Supreme Court accepts 14 cases

Sept. 28, 2010 at 11:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday accepted 14 cases for its new term, including two dealing with the government's authority to invoke the state secrets doctrine.

In the state secrets cases, General Dynamics and Boeing contend the doctrine was used in a way that violated their constitutional right to due process, preventing them a chance to defend themselves against the Navy's claims they failed to properly complete a contract, Scotusblog reported.

The nation's highest court also will review a case dealing with the estate of Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall's widow, Anna Nicole Smith, and another from New Mexico concerning crime lab evidence.

The new cases also include one in which the Supreme Court will examine whether the Freedom of Information Act provides AT&T and other corporations "personal privacy" protection from disclosure of corporate information in the files of federal government agencies.

In two cases, the court will decide whether a state court has authority to decide a case against an overseas company that had introduced a product that ultimately wound up injuring a resident of the state.

The court will take up a Kentucky case to clarify when police may enter a home without a warrant while pursuing a suspect. In another criminal issue, the court will decide whether a federal judge has authority to reduce a federal criminal sentence after the U.S. Sentencing Commission has reduced the sentence range, even if the judge had already accepted a plea deal involving a longer time in prison.

In another sentencing case, the court will consider whether it is a "violent felony," justifying a longer sentence under the armed Career Criminal Act, if a suspect uses a vehicle to flee from police after being ordered to stop.

The court also agreed to decide a class-action issue involving Bayer Corp.

Newly seated Justice Elena Kagan is recused from four of the new cases, presumably because she had been U.S. solicitor general.

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