Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date




Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Law


In a 9-0 decision, the United States Supreme Court refused to find that a California state court had acted "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law," when that court found that it was not prejudicial for trial audience members to wear buttons with the image of the defendant's alleged murder victim. The Court relied upon the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), and its previous rulings in Estelle v. Williams and Holbrook v. Flynn, earlier cases that defined certain actions as prejudicial to a defendant in a court of law. The Court found that due to the lack of any Supreme Court ruling related to the fact pattern in this particular case, it could not find that the state trial court acted contrary to, or unreasonably applied federal law.