On the docket
Here are some of the other cases heard Wednesday by the Supreme Court:
Securities fraud: The court considered the proper standard to prove securities fraud, a key question as investors seek to recoup billions in damages after the collapse of major companies such as Enron Corp. The high court heard arguments in the case of Dura Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is being sued for fraud after its November 1998 disclosure that its asthma drug dispenser didn't receive federal approval as expected. Investors say they should recover for losses from a precipitous stock drop before that disclosure, arguing that Dura knowingly made false statements about the device's prospects. But justices seemed wary of allowing a lawsuit that doesn't show a clear link between the alleged fraud and the stock drop. "How could you possibly hook up your loss to the news that comes out later?" asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "There is no loss until somehow the bad news comes out." At issue is a ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed investors to proceed with their lawsuit under the corporate fraud theory of "loss causation."
Immigration: The court ruled that the government may not indefinitely detain criminals who are illegal immigrants, undercutting a Bush administration policy applied to foreigners deemed too dangerous to be freed. In a separate ruling, the justices said the United States can deport immigrants without first getting permission from the receiving country. The 5-4 ruling will hasten the return of thousands of Somalis who have resisted going back to their war-torn homeland. The detention case involved two men who were part of the 1980 Mariel exodus, in which Cuban President Fidel Castro sent criminals and psychiatric patients to the United States along with thousands of other fleeing Cubans. The high court ruled in 2001 that it would be unconstitutional to detain legal immigrants who have served time for crimes for more than a "reasonable period," generally six months. That also should cover illegal immigrants, the Supreme Court said in a 7-2 ruling Wednesday. "The government fears that the security of our borders will be compromised if it must release into the country inadmissible aliens who cannot be removed. If that is so, Congress can attend to it," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote.
Mariel refugees: About 2,000 foreign nationals in indefinite detention around the country, including 700 to 1,000 Mariel refugees from Cuba, must be released as a result of a U.S. court decision. The 7-2 ruling, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, struck down one of the last measures used by the government to hold the migrants, who are convicts, without any hope of release. Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice William Rehnquist dissented. The ruling was not a total surprise. Most immigration-law experts had expected the Supreme Court to follow its 2001 rejection of indefinite detention for those who could not be deported because their countries would not take them back. Despite the 2001 ruling, the government continued to hold the 1,000 Mariel refugees by claiming, under a complicated immigration-law theory, that the refugees had never "technically" entered the United States.
Source: Combined dispatches
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