This week the new, improved Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to adopt a policy which the current chief justice had failed to persuade Congress to make, thus clearly and deliberately going against the will of Congress.
The case involved a Georgia man who filed his latest appeal after it was learned that documents been withheld at his trial showing that a key witness had been planted by authorities to gain evidence. The court could have upheld the conviction by saying that the evidence still was freely given and therefore valid. But it chose instead to put strict new limits on the right of state prisoners to appeal to federal courts.
Now, the defendant gets one appeal. Even if the prosecution withholds evidence beyond this point, the defense cannot bring it up later unless it also can prove that the evidence would have affected the verdict or sentence. That makes new appeals all but impossible. As Justice Thurgood Marshall said in dissent, the court's analysis "encourages state officials to conceal evidence."