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Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Supreme Court Hands Down Morrison, Skilling Opinions

In Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd (.Download Morrison), the majority opinion (written by Scalia, joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito) affirmed the lower courts and held that Section 10(b) of the 34 Act does not provide a cause of action to foreign plaintiffs suing foreign and American defendants for misconduct in connection with securities traded on foreign exchanges.  (Breyer filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.  Stevens filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Ginsburg joined.  Sotomayor took no part.)

In Skilling v. U.S.(Download Skilling), the majority opinion (written by Ginsburg, joined by Roberts, Stevens, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito) affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the 5th Circuit opinion.  It held:

1. Pretrial publicity and community prejudice did not prevent Skilling from obtaining a fair trial.

2. Section 1346, which proscribes fraudulent deprivations of "the intangible right of honest services," is properly confined to cover only bribery and kickback schemes.  Skilling's misconduct did not fall within the Court's confinement of section 1346's proscription.

(There were various separate opinions concurring in part, and Sotomayor filed an opinion dissenting in part, which Stevens and Breyer joined.)

The Supreme Court also issued opinions in the Conrad Black(Download Black) and Bruce Weyhrauch (Download Weyrauch)appeals consistent with Skilling.

I will write more on both these opinions later; they are long.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/securities/2010/06/supreme-court-hands-down-morrison-skilling-opinions.html

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