Nation - Supreme Court Notebook

Justices reject

case of U.S. baby sent to Mexico

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Texas woman who wants to sue the federal government for sending her U.S. citizen baby to Mexico with the child's illegal immigrant father.

Monica Castro's daughter was a day from her first birthday when federal agents deported the father to Mexico and sent her with him. Three years would pass before Castro and the girl, both U.S. citizens who were born in Texas, were reunited.

Castro sued the federal government over the actions of the Border Patrol agents who refused to take the girl from her father and knowingly sent a U.S. citizen to Mexico. But a divided federal appeals court blocked the lawsuit.

The Supreme Court did not comment Monday in turning down Castro's appeal.

Supreme Court

refuses to overturn bulletproof vest law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge against a federal law making it illegal for criminals to own bulletproof vests. The appeal had questioned Congress' lawmaking ability under the Commerce Clause.

The high court refused to hear arguments from Cedrick B. Alderman, who was convicted under a federal law making it illegal for convicted criminals to own body armor that has been sold across state lines.

Congress passed that law in 2002, citing its authority under the Commerce Clause to regulate interstate commerce.

Alderman was convicted of armed robbery in 1999. Police caught him with a bulletproof vest in 2005, and he was sentenced to prison for 18 months.

Alderman challenged the law, saying it exceeded Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the conviction and sentence.

The Supreme Court refused to hear Alderman's appeal.

Justice Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia said they would have heard the case.

Not hearing the case "threatens the proper limits on Congress' commerce power and may allow Congress to exercise police powers that our Constitution reserves to the states," Thomas said.

The case is Alderman v. United States, 09-1555.

Oneida foreclosure case dismissed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed a case involving two New York counties that are trying to foreclose on land owned by the Oneida Indian Nation to settle a property tax dispute.

The court agreed in October to hear the case. It centers on the issue of whether tribal immunity from lawsuits prevents Madison and Oneida counties from foreclosing on tribal land.

The justices said in an unsigned opinion Monday that the Oneidas have agreed since to waive their immunity. They said that eliminates the high court's role in the case.

The court instructed the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider other issues raised in the dispute.

The case involves about 17,000 acres. The federal government has agreed to put most of the land into trust.

Court will not overturn $5M slander award

By Jesse J. Holland

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court will not overturn a Florida surgeon's $5 million slander award after a hospital executive said he would not send his dog to the doctor for surgery.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Lawnwood Medical Center, Inc. It argued that the award given to Dr. Samuel Sadow was excessive.

Sadow and the hospital had been fighting in court because the doctor was denied privileges to do surgery in Lawnwood's open-heart institute. A Lawnwood official then told another doctor about Sadow: "I would not send my dog to him for surgery."

Sadow sued for slander, and a jury awarded him $5 million in punitive damages. A Florida appeals court upheld the award.

The case is Lawnwood v. Sadow, 10-371.

High court lets

divided jury

convictions stand

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from an Oregon man who was convicted by a jury, despite two votes to acquit him.

Oregon and Louisiana are the only states that allow defendants to be convicted of some crimes despite disagreement among jurors.

The court on Monday rejected an appeal from Alonso Alvino Herrera without comment. Herrera was convicted of unauthorized use of a vehicle by a 10-2 vote and served 13 months in prison.

Appeal from 'birther' leader

rejected by court

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a lawyer who has been in the forefront of the challenge to President Barack Obama's citizenship.

The high court on Monday did not comment in refusing to hear the appeal filed by California lawyer Orly Taitz. She was contesting a $20,000 fine for filing what a federal judge determined was a frivolous lawsuit.

The suit was filed for Army Capt. Connie Rhodes, who sought to avoid deployment to Iraq by claiming Obama wasn't born in the United States and thus, is ineligible to be president and commander in chief.

"Birthers" claim Obama cannot prove he was born in the United States. Many of the skeptics contend he was born in Kenya -- his father's home country. Obama was born in Hawaii.

Published: Wed, Jan 12, 2011