The Supreme Court - March 2, 2011 The Supreme Court of the United States announced two decisions this morning:

Pepper v. United States, No. 09-6822: When petitioner's sentence for a drug offence was reversed and remanded for resentencing, the district court took into account evidence of rehabilitation that had occurred while he was serving his original sentence. The court of appeals, in several successive rulings, reversed and remanded on the grounds that postsentencing rehabilitation could not be considered in resentencing. The Supreme Court today held that "when a defendant’s sentence has been set aside on appeal, a district court at resentencing may consider evidence of the defendant’s postsentencing rehabilitation and that such evidence may, in appropriate cases, support a downward variance from the now advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines range."

The Court's decision is available here.

Snyder v. Phelps, No. 09-751: Members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed near a soldier’s funeral service, holding signs reflecting the church’s view that the United States is overly tolerant of sin and that God kills American soldiers as punishment. When the soldier's father brought suit, a jury held the church members liable for millions of dollars in damages. The Supreme Court today held that the First Amendment shields the church members from tort liability for their speech in this case.

The Court's decision is available here.