TO THE HONORABLE COURT AND ALL PARTIES, please take notice that on March
7, 2011, the Supreme Court decided Skinner v. Switzer, U.S. Supreme Ct. No. 09-9000, 2011
U.S. LEXIS 1905.
In Skinner, the petitioner filed a Section 1983 claim challenging the constitutionality of a state statute that barred him access to DNA testing of criminal trial evidence. The state
respondent argued that Skinner’s claim was foreclosed by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, apparently because Skinner had unsuccessfully invoked the challenged statute.
The Supreme Court rejected the defense:
Skinner does not challenge the adverse [Criminal Court of Appeals] decisions themselves; instead, he targets as unconstitutional the Texas statute they authoritatively construed. As the Court explained in Feldman, and reiterated in Exxon, a state-court decision is not reviewable by lower federal courts, but a statute or rule governing the decision may be challenged in a federal action. Skinner’s federal case falls within the latter category. There was, therefore, no lack of subject-matter jurisdiction over Skinner’s federal suit.
Skinner, 2011 U.S. LEXIS 1905 at *21 (citations and footnotes omitted).
Skinner disposes of the Rooker-Feldman defense in this case. As the petitioner in Skinner, Plaintiff Kachalsky does not claim that the state courts have misapplied the challenged provision, but rather, Kachalsky challenges the constitutionality of the provision itself. As Skinner demonstrates, this is clearly not a case that falls within the parameters of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.