On June 21, 2010, in Murdoch v. Castro, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that under the habeas reform provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), state court decisions presumptively adjudicate federal claims on the merits even where no state court has made any mention of the federal claim raised in the habeas petition. In so doing, the Ninth Circuit gives federal courts license to overlook errors, ignore contradictory state law and dismiss compelling constitutional claims raised by state prisoners. This Comment argues that following the approach advocated by Chief Judge Kozinski in dissent would better allow federal courts to keep faith with the goals of comity and federalism that motivated AEPDA.
Meredith Regan, Lies, Damn Lies, and White Ink: The Convenient Fiction of Adjudication on the Merits in Murdoch v. Castro, 52 B.C.L. Rev. E. Supp. 135 (2011), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol52/iss6/12