The Supreme Court of the United States announced decisions in two cases today:

Cullen v. Pinholster, No. 09-1088: Petitioner was sentenced to death following a murder conviction, and the state supreme court twice denied state habeas relief. On a federal habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. §2254(d)(1) alleging that the state decisions “involved an unreasonable application of . . . clearly established Federal law,” a federal district court held an evidentiary hearing, took new evidence regarding ineffective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase, and granted federal habeas relief. The Supreme Court today held that review under §2254(d)(1) is limited to the record that was before the state court that adjudicated the claim on the merits, and also held that, based on that record, petitioner was not entitled to federal habeas.

The Court's decision is available here.

Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, No. 09-987: Arizona law gives tax credits for contributions to school tuition organizations, which then use the contributions to provide scholarships to students attending private schools, including religious schools. Respondents, Arizona taxpayers, brought suit, challenging the state law on Establishment Clause grounds. The Supreme Court ruled today that, because respondents' challenge was to a tax credit as opposed to a governmental expenditure, they failed to meet the narrow requirements for Article III standing in such cases.

The Court's decision is available here.

The Court also granted review in two cases this morning:

Greene v. Fisher, No. 10-637: For purposes of adjudicating a state prisoner’s petition for federal habeas relief, does a decision from this Court announced before a state prisoner’s conviction became final but after his last state-court decision on the merits constitute "clearly established Federal law"?

Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, No. 10-945: Whether the Fourth Amendment permits a jail, in order to detect or deter unlawful activity, to conduct a suspicionless strip search of every individual arrested for any minor offense no matter what the circumstances.