The 2009 ruling, Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, was decided by a 5-to-4 vote that scrambled the usual ideological alignments. Prosecutors and analysts have complained that the decision imposed a crushing burden on them. They added that they hoped the addition of two new justices in the interim would cause the court to reverse course.
But on Thursday, in another 5-to-4 decision, the court disappointed law enforcement officials by reaffirming Melendez-Diaz. The court went on to extend the Melendez-Diaz decision, saying that what it called surrogate testimony would not do.