James v. City of Boise, Idaho

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: January 25, 2016
  • Case #: 15–493
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam
  • Full Text Opinion

State courts are bound to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of federal laws.

An Idaho court awarded attorney fees under 42 USC § 1983 without first determining whether the “plaintiff’s action was frivolous, unreasonable or without foundation” as required by Hughes v. Rowe. The Idaho court rejected the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the federal statute arguing that state courts are not limited by the decisions of the Supreme Court. The Court held that it has the responsibility to interpret federal statutes, which prevents confusion of federal law between the states. The Court held that all state courts, including the Idaho Supreme Court, is bound by the Supreme Court's interpretations of federal law. Reversed and remanded.

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