[ Thomas ]
[ O'Connor ]
[ Breyer ]
MELVIN TYLER, PETITIONER v. BURL
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
[June 28, 2001]
Justice OConnor, concurring.
I join the Courts 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 Courts 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 56; 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 logicali.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 Courts 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.
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