This edition of "Petitions to watch" features cases up for consideration at the Justices' March 4 conference.  These are petitions raising issues that Tom has determined to have a reasonable chance of being granted, although we post them here without consideration of whether they present appropriate vehicles in which to decide those issues.

Rast v. United States

Docket: 10-516
Issue(s): Whether an essential element to be proven for a conviction for the offense of bribery of a state or local official under 18 U.S.C. §666(a)(2) is a specific and identifiable quid pro quo consisting of the specific thing of value given or promised by the alleged giver of the bribe in exchange for or intended to be in exchange for a specific action taken or promised by the alleged recipient of the bribe.

Certiorari stage documents:

Pugh v. United States

Docket: 10-528
Issue(s): 1) Whether 18 U.S.C. § 666 requires proof that a person who gives things of value to a public official with a corrupt intent to influence or reward that public official made such payment in exchange for some specific and identifiable official act or course of action; and 2) whether a defendant's conviction violates his right to due process when the prosecutor knowingly solicits false testimony which reasonably could have affected the jury's verdict.

Certiorari stage documents:

McNair v. United States

Docket: 10-533
Issue(s): Whether the Government must prove that a defendant had the specific intent to engage in a quid pro quo to convict him of bribery under 18 U.S.C. § 666.

Certiorari stage documents:

Idaho v. Shackelford

Docket: 10-589
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Idaho Supreme Court erred in concluding that errors under Ring v. Arizona, requiring statutory aggravating factors to be found by a jury, are not subject to harmless error analysis; and (2) whether the state met its burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that any Ring error involving the failure to instruct the jury regarding the multiple murder aggravator was harmless, based on the evidence presented at trial and the jury’s verdict that Shackelford was guilty of two murders. (Note: Shackelford has filed his own in forma pauperis petition in No. 10-6218.)

Certiorari stage documents:

Apollo Group, Inc. v. Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago

Docket: 10-649
Issue(s): 1) Whether a plaintiff, invoking the efficient market theory to avoid having to prove reliance on a misrepresented stock price that caused him loss, is barred from trying to prove loss causation based on a decline in price that happened weeks or months after a corrective disclosure, rather than immediately after the disclosure; and 2) whether a plaintiff may treat an analyst's report that synthesizes and comments on already-public information as a fraud-revealing corrective disclosure that suffices to prove loss causation.

Certiorari stage documents:

National Union Fire Insurance Co. v. VP Buildings, Inc.

Docket: 10-711
Issue(s): Whether a chapter 11 debtor is obligated to pay in full as an administrative expense the cost of necessary insurance that it purchases during the course of its chapter 11 case.

Certiorari stage documents:

Missouri v. Garcia

Docket: 10-718
Issue(s): Whether a defendant who flees from the scene of a crime, and remains at large for several years as a result of that flight, can claim that his right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment has been violated, without proving that he was prejudiced as a result of the delay in his apprehension.

Certiorari stage documents:

Walsh v. Badger Catholic, Inc.

Docket: 10-731
Issue(s): Whether, absent evidence of religious animus, a public institution of higher education that has created a limited public forum to promote its educational mission may refuse to fund a student organization's activities that the organization identifies as religious worship, proselytizing, or inculcation of a particular religious belief.

Certiorari stage documents:

Edwards v. A.H. Cornell and Son, Inc.

Note: Goldstein, Howe & Russell represents the petitioner in this case, which is listed without regard to its chance of being granted.
Docket: 10-732
Issue(s): Whether the anti-retaliation provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1140, permits an employer to discharge an employee for making unsolicited internal complaints regarding violations of the statute.

Certiorari stage documents:

Brown v. Valdivia

Docket: 10-848
Issue(s): Do parolees in state administrative revocation hearings have a due process "confrontation right" to exclude hearsay, in the absence of a special showing of "good cause," when that hearsay would be admissible under the Confrontation Clause even against a defendant in a criminal prosecution?

Certiorari stage documents:

The following petitions have been re-listed for the conference of March 4.  If any other paid petitions are re-distributed for this conference, we will add them below as soon as their re-distribution is noted on the docket.

Allshouse v. Pennsylvania

Note: Goldstein, Howe & Russell represent the petitioner.
Docket: 09-1396
Issue(s): Whether a child's statements in an interview with a child protection agency worker investigating suspicions of past abuse are “testimonial” evidence subject to the demands of the Confrontation Clause under Crawford v. Washington (2004).

Certiorari stage documents:

Maples v. Thomas (Granted )

Docket: 10-63
Issue(s): Whether the Eleventh Circuit properly held that there was no cause to excuse any procedural default where petitioner was blameless for the default, the state's own conduct contributed to the default, and petitioner's attorneys of record were no longer functioning as his agents at the time of any default.

Certiorari stage documents:

Huber v. New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection

Docket: 10-388
Issue(s): (1) Whether the evidence obtained by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection during an unannounced, warrantless inspection of wetlands in the backyard behind petitioners' home, over their repeated objections, should be suppressed because it was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (2) whether the Fourth Amendment entitles petitioners to greater protection from warrantless searches and seizures on their residential property than a closely regulated business, even when their property contains regulated wetlands; (3) whether the warrantless inspection and seizure of soil samples at petitioners' property was valid under the “special public needs” exception to the warrant requirement; and (4) whether residents lose the right to be free from warrantless inspections of their property due to the presence of regulated wetlands.

Certiorari stage documents:

Golan v. Holder (Granted )

Note: Goldstein & Russell, P.C. serves as counsel to the petitioners in this case.
Docket: 10-545
Issue(s): (1) Does the Progress Clause of the United States Constitution, Article I, § 8, cl. 8, prohibit Congress from taking works out of the public domain? (2) Does Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution?

Certiorari stage documents:

Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC (Granted )

Note: Goldstein & Russell represent The NAACP Legal Defense Fund et al. as amici curiae in support of respondent.
Docket: 10-553
Issue(s): Whether the ministerial exception, which prohibits most employment-related lawsuits against religious organizations by employees performing religious functions, applies to a teacher at a religious elementary school who teaches the full secular curriculum, but also teaches daily religion classes, is a commissioned minister, and regularly leads students in prayer and worship.

Certiorari stage documents:

S&M Brands, Inc. v. Caldwell

Docket: 10-622
Issue(s): (1) Whether a binding agreement among multiple states and private companies is immunized from antitrust scrutiny under the state-action immunity doctrine of Parker v. Brown (1943); and (2) whether a binding agreement among multiple states, with both intra- and interstate effects, violates the Compact Clause, Article I, § 10, cl. 3 of the United States Constitution, in the absence of congressional approval.

Certiorari stage documents:

Wine Country Gift Baskets.com v. Steen

Docket: 10-671
Issue(s): Whether the Twenty-first Amendment overrides the Commerce Clause and allows States to discriminate against out-of-state businesses in the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Certiorari stage documents:

Felkner v. Jackson

Docket: 10-797
Issue(s): Whether a ruling by the court of appeals on habeas, reversing a district court's decision and finding a state prosecutor's proffered race-neutral bases for peremptorily striking two out of three African-American jurors insufficient, satisfies the restrictions on habeas corpus relief imposed by Congress in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)?

Certiorari stage documents:

Quinn v. Judge

Docket: 10-821
Issue(s): Whether, contrary to the longstanding practice and the laws of many States, the Seventeenth Amendment requires a special election to fill a vacant Senate seat "every time that a vacancy happens in the state's senate delegation" - as the decision below holds - even when the vacated term will expire in the normal course following the next, biennial Congressional election.

Certiorari stage documents:

Burris v. Judge

Docket: 10-367
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Seventeenth Amendment's express delegation of power to "direct" an election to fill a vacant seat in the United States Senate to state legislatures precludes a federal judge from selecting the candidates that shall appear on the ballot; (2) whether the Seventeenth Amendment allows a state to forgo a special election and instead permit a temporarily appointed United States Senator to serve for the remainder of the vacated term where that term expires in less than two years after the first federal election following the vacancy; and (3) whether categorically excluding any would-be candidate from the ballot in a newly announced special election to fill a vacant seat in the United States Senate unless that individual had already registered and been certified by the Illinois State Board of Elections as a candidate for the regular November election is consistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Christa Culver, Petitions to watch | Conference of 03.04.11, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 4, 2011, 12:11 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/03/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-03-04-11/