TYLER v. CAIN


Syllabus

TYLER v. CAIN ( No. 00-5961 )
218 F. 3d 744, affirmed.

TYLER v. CAIN, WARDEN

certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


No. 00–5961. Argued April 16, 2001—Decided June 28, 2001

After petitioner Tyler was convicted of second-degree murder and his conviction was affirmed on appeal, he filed five state petitions for postconviction relief and a federal habeas petition, all of which were denied. After this Court decided Cage v. Louisiana, 498 U. S. 39—under which a jury instruction is unconstitutional if there is a reasonable likelihood that the jury understood it to allow conviction without proof beyond a reasonable doubt—Tyler filed a sixth state petition, claiming that a jury instruction in his trial was substantively identical to the one condemned in Cage. The State District Court denied relief, and the State Supreme Court affirmed. Seeking to pursue his Cage claim in federal court, Tyler moved the Fifth Circuit for permission to file a second habeas application, as required by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). The court granted the motion. The District Court then proceeded to the merits of Tyler’s claim and denied relief. Although the Fifth Circuit affirmed, it stated that the District Court had erred by failing first to determine whether Tyler had satisfied AEDPA’s successive habeas standard, which requires a district court to dismiss a claim in a second or successive application unless, as relevant here, the applicant “shows” that the “claim relies on a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court , that was previously unavailable.” §2244(b)(2)(A) (emphasis added). Relying on Circuit precedent, the court concluded that Tyler did not meet this standard.

Held: The Cage rule was not “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court,” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). Pp. 4–11.

(a) Based on §2244(b)(2)(A)’s plain meaning when read as a whole, “made” means “held.” Under the statute, this Court is the only entity that can “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive. The new rule becomes retroactive, not by the decisions of the lower court or by the combined action of the Supreme Court and the lower courts, but simply by the action of the Supreme Court. The only way the Supreme Court can, by itself, lay out and construct a rule’s retroactive effect is through a holding. This Court does not “ma[k]e” a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves their application to lower courts. In such an event, the lower court (or perhaps a combination of courts), not the Supreme Court, develops any legal conclusion derived from those principles. Although the statute uses the word “made,” not “held,” Congress is permitted to use synonyms in a statute, see Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, and “made” and “held” are synonyms in the §2244(b)(2)(A) context. This interpretation is necessary for the proper implementation of AEDPA’s collateral review structure. The stringent 30-day time period that §2244(b)(3)(D) imposes on courts of appeals determining whether an application “makes a prima facie showing that [it] satisfies the [second habeas standard],” §2244(b)(3)(C), suggests that those courts do not have to engage in the difficult legal analysis that can be required to determine questions of retroactivity in the first instance, but need only rely on Supreme Court retroactivity holdings. Pp. 5–7.

(b) The Cage rule has not been “made retroactive … by the Supreme Court.” Cage did not make itself retroactive, and neither did Sullivan v. Louisiana, 508 U. S. 275. Tyler contends that Sullivan ’s reasoning makes it clear that retroactive application of Cage is warranted by the principles of Teague v. Lane , 489 U. S. 288, in which the Court held that a new rule can be retroactive to cases on collateral review only if it falls within one of two narrow exceptions to the general rule of nonretroactivity. However, the most Tyler can claim is that, based on Teague ’s principles, this Court should make Cage retroactive to cases on collateral review. It is clear, however, that the Court has not done so. Although the Court can make a rule retroactive over the course of two cases, it has not done so here. Pp. 7–10.

(c) This Court declines to make Cage retroactive today. Because Tyler’s habeas application was his second, the District Court was required to dismiss it unless Tyler showed that this Court already had made Cage retroactive. This Court cannot decide today whether Cage is retroactive to cases on collateral review, because that decision will not help Tyler in this case. Any statement on Cage ’s retroactivity would be dictum, so this Court declines to comment further on the issue. Pp. 10–11.

218 F. 3d 744, affirmed.

Thomas, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and O’Connor, Scalia, and Kennedy, JJ., joined. O’Connor, J., filed a concurring opinion. Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg, JJ., joined.


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Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


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Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.


TOP

Concurrence

MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
CAIN, WARDEN

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit


[June 28, 2001]

Justice O’Connor , concurring.

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain more fully the circumstances in which a new rule is “made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U. S. C. §2244(b)(2)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. V).

It is only through the holdings of this Court, as opposed to this Court’s dicta and as opposed to the decisions of any other court, that a new rule is “made retroactive . . . by the Supreme Court” within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). See ante, at 5–6; cf. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U. S. 362, 412 (2000) . The clearest instance, of course, in which we can be said to have “made” a new rule retroactive is where we expressly have held the new rule to be retroactive in a case on collateral review and applied the rule to that case. But, as the Court recognizes, a single case that expressly holds a rule to be retroactive is not a sine qua non for the satisfaction of this statutory provision. Ante, at 9. This Court instead may “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive through multiple holdings that logically dictate the retroactivity of the new rule. Ibid. To apply the syllogistic relationship described by Justice Breyer , post, at 3 (dissenting opinion), if we hold in Case One that a particular type of rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and hold in Case Two that a given rule is of that particular type, then it necessarily follows that the given rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. In such circumstances, we can be said to have “made” the given rule retroactive to cases on collateral review.

The relationship between the conclusion that a new rule is retroactive and the holdings that “ma[k]e” this rule retroactive, however, must be strictly logical— i.e., the holdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provide principles from which one may conclude that the rule applies retroactively. As the Court observes, “[t]he Supreme Court does not ‘ma[k]e’ a rule retroactive when it merely establishes principles of retroactivity and leaves the application of those principles to lower courts.” Ante, at 6. The Court instead can be said to have “made” a rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A) only where the Court’s holdings logically permit no other conclusion than that the rule is retroactive.

It is relatively easy to demonstrate the required logical relationship with respect to the first exception articulated in Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) . Under this exception, “a new rule should be applied retroactively if it places ‘certain kinds of primary, private individual conduct beyond the power of the criminal law-making authority to proscribe.’ ” Id., at 307 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 692 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)). When the Court holds as a new rule in a subsequent case that a particular species of primary, private individual conduct is beyond the power of the criminal lawmaking authority to proscribe, it necessarily follows that this Court has “made” that new rule retroactive to cases on collateral review. The Court has done so through its holdings alone, without resort to dicta and without any application of principles by lower courts.

The matter is less straightforward with respect to the second Teague exception, which is reserved for “watershed rules of criminal procedure,” 489 U. S., at 311 (plurality opinion). A case announcing a new rule could conceivably hold that infringement of the rule “seriously diminish[es] the likelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction,” id., at 315, and that the rule “ ‘alter[s] our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential to the fairness of a proceeding,’ ” id., at 311 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mackey, supra, at 693 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgments in part and dissenting in part)); see also Sawyer v. Smith, 497 U. S. 227, 242 (1990) , without holding in so many words that the rule “applies retroactively” and without actually applying that rule retroactively to a case on collateral review. The “precise contours” of this Teague exception, of course, “may be difficult to discern,” Saffle v. Parks, 494 U. S. 484, 495 (1990) , and the judgment involved in our “ma[king]” a new rule retroactive under this exception is likely to be more subjective and self-conscious than is the case with Teague ’s first exception. But the relevant inquiry is not whether the new rule comes within the Teague exception at all, but the more narrow and manageable inquiry of whether this Court’s holdings, by strict logical necessity, “ma[k]e” the new rule retroactive within the meaning of §2244(b)(2)(A). While such logical necessity does not obtain in this particular case, ante, at 8–10, this Court could “ma[k]e” a new rule retroactive under Teague ’s second exception in this manner.