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

Hillman v. Maretta, No. 11-1221: At issue in this pre-emption case was the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act of 1954 (FEGLIA), 5 U.S.C. §8701 et seq., which provides for a life insurance program for federal employees, under which the employee may designate a beneficiary to receive the proceeds at the time of death. Here, Warren Hillman had named his then-spouse, Respondent Judy Maretta, as the beneficiary of his FEGLI policy, and did not change this after his divorce and remarriage to petitioner Jacqueline Hillman. After Maretta, the named beneficiary, filed a claim and collected the FEGLI proceeds, Hillman sued in state court under a Virginia statute that revokes a beneficiary designation that provides a death benefit to a former spouse when the decedent’s marital status has changed, and, if that provision is pre-empted, specifically provides a cause of action by which the former spouse is liable for the amount of the proceeds to the person who would have received them had there not been pre-emption. Va. Code Ann §20-111-.1(A) & (D). The Virginia Circuit Court found Maretta liable to Hillman under the cause of action provided by Section D of the Virginia statute, but the State Supreme Court reversed, concluding that state cause of action was pre-empted by FEGLIA. Today, the Court affirmed, holding that the remedy provided in Section D of the Virginia code was in direct conflict with FEGLIA and thus pre-empted.

The Court's decision is available here.

Maryland v. King, No. 12-207: Respondent Alonzo King was arrested in Maryland for first-and second-degree assault, and as part of a routine booking procedure, had a DNA sample taken by a cotton swab to the inside of his cheek. The DNA matched the DNA of an unsolved 2003 rape, and King was charged and convicted of that crime, over his attempt to suppress the DNA match on the basis that that the Maryland DNA Collect Act (Act) was unconstitutional. On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Maryland set aside the rape conviction, on the basis that the cheek swab at booking was an unreasonable search and seizure. The Court today reversed, holding that when officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

The Court's decision is available here.

Nevada v. Jackson, No. 12-694: Respondent-Defendant Calvin Jackson, who was convicted of rape in Nevada state court, sought federal habeas relief on the basis that the trial court had improperly denied his effort to introduce evidence of past incidents where the victim had reported sexual assault against Jackson, but police had been unable to substantiate the claims. On direct review, the Nevada Supreme Court rejected Jackson’s argument that the refusal to admit this evidence violated Jackson’s federal constitutional right to present a complete defense. Jackson then sought habeas review, where the District Court denied relief, but the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the extrinsic evidence was critical to Jackson’s defense, that its exclusion violated the defendant’s constitutional right to present a defense, and that the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision was an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedent. Today, in a per curiam opinion, the Court reversed, holding that no prior decision of the Court clearly establishes that the exclusion of this evidence violated Jackson’s federal constitutional right to present a complete defense.

The Court's decision is available here.

The Court also granted review today in two cases:

Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., No. 12-873: Whether the appropriate analytic framework for determining a party’s standing to maintain an action for false advertising under the Lanham Act is (1) the factors set forth in Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 537-45 (1983), as adopted by the Third, Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits; (2) the categorical test, permitting suits only by an actual competitor, employed by the Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits; or (3) a version of the more expansive “reasonable interest” test, either as applied by the Sixth Circuit in this case or as applied by the Second Circuit in prior cases.

United States v. Apel, No. 12-1038: Whether 18 U.S.C. §1382, which prohibits a person from reentering a military installation after a commanding officer has ordered him not to reenter, may be enforced on a portion of a military installation that is subject to a public roadway easement.