SOC, AS, DS, RBG, SGB
    Concurrence: [AS] [A court of appeals should not allow a defendant to appeal a denial of habeas corpus relief if all reasonable jurists would conclude that a substantive provision of the federal habeas statute bars relief.]
    Dissent: [CT] [A court of appeals should allow a defendant to appeal a denial of habeas corpus relief only if the defendant can show by clear and convincing evidence that the state court’s findings of fact were erroneous.]

2002 Monthly Sittings: Oct | Nov | Dec | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | Summ Rev | Dismissed