Gonzalez v. Thaler - Oral Argument - November 02, 2011

Gonzalez v. Thaler

Media for Gonzalez v. Thaler

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 10, 2012 in Gonzalez v. Thaler

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 02, 2011 in Gonzalez v. Thaler

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

We'll hear argument next in Case No. 10-895, Gonzalez v. Thaler.

Ms. Millett.

Patricia A. Millett:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The -- the court of appeals in this case had jurisdiction to adjudicate the appeal, but in doing so it decided the case wrongly.

Mr. Gonzalez's petition for habeas corpus was timely because it was filed within a year of the conclusion of direct appellate proceedings in the State court, and at the -- within a year of that court's ending of his appeal process.

With respect to jurisdiction, jurisdiction existed because a certificate of appealability was issued.

It rested upon a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.

To be sure, the judge in issuing that certificate did not identify the substantial constitutional question required by 2253(c)(3).

That is a requirement.

It is mandatory, but it is not jurisdictional.

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

What if he had identified a constitutional issue, speedy trial issue?

Does that give the Court the authority to consider a different constitutional issue, Fourth Amendment issue?

Patricia A. Millett:

Yes, it does.

Once -- this is a gatekeeping function to identify which case, which appeal should go forward and claim the attention of the Court.

But the text of the statute and 22 -- that's on page -- excuse me -- page 3a of the appendix to the blue brief.

It provides that an appeal may not go forward and the certificate of appealability may go forward.

The operative language here in (c)(1) is that this is about an appeal going forward.

So once the certificate identifies issues, the appeal goes forward.

It's much like 1292(b), where certification of questions comes to an appellate court, and they decide whether to take interlocutory review.

Once they do, they are not bound to just those questions.

The entire order comes up for review.

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

So what if it identifies something that is not remotely a Federal constitutional issue.

By the terms of the COA, it's quite clear that, where there's a State law issue or something else, there is no constitutional plausibility on the face of it.

Does that still work for you?

Patricia A. Millett:

It -- it works in the sense that it's not a jurisdictional bar to going forward.

It is a violation of (c)(3).

If timely raised by the State, then it can either be dismissed or revisited by the original judge.

An appeal from the authorizing judge--

Antonin Scalia:

How do -- how do you decide whether it's a jurisdictional bar?

You acknowledge that the issuance by a judge of a certificate of appealability is a jurisdictional step; right?