Case summary and time line


Case time line


This ordering of cases is merely ordinal, keeping with the undefined time frame of the Suzuki Court. New cases, or events relevant to old cases, may be inserted as well as appended as the Archive base increases.


Kuntanga Resplendent Anderson and three others arrested after a gun battle leaves three dead, including a passer by who, at evidence presented at trial, was flagged down by Kuntanga in plea for help. Kuntanga and co-defendants charged with first degree murder under Texas’ Armed Robbery Enhancement Act which, under a finding of aggravating circumstance, allows a jury Apprendi determination of death beyond “trigger fingers” upon murder consequent of robbery. At trial, Kuntanga insisted he had been assured no one would be present during a (presumed) burglary to procure drugs stashed by another group. Evidence at trial revealed Kuntanga carried a weapon but did not fire it; and that, during confrontation with residents, he fled to the street, flagging a car down. A passenger exited, immediately shot dead from afar. His co-defendants remained silent at trial; no evidence corroborating his claim was introduced. All four defendants found guilty under aggravating circumstance, sentenced to death. The laborious appeal of death verdict begins.


Preston Nonacs is awarded a Foundation Grant by the National Science Foundation, allowing him to choose any agreeing university for placement as a tenure track Assistant Professor, partly at Federal expense


Under pressure from the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation withdraws Nonacs’ grant. Nonacs begins the case trajectory cumulating in Nonacs v Selten, Secretary of Defense


Benjamin Suzuki confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court


Nonacs v Selten, Secretary of Defense heard


Nonacs v Selten, Secretary of Defense decided; Scalia proposes a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the case in his concurrence in judgement


Congress approves the “Scalia Amendment,” sending it to the States for ratification


Appeals exhausted, Kuntanga Resplendent Anderson and co-defendants are scheduled for execution. One co-defendant, scheduled first, comments to a guard on execution day that “Resplendent broke the binding by asking for help.” Some gangs force an entering member into an illegal situation as test and initiation, sometimes called “the binding.” The co-defendant is executed day of his comment. 22 days before his own execution, Kuntanga asks Federal District Court for a stay and new trial based on the prison guard’s report. Federal court denies his petition, saying that, under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, there is no reason to believe that the Texas court made an “unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding”; nor does “evidence purported by petition suggest reasonable possibility of an alternative jury finding.” The Federal Fifth Circuit affirms. 9 days before re-scheduled execution, Kuntanga petitions Associate Justice Anthony Pau Cabrales, overseeing the 5th Circuit, for an emergency stay. Stay granted.


Doe v Roe heard and decided in the Superior Court of Alaska


The Suzuki Court, 5-4, accepts certiorari for Kuntanga Resplendent Anderson v Texas:

for:  Cabrales, Mitland, Souter, Suzuki, Young

against: Breyer, Scalia, Thomas, Whitehead


Associate Justice Rachel Colleen Whitehead, overseeing the 9th Circuit, stays Doe v Roe, asking the full Court for an expedited hearing. Associate Justice Anthony Pau Cabrales agrees to provide the necessary fifth vote only if the case, as heard, is directed away from defendant Roe, targeting Judge Dawkins of the Superior Court of Alaska instead. Doe agrees, filing Doe v Dawkins of the Superior Court of Alaska with the Suzuki Court as a writ of mandamus and writ of certiorari. Expedited hearing approved:

for: Cabrales, Scalia, Suzuki, Thomas, Whitehead

against: Breyer, Mitland, Souter, Young


Indiana becomes the 38th State approving the Scalia Amendment; the ratified Amendment, nullifying Nonacs v Selten, Secretary of Defense becomes part of the Constitution just over 13 months after that decision was announced


The Department of Justice, acting for the Department of Defense, files Suit against the National Science Foundation to remove Nonacs’ Foundation Grant


Doe v Dawkins of the Superior Court of Alaska heard before the Suzuki Court


Federal District Court denies the suit against Nonacs, holding that Nonacs v Selten, Secretary of Defense controls upto ratification of the Scalia Amendment; decision affirmed upon appeal; Justice declines to request review by the Suzuki Court. Princeton accepts Nonacs’ Foundation Grant, creating a tenure track line for him, where he is ultimately tenured


Without comment, the Suzuki Court removes Whitehead’s stay of Doe v Roe, decision of Doe v Dawkins of the Superior Court of Alaska still pending; the private, internal vote is 6-3

For removal of stay: Breyer, Cabrales, Mitland, Souter, Suzuki, Young

against: Scalia, Thomas, Whitehead


Doe v Roe presently controlling, Roe aborts at 9 weeks; Doe files civil suit in the Superior Court of Alaska for wrongful death, breach of contract, and punitive damages; Superior Court quashes wrongful death as incompatible with Roe v Wade (1973) and its progeny; breach of contract and punitive damages proceed to jury trial


Doe v Dawkins of the Superior Court of Alaska decided


In Superior Court, a jury awards Doe damages of $34,349– constituting the contractual $25,000 Doe provided to Roe, 9 weeks of income similarly provided, and Roe’s pre-abortion medical bills while pregnant; the jury refuses punitive damages


Doe’s appeals within the Alaskan judicial system of wrongful death exclusion fail through Doe v Dawkins of the Superior Court of Alaska; Doe decides not to appeal within Federal courts


Kuntanga Resplendent Anderson v Texas heard before the Suzuki Court


Summary of Cases


note: cases are decided by majority vote, possible concurrences in judgement, deviating from the majority vote, and dissents. 5-4 is a marginal majority decision. 5(1)-3 indicates a 5 Justice majority plus one concurrence in judgement, 3 dissenting. A dissenting Justice may or may not write a dissenting opinion. 4(1)-4 indicates a case with no single rationale majority: four Justices agreed on a rationale, with one other agreeing in judgement, but for other reasons. While such cases decide issues, their precedence power is low. If a Justice joins the majority opinion, this means she finds the reasoning therein adequate; nonetheless, she may also write a separate concurrence (not a concurrence in judgement, as she has agreed with the majority), identifying overlooked implications or whatnot. In the vote count, her concurrence is not counted as a separate entity.


1. Nonacs v Selten, Secretary of Defense

5(1)-3: Suzuki for the Court, joined by Cabrales, Mitland, Souter, Young

Scalia concurring in judgement

Breyer, Thomas, Whitehead dissenting


Case: one Preston Nonacs, an evolutionary biologist, is awarded a rare and prestigious Foundation Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) essentially creating a tenure track line for him in his specialty at any university which agrees. Nonacs did not, however, register for selective service at age 18 or thereafter; Federal law denies federal employment for life to any US male failing to register. When brought to the attention of the Department of Defense (DOD), DOD requests NSF to revoke the grant, as it essentially creates employment through federal funds. NSF resists, but a threatened law suit by DOD forces capitulation. Nonacs loses his grant, suing in Federal District Court for reinstatement; his suit is summarily dismissed, dismissal upheld on appeal. His petition to the United States (Suzuki) Supreme Court is accepted, decided on grounds other than those raised by Nonacs. In the Court’s first originalist opinion, Arver v U.S., 245 US 366 (1918) is reversed. Because selective service registration is envisioned as an emergency draft, it is ruled as repugnant to the 13th Amendment’s prohibition of involuntary servitude, death being the ultimate form of servitude.


Scalia, concurring in judgement

Textualism forces Scalia to acknowledge that the 13th Amendment’s prohibition, being free standing, is dispositive. He holds that the majority’s historical foray into the “full” meaning of involuntary servitude is unwarranted, tailoring his concurrence in judgement solely to the issue of conscription significantly risking loss of life or limb. He extends originalist analysis by introducing obscuring traditions which have prevented, in the past, correct implementation of a Constitutional provision; without a delineated obscuring tradition, one cannot overrule active traditions of the past. He finds historical patriotism the obscuring tradition preventing past link between conscription and involuntary servitude.

Disliking this necessary conclusion, he proposes a Constitutional Amendment to override both himself and the majority. His proposal, soon called the Scalia Amendment, is passed by Congress (2/3 of each House agreeing) to the States just four months after Nonacs is decided; 9 months later, 3/4 of the States ratify the Amendment into the Constitution. The Suzuki Court’s first venture into originalism is nullified by Constitutional Amendment in 13 months.


Souter, concurring

Souter writes a concurrence which is wholly dicta, arguing that the scope of interpretive change introduced by the Court in Nonacs requires consideration beyond the case at hand. He employs Scalia’s, concurring in judgement, concept of obscuring tradition to his own Opinion of the Court in Atwater v City of Lago Vista (2001), concluding that his majority opinion in that case is now incorrect. He then argues that Scalia himself has been the victim of an obscuring tradition in Apprendi v New Jersey (2000) and its progeny, most importantly in Harris v United States (2002). Souter concludes that Scalia has turned the Apprendi line of cases into an anti-originalist muzzling of jury power.


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