WASHINGTON — Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday wrote her first majority opinion for the Supreme Court since she took office last summer, penning a ruling in a dispute between Delaware and other states over unclaimed MoneyGram checks.
The court ruled against Delaware, finding that it could not keep the unclaimed funds simply because MoneyGram is based there. Instead, the funds must be distributed to the states where the checks were original purchased.
The checks in question are similar to money orders and should therefore be treated the same under federal law, Jackson wrote. She added that "given the history and text" of the federal law in question, "it would be strange" to exempt the MoneyGram checks.
Although the mostly unanimous decision on a dry legal issue is Jackson's first opinion on behalf of the court as a whole, she has written separately in other cases, including in a case in November, when she objected to the court’s decision not side with an Ohio death row inmate’s claim.
Also in November, she wrote an opinion explaining why she disagreed with the majority's decision not to put a Missouri execution on hold. She dissented this month when the court declined to hear a criminal defendant's claim that his lawyer failed to provide adequate legal representation.
Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, was appointed by President Joe Biden to replace fellow liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who retired over the summer.