This edition of "Petitions to watch" features cases up for consideration at the Justices' March 18 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.

The Clearing House Ass’n, L.L.C. v. Bloomberg, L.P.

Docket: 10-543
Issue(s): (1) Whether the identity of a third party who transacts with a federal agency, and the highly confidential terms of such a transaction, constitutes information "obtained from" that party for purposes of Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, which authorizes a federal agency to withhold “[1] trade secrets and commercial or financial information [2] obtained from a person [3] privileged or confidential”; and (2) whether information is "confidential" under FOIA Exemption 4 when its disclosure would impair the effectiveness of federal agency programs.

Certiorari stage documents:

Mylan Inc. v. Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.

Docket: 10-770
Issue(s): Whether, contrary to this Court's decision in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., the Federal Circuit has erred in applying a “lead compound test” as the exclusive standard for determining whether a patent claim directed to a new chemical compound is “obvious” and therefore invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a).

Certiorari stage documents:

Kiyemba v. Obama

Docket: 10-775
Issue(s): Whether a judicial officer of the United States, having jurisdiction of the habeas corpus petition of an alien transported by the executive to, and held at, an offshore prison, has any judicial power to direct the prisoner's release.

Certiorari stage documents:

Cao v. FEC

Docket: 10-776
Issue(s): (1) Whether the holding that contributions may be limited under lowered scrutiny because they "do[] not communicate the underlying basis for the support," "involve[] little direct restraint on [speech]," "involve speech by someone [else]," and "transformation...into political debate involves [another's] speech," Buckley v. Valeo (1976), permits the government to restrict expenditures for communications constituting a political party's own speech because the communications are coordinated with a candidate; and (2) in the alternative, whether party-coordinated expenditures constituting a party's own speech may constitutionally be treated as contributions if the only coordination is "on which time slot the advertisement should run for maximum effectiveness," FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001).

Certiorari stage documents:

Rehberg v. Paulk (Granted )

Docket: 10-788
Issue(s): Whether a government official who acts as a complaining witness by presenting perjured testimony against an innocent citizen is entitled to absolute immunity from a Section 1983 claim for civil damages.

Certiorari stage documents:

Barr v. United States

Docket: 10-794
Issue(s): When a court allocates the proceeds from a sale pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7403, which allows district courts to order a sale of a delinquent taxpayer’s property to satisfy a federal tax lien, even if the property is co-owned with another individual who does not owe taxes, and provides that the proceeds of the sale should be allocated "according to the interests of the parties and of the United States," must the court take into account the additional value of the survivorship right of the spouse with the longer life expectancy and any other asymmetrical rights or must it instead allocate the proceeds equally to each party in every situation?

Certiorari stage documents:

State Compensation Insurance Fund v. Zamora

Docket: 10-796
Issue(s): (1) Whether the policy against federal interference with state criminal prosecutions similarly precludes a finding that state criminal restitution payments can be preferences under 11 U.S.C. § 547(b); (2) whether criminal restitution, which is ordered to further the state's goals of deterrence and rehabilitation, is “to or for the benefit of a creditor” under 11 U.S.C. § 547(b).

Certiorari stage documents:

The following petitions have been re-listed for the conference of March 18.  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.

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:

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:

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:

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Christa Culver, Petitions to watch | Conference of 03.18.11, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 14, 2011, 10:12 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/03/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-03-18-11/