This edition of "Petitions to Watch"  features cases up for consideration at the Justices' private conference on October 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.   Links to previous editions are available in our archives on SCOTUSwiki.

Docket: 08-1356
Title: Kim v. Holder
Issue: Whether the five-year limitations period of 8 U.S.C. § 1256(a) permits the government to initiate removal proceedings after the five-year period has passed based on the alien’s ineligibility for permanent resident status at the time it was granted, when the final removal order rescinds the alien’s permanent resident status.

Docket: 08-1482
Title: Mincey v. United States
Issue: Does a driver who borrows a rental car with the renter’s, but not the owner’s, permission have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the car? If so, can the rental company unilaterally and immediately extinguish the driver’s reasonable expectation of privacy during a traffic stop by instructing the police not to release the car to the driver?

Docket: 09-35
Title: Noriega v.  Pastrana, Warden
Issue: Whether the Eleventh Circuit  properly interpreted Section 5 of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Geneva Convention in denying the former Panamanian leader's habeas claim.

Docket: 09-45
Title: Norris, Director Arkansas Department of Correction v. Sasser
Issue: Whether 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2) bars an evidentiary hearing on Sasser’s Atkins claim, when his counsel did not diligently develop available facts supporting the claim during State court proceedings; whether the district court has the authority to expand the record to determine whether Sasser’s Atkins claim warrants an evidentiary hearing, or whether it instead must, based solely on the facts alleged in the petition, hold a hearing; whether the mandatory language of 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(4) requires the district court to consider the timeliness of Sasser’s Atkins claim under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) before the claim may be adjudicated on the merits.

Docket: 09-160
Title: U.S. Defense Department v. American Civil Liberties Union
Issue: Whether Exemption 7(F) of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(F), exempts from mandatory disclosure photographic records concerning allegations of abuse and mistreatment of detainees in United States custody when the government has demonstrated that the disclosure of those photographs could reasonably be expected to endanger the lives or physical safety of United States military and civilian personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Docket: 09-161
Title: Miller v. Villegas
Issue: Whether a plaintiff who successfully challenges a government policy on state administrative procedure grounds is entitled to attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 without (1) prevailing on a federal claim, achieving any relief, or prevailing on a state claim that shields a federal claim from ever being adjudicated.

Docket: 09-196
Title: Ward v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150
Issue: Whether Congress implied a cause of action for unions to sue their officials under Section 501 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, despite limiting the express cause of action under that section to suits by union members.

(Note: An earlier version of this post listed 09-150 but it will not be considered at this conference as the record from the lower court is requested.)

Cases involving lawyers from Akin Gump or Howe & Russell (listed without regard to likelihood of being granted):

Docket: 09-53
Title: Kelley v. Florida
Issue: Did the Florida Supreme Court err in holding that the prosecution’s duty to disclose under Brady v. Maryland is limited to evidence that would itself be both "favorable" and "material" at trial, without regard to whether that evidence would have led to the disclosure of material exculpatory evidence. [Note: Akin Gump is counsel to the petitioner.]

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