Media for Bullcoming v. New MexicoAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 02, 2011 in Bullcoming v. New Mexico
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 23, 2011 in Bullcoming v. New Mexico
Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
Finally, we reject the State's argument that no Confrontation Clause question ever arose in this case because the blood alcohol analysis reports are non-testimonial in character.
Melendez-Diaz left no room for that argument.
To the certificates at issue in Melendez-Diaz were notarized while the report introduced at Bullcoming's trial was unsworn.
But it would make no sense to construe the Confrontation Clause to render inadmissible only sworn affidavits while leaving admission of formal, but unsworn ex parte statements perfectly okay.
And finally, adhere to Crawford and reiterate today, the Sixth Amendment does not tolerate dispensing with confrontation simply because the Court believes that questioning one witness about another's testimonial statements provides a fair enough opportunity for cross-examination.
We, therefore, reverse the New Mexico Supreme Court's judgment and remand for a determination whether the Confrontation Clause error at Bullcoming's trial was harmless, a question on which we express in our view.
Justice Sotomayor has filed an opinion concurring in part.
Justice Kennedy has filed a dissenting opinion in which the Chief Justice, Justice Breyer and Justice Alito have joined.