Alito Benchslaps 6th Circuit on Habeas. Again.

November 18th, 2013

Alito, joined by Scalia, dissented from denial of cert in yet another 6th Circuit case:

In sum, the Sixth Circuit has gone astray in its analysis of habeas cases in which the Michigan Court of Appeals denies review using the form of order at issue here. And this error may derail many Michigan habeas cases. I can understand the Court’s reluctance to decide what the form of order at issue means under Michigan law. But I would grant the petition and vacate the decision below be- cause the Sixth Circuit made a severe error of federal law. On remand, I would direct the Sixth Circuit to decide whether, as another panel of that court clearly stated, the form of order at issue represents a merits disposition. If so, the Harrington presumption has no place in the court’s analysis.