This edition of “Petitions to Watch” features cases up for consideration at the Justices’ private conference on January 9. As always, the list contains the petitions on the Court’s paid docket that Tom has deemed to have a reasonable chance of being granted. (Thanks to Kristina Moore for assistance in collecting the filings for the list.) To access previous editions of Petitions to Watch, visit our archives on SCOTUSwiki.

Issues on our current list include the extent of Iraq’s sovereign immunity in federal court, allegations of copyright infringement stemming from on-demand television services, and the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. For the full list of petitions, continue reading after the jump.

Conference of January 9, 2008

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Docket: 07-663
Case name: AK Steel Corporation Retirement Accumulation Pension Plan v. West
Issue: Whether AK Steel’s failure to use a “whipsaw calculation” when determining the value of lump sum distributions to early retirees caused a forfeiture of benefits in violation of ERISA.

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Docket: 07-952
Case name: Denton v. Hyman
Issue: Whether a state court judgment holding a corporate fiduciary liable for misappropriation of corporate assets is dischargeable in bankruptcy.

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Docket: 07-956
Case name: Biomedical Patent Management Corp. v. California Dept. of Health Services
Issue: Whether a state that has sought to enforce its own patent rights in federal court waives its sovereign immunity against allegations of patent infringement.

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Docket: 07-1090
Case name: Republic of Iraq v. Beaty, et al.
Issue: Whether U.S. Courts have jurisdiction over Iraq in claims involving alleged misdeeds that occurred during Saddam Hussein’s regime.

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Docket: 07-1152
Title: Weldon, et al. v. Norfolk Southern Railway
Issue: Whether an Ohio law that imposes filing requirements on asbestos-related claims is preempted for claims filed under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.

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Docket: 07-1327
Title: Albertson’s v. Kanter
Issue: Whether the federal food and drug laws preempt state law claims over alleged failures to properly label artificially colored salmon. (Disclosure: Akin Gump represents the petitioner.)

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Docket: 07-1524
Title: Carlota Copper Company v. Friends of Pinto Creek, et al.
Issue: Whether the Environmental Protection Agency correctly issued a permit allowing discharges from a copper mine into a water body identified as impaired by the state of Arizona.

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Docket: 08-199
Title: Georgia v. Florida, et al.
Issue: The validity of, and ability of Florida and Alabama to challenge, a settlement agreement involving water allocation from Lake Lanier in Georgia.

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Docket: 08-212
Title: Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, et al.
Issue: Whether under United States v. Klein (1872) Congress can amend Section 4412(b)(1) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, changing the standard administrative agencies apply to pending, non-final actions.

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Docket: 08-289; 08-294
Title: Horne v. Flores; Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives v. Flores
Issue: Whether the courts below improperly declined to modify an injunction against Arizona for failing to provide sufficient funding for non-English speaking school children.

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Docket: 08-305
Title: Forest Grove School District, Petitioner v. T. A.
Issue: Whether parents of a student who has never previously received special education services from a school district may be eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for reimbursement of private school tuition. (Note: the Court granted certiorari to resolve this question in Board of Education of New York v. Tom F. (06-637) but affirmed the opinion below by an equally divided vote.)

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Docket: 08-322
Title: Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Michael B. Mukasey, Attorney General, et al.
Issue: Whether the appellant is eligible to “bail out” from the preclearance requirement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and whether Congress provided sufficient justification of current voting discrimination when extended the requirement in 2006 for another twenty-five years.

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Docket: 08-327
Title: Arizona, et al., v. United States District Court for the District of Arizona, et al.
Issue: Whether Arizona district court judges’ violate Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26, the Prison Litigation Reform Act, federalism principles, separation of powers principles, and due-process rights by ordering that prison employee defendants in inmate suits filed pro se investigate the allegations against them and produce disclosure statements.

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Docket: 08-349
Title: General Motors Corporation, v. Boyd Bryant, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated
Issue: Whether the courts below improperly granted class certification in a suit alleging the sale of more than 4 million vehicles with defective parking-brakes.

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Docket: 08-402
Title: Kansas v. Morton
Issue: Whether an act of police deception during the interrogation of a suspect can itself render an otherwise voluntary confession “involuntary” under the Due Process Clause.

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Docket: 08-430
Title: Schriro v. Correll
Issue: Whether the court of appeals properly applied the prejudice standard set forth in Strickland v. Washington (1984) when it concluded that the defendant’s trial counsel provided ineffective assistance at sentencing in failing to investigate and present mitigating evidence.

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Docket: 08-444
Title: Cruzado-Laureano v. United States
Issue: Whether a district court on remand for resentencing retains the discretion to hear issues and take evidence beyond the scope of the error addressed by the appellate court, where the appellate court has not expressly limited the district court’s authority on remand.

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Docket: 08-448
Title: Cable News Network, Inc., et al., v. CSC Holdings, Inc., et al
Issue: Whether, under the Copyright Act of 1976, Cablevision’s on-demand service infringes the petitioners’ exclusive copyrights by copying, storing, and transmitting its programs without an additional license.

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Docket: 08-500
Title: Lambert v. Hartmann
Issue: Whether a motorist whose personal identifying information was stolen when a traffic ticket containing her Social Security was posted online may sue the responsible county officials under 42 U.S.C. 1983.

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Docket: 08-539
Title: Republic of Iraq, et al., v. Robert Simon, et al.
Issue: Whether the Republic of Iraq possesses sovereign immunity from the jurisdiction of the United States courts in cases regarding alleged crimes under Saddam Hussein’s regime.

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Docket: 08-554
Title: Michigan Gambling Opposition v. Kempthorne
Issue: Whether Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act, which gives the Secretary of Interior discretion to acquire lands for Native Americans, is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority.

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Docket: 08-559
Title: E. K. McDaniel, Warden, et al., v. Troy Brown
Issue: Whether, on federal habeas review, the evidence underlying the defendant’s conviction for sexual assault was clearly insufficient under Jackson v. Virginia (1979).

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Docket: 08-565
Title: Mukasey v. ACLU
Issue: Whether the Child Online Protection Act violates the First Amendment.

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Docket: 08-585
Title: Ohio v. Wade
Issue: Whether the doctrine of collateral estoppel bars or limits the trier of fact in a second trial from considering evidence that is relevant to the remaining charges.

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Docket: 08-598
Title: Bobby v. Bies
Issue: Whether the holding of a state post-conviction hearing to determine the mental capacity of a capital defendant whose death sentence was affirmed before Atkins v. Virginia (2002), which barred the execution of mentally retarded defendants, violates the Double Jeopardy clause.

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