This is the fifth and final edition of  "Petitions to Watch"  featuring cases up for consideration at the Justices' opening conference of September 29.  Included in today’s post are cases in which the Solicitor General has filed invitation briefs or letters since the end of last Term. 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.   Links to previous editions are available in our archives on SCOTUSwiki. [Note: There are a number of petitions in which the respondent is proceeding in forma pauperis and we don't yet have an electronic copy of the brief in opposition. If you are counsel in any of these cases or otherwise have a copy,  I'd appreciate your emailing it to me.]

Docket: 09-14
Title: Shannon, Director, Illinois Department of Labor et al. v. 520 South Michigan Avenue Associates, Ltd., dba The Congress Plaza Hotel & Convention Center
Issue: Whether the court of appeals incorrectly held that a state statute cannot be a "minimum labor standard" – and therefore cannot survive preemption by the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §151 et seq. – if the law is tailored to account for occupational and regional differences or is "stringent" in its requirements.

Docket: 09-34
Title: Pfizer Inc. v. Abdullahi et al.
Issue: Whether Alien Tort Statute (ATS) jurisdiction can extend to a private actor based on alleged state action by a foreign government where there is no allegation that the government knew of or participated in the specific acts by the private actor claimed to have violated international law. Whether, absent state action, a complaint that a private actor has conducted a clinical trial of a medication without adequately informed consent can surmount the "high bar to new private causes of action" under the ATS.

Docket: 09-39
Title: Dufrene Boats, Inc. v. Nga Trinh
Issue: Whether a person engaged in a maritime trade, who is not a seaman or a longshore worker, is a "seafarer" under Yamaha Motor Corp. v. Calhoun, 516 U.S. 199 (1996), which would require application of maritime uniformity and maritime remedies over state interests and state remedies in a maritime wrongful-death case in territorial waters.

Docket: 09-54
Title: Department of the Interior et al. v. Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas Corporation
Issue: Whether Section 304 of the Outer Continental Shelf Deep Water Royalty Relief Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to vary the suspension of royalties, so as to collect royalties on oil or gas produced when the price of oil or gas exceeds thresholds specified in the lease, notwithstanding statutorily designated suspension volumes.

Docket: 09-63
Title: McDaniel v. Sechrest
Issue: Did sentencing phase error require the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a sentence of death?

Docket: 09-84
Title: Murphy v. Bryant
Issue: Whether the Connecticut Supreme Court improperly overturned a homicide conviction and ignored Strickland v. Washington‘s admonition to assess counsel’s performance with appropriate deference.

Docket: 09-100
Title: Michigan v. Davis
Issue: Must Miranda warnings be given before any person so detained may be asked any questions?  (Such as police asking a group of search warrant detainees "who lives here?") Should the answer to such a question be excluded because the defendant was not mirandized? Does Missouri v. Seibert require suppression of a mirandized statement that was acquired from un-mirandized questioning?

Docket: 09-110
Title: HCA, Inc. et al., Petitioners v. Aon Corporation et al.
Issue: Does the Due Process Clause or Full Faith and Credit Clause, as interpreted in Phillips Petroleum Co v. Shutts, require an individualized choice of law analysis for each class member’s claim before a single State’s law may be applied to a nationwide class action?

Docket: 09-130
Title: Owens v. Steele, Warden
Issue: When a federal court has found that the state suppressed exculpatory evidence that could mitigate punishment in a domestic homicide case, may the federal court nevertheless find the suppressed evidence not "material" because the defendant suspected or had some knowledge of the deceased’s philandering?

Docket: 09-144
Title: Bobby v. Van Hook
Issue: Under Strickland v. Washington, should defense counsel's performance be reviewed under professional standards that existed at the time of trial rather than the standards now in existence? Does the threshold for finding prejudice under Strickland vary depending on the number of statutory aggravating circumstances, as opposed to the weight of the aggravating evidence?

Docket: 09-154
Title: Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists, Inc. et al. v. Division of Legislative Information Services of the Florida Office of Legislative Services et al.
Issue: Whether a state law that requires disclosure of the identities of those paying for grassroots lobbying – "opinion articles, issue advertisements, and letter writing campaigns" – facially violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments due to vagueness and overbreadth.Whether a state law that prohibits all gifts for the purpose of lobbying facially violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments due to vagueness and overbreadth.

Docket: 09-166 (certified question, see Lyle's post here)
Title: United States v. Seale
Issue: What statute of limitations applies to a prosecution under 18 U.S.C § 1201 for a kidnapping offense that occurred in 1964 but was not indicted until 2007?

  • Certified question (5th Circuit)

Cases from OT08:

Docket: 08-974
Title: Lewis et al. v. City of Chicago
Issue: When an employer adopts an employment practice that discriminates against African Americans in violation of Title VII's disparate impact provision, must a plaintiff file an EEOC charge within 300 days after the announcement of the practice, or may a plaintiff file a charge within 300 days after the employer's use of the discriminatory practice?

  • Opinion below (7th Circuit)
  • Petition for certiorari
  • Brief in opposition
  • Petitioner's reply
  • Brief amicus curiae of the United States
  • Supplemental brief of respondent

Docket: 08-1234
Title: Kiyemba et al.  v. Barack H. Obama, President of the United States, et al.
Issue: Whether a federal court exercising its habeas jurisdiction, as confirmed by Boumediene v. Bush has no power to order the release of prisoners held by the Executive for seven years, when the Executive detention is indefinite and without authorization in law, and release into the continental United States is the only possible effective remedy.

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