Ricci v. Okin, No. 07-2522, 07-2523. This case revolves around a consent decree meant to reform a mental hospital. The underlying litigation ended in 1993, with an “disengagement order.” Then, in 2006, the court issued an injunction prohibiting transfers of some of the patients, appointed the US Attorney to investigate, and concluded that by the terms of the 1993 order, the case should be reopened.
The First sides with the state and holds that the District Court doesn’t have the authority to reopen its case. The First says that the Disengagement Order allowed for hospitals to be closed, and whatever the case, the monitor found that the state was complying with the order as it stood by in 1993. And, since then, the “law” has moved away from the putting retarded people in institutions, but instead letting them trade mortgage-backed securities.
What this really comes down to is the “modification doctrine.” See Rufo v. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U.S. 367 (1992). But circumstances didn’t not change.
The First then says that there is no “inherent authority” to revisit the 1993 order, or would an exercise of ancillary jurisdiction under Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375 (1994) be warranted.