Abdur'Rahman v. Bell
Annotate this Case
537 U.S. 88 (2002)
OCTOBER TERM, 2002
ABDUR'RAHMAN v. BELL, WARDEN
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
No. 01-9094. Argued November 6, 2002-Decided December 10,2002 Certiorari dismissed.
James S. Liebman argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Thomas C. Goldstein, by appointment of the Court, 537 U. S. 809, Amy Howe, William P. Redick, Jr., and Bradley MacLean.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General of Tennessee, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Joseph F. Whalen, Assistant Attorney General, and Gordon W Smith, Associate Solicitor General.
Paul J. Zidlicky argued the cause for the State of Alabama et al. as amici curiae urging affirmance. With him on the brief were Bill Pryor, Attorney General of Alabama, and Nathan A. Forrester, Solicitor General, John M. Bailey, Chief State's Attorney of Connecticut, Carter G. Phillips, Gene C. Schaerr, and the Attorneys General for their respective States as follows: Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Mark Lunsford Pryor of Arkansas, Bill Lockyer of California, Ken Salazar of Colorado, M. Jane Brady of Delaware, Robert A. Butterworth of Florida, Thurbert E. Baker of Georgia, Alan G. Lance of Idaho, James E. Ryan of Illinois, Steve Carter of Indiana, Carla J. Stovall of Kansas, Richard P. Ieyoub of Louisiana, Thomas F. Reilly of Massachusetts, Mike McGrath of Montana, Don Stenberg of Nebraska, Frankie Sue Del Papa of Nevada, David Samson of New Jersey, Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota, Betty D. Montgomery of Ohio, W A. Drew Edmondson of Oklahoma, D. Michael Fisher of Pennsylvania, Charles M. Condon of South Carolina, Mark Barnett of South Dakota, John Cornyn of Texas, Mark L.
Shurtleff of Utah, Jerry W Kilgore of Virginia, Christine O. Gregoire of Washington, and Darrell v: McGraw, Jr., of West Virginia.*
The writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted.
JUSTICE STEVENS, dissenting.
The Court's decision to dismiss the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted presumably is motivated, at least in part, by the view that the jurisdictional issues presented by this case do not admit of an easy resolution.1 I do not share that view. Moreover, I believe we have an obligation to provide needed clarification concerning an important issue that has generated confusion among the federal courts, namely, the availability of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) motions to challenge the integrity of final orders entered in habeas corpus proceedings. I therefore respectfully dissent from the Court's disposition of the case.
In 1988 the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed petitioner's conviction and his death sentence. His attempts to ob-
*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for James F. Neal et al. by Elizabeth G. Taylor and Ronald H. Weich; and for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers by Deanne E. Maynard, Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Lisa B. Kemler, and Edward M. Chikofsky.
A brief of amicus curiae urging affirmance was filed for the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation by Kent S. Scheidegger.
IOn October 24, 2002, just two weeks before oral argument, the Court entered an order directing the parties to file supplemental briefs addressing these two questions: "Did the Sixth Circuit have jurisdiction to review the District Court's order, dated November 27, 2001, transferring petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion to the Sixth Circuit pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 1631? Does this Court have jurisdiction to review the Sixth Circuit's order, dated February 11,2002, denying leave to file a second habeas corpus petition?" Post, p. 996.