SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA v. CONSUMERS UNION OF U.S., INC.
462 U.S. 1137

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U.S. Supreme Court

SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA v. CONSUMERS UNION OF U.S., INC. , 462 U.S. 1137 (1983)

462 U.S. 1137

SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA et al.
v.
CONSUMERS UNION OF the UNITED STATES, INC., et al
No. 82-1301

Supreme Court of the United States

June 20, 1983

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Chief Justice BURGER, with whom Justice REHNQUIST joins, dissenting from denial of certiorari.

This petition marks the third occasion this case has been before us. The case arose in 1975 when respondent brought

Page 462 U.S. 1137 , 1138

a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleging that particular provisions of the State Bar Code promulgated by the Virginia Supreme Court violated respondent's rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Having prevailed in its 1983 suit for declaratory and injunctive relief against the Virginia Supreme Court and its Chief Justice (together, the "Virginia Court"), the issue now is whether respondent is entitled to attorney's fees from that court 1 under the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. 1988. This was also the issue we addressed the last time this case came before us, when we vacated an award of attorney's fees against the Virginia Court on the ground that it "was premised on acts or omissions for which [the Virginia Court] enjoyed absolute legislative immunity." Supreme Court of Virginia v. Consumers Union of the United States, Inc., 446 U.S. 719, 738, 1977 ( 1980) (Consumers Union ).

Justice POWELL took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.

On remand, a divided three-judge District Court reinstated the award of attorney's fees against the Virginia court, 505 F.Supp. 822 (ED Va.1981 ), and a divided panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed. 688 F.2d 218 ( CA4 1982). Because I believe that the District Court misinterpreted our opinion in Consumers Union and erred in reinstating the fee award, I would grant certiorari.

I

It is unnecessary to review here at length the prior history of this case, which is set out in detail in Consumers Union. There, two basic issues faced the Court:

    "[W]hether the Supreme Court of Virginia (Virgi ia Court) and its chief justice are officially immune from [462 U.S. 1137 , 1139]


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