The Court, in a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Thomas, holds that the savings clause in 28 U.S.C. 2255(e) bars a prisoner from using an intervening change in the interpretation of a federal criminal statute to circumvent AEDPA’s restrictions on successive Section 2255 motions by filing a habeas petition under Section 2241.
As forewarned, this decision is yet another blow to prisoners seeking habeas relief in federal court. While the decision has no direct application to litigants raising claims under state law or state petitioners seeking habeas relief under Section 2254, the decision is nonetheless a downer. For those interested, the purusing further, the commentary is plentiful. See SCOTUSblog, Slate, and Vox. Professor Douglas Berman collected the “mostly critical” commentary on his Sentencing Law and Policy blog, which reveals a single positive take from the Crime and Consequence blog: “Major Victory for Finality of Judgments.”