On October 7, the Court will consider petitions on such issues as a district court’s jurisdiction over constitutional claims by federal employees for equitable relief, the circumstances in which Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act prohibits a real estate settlement services provider from charging an unearned fee, and the role of the Double Jeopardy Clause when a capital jury indicates that it is deadlocked but has ruled out a death sentence. 

This edition of “Petitions to watch” features cases up for consideration at the Justices’ October 7 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.

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Elgin v. Dep’t of the Treasury

Docket No. 11-45
 

Issue: Whether the Civil Service Reform Act impliedly precludes federal district courts from having jurisdiction over constitutional claims for equitable relief brought by federal employees.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

Briefs and Documents

Certiorari-stage documents

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Wetzel v. Abu-Jamal

Docket No. 11-49
 

Issue: Whether the court of appeals properly applied Smith v. Spisak, in which the Supreme Court held that Mills v. Maryland is not violated as long as jurors are told only that they must decide the balancing of aggravating and mitigating factors unanimously.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

Briefs and Documents

Certiorari-stage documents

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Harrison v. Gillespie

Docket No. 11-168
 

Issue: Whether, when the jury in a capital case indicates that it is deadlocked among lesser sentences but has ruled out a capital sentence, the Double Jeopardy Clause entitles the defendant to ascertain whether the jury has reached a decision against imposing the death penalty before the trial court declares a mistrial and discharges the jury.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

Briefs and Documents

Certiorari-stage documents

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Freeman v. Quicken Loans Inc.

Docket No. 10-1042
 

Disclaimer: Goldstein & Russell, P.C. serves as counsel to the petitioners in this case, which is listed without regard to the likelihood that it will be granted.

Issue: Whether Section 8(b) of Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act prohibits a real estate settlement services provider from charging an unearned fee only if the fee is divided between two or more parties.

CVSG Information

Invited: May 16, 2011

Filed: August 25, 2011 (Grant)

Briefs and Documents

Certiorari-stage documents

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The following petitions have been re-listed from the Conference of September 26, 2011:

Utah Highway Patrol Ass’n v. American Atheists (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1276

Issue(s):  (1) Which Establishment Clause test should be applied when analyzing passive public displays; (2) does the Establishment Clause forbid roadside memorial crosses marking the site of death for state highway troopers killed in the line of duty; and (3) is a collection of memorials owned by a private organization, disclaimed by the state, and located on both private and public property properly classified as government speech?

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Davenport v. American Atheists (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1297

Issue(s):  (1) What is the appropriate test for evaluating whether a passive display with religious imagery violates the Establishment Clause; (2) whether this Court should set aside the “endorsement test” in favor of the “coercion test”; and (3) whether a memorial cross placed on state land by a private organization to commemorate fallen state troopers is an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Miller v. Alabama (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-9646

Issue(s):  Whether imposing a sentence of life without possibility of parole on an offender who was 14 at the time he committed capital murder constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Jackson v. Hobbs (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-9647

Issue(s):  Whether imposing a sentence of life without possibility of parole on an offender who was 14 at the time he committed capital murder constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Blueford v. Arkansas (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1320

Issue(s):  Whether, if a jury deadlocks on a lesser-included offense, the Double Jeopardy Clause bars the reprosecution of a greater offense after a jury announces that it has voted against guilt on the greater offense.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Sun v. United States (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-9333

Issue(s):  Whether the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands has jurisdiction to hear criminal cases arising under the laws of the United States, because its judges do not enjoy the protections of Article III of the Constitution.

Certiorari stage documents:

  • Opinion below (9th Cir.)
  • Petition for certiorari (forthcoming)
  • Brief in opposition (forthcoming)
  • Petitioners’ reply (forthcoming)

 

Buck v. Thaler (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  11-6391

Issue(s):  (1) Whether the defendant’s race or ethnic background was used impermissibly as an aggravating circumstance in the punishment phase of a capital murder trial; (2) whether the defendant’s race was used as evidence of future dangerousness during the punishment phase of a capital murder trial; (3) whether a reasonable jurist could believe this case presents extraordinary circumstances justifying reopening federal habeas corpus proceedings under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6); (4) whether a reasonable jurist could believe that the Texas Attorney General made material misrepresentations that constitute a fraud on the court; and (5) whether imposition of the death penalty in this case was arbitrary and capricious.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Pacheco-Garcia v. United States (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-9445

Issue(s):  Whether the court of appeals erred in finding no reversible plain error in petitioner’s sentence, where the sentence imposed was within the advisory Guidelines range used by the district court and would also have fallen within the range that petitioner contends is correct.

 Certiorari stage documents:

 

Guerrero-Campos v. United States (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-9746

Issue(s):  Whether petitioner established reversible plain error when the district court sentenced him within an erroneous advisory Guidelines range but his sentence also fell within the correct range.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Wesevich v. United States (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-10340

Issue(s):  Whether petitioner established reversible plain error when the district court sentenced him within an erroneous advisory Guidelines range but his sentence also fell within the correct range.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Magner v. Gallagher (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1032

Issue(s):  (1) Whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act; and, if so, (2) what test should be used to analyze them.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1491

Issue(s):  (1) Whether the issue of corporate civil tort liability under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. § 1350, is a merits question or instead an issue of subject matter jurisdiction; and (2) whether corporations are immune from tort liability for violations of the law of nations such as torture, extrajudicial executions or genocide, or if corporations may instead be sued in the same manner as any other private party defendant under the ATS for such egregious violations.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Bowoto v. Chevron Corp. (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1536

Issue(s):  Whether corporations and other legal entities may be sued for torture and extrajudicial killing under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Mohamad v. Rajoub (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  11-88

Issue(s):  Whether the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 permits actions against defendants that are not natural persons.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

United States v. New York (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1404

Issue(s):  Whether the United States may be barred from enforcing the Nonintercourse Act against a state that repeatedly purchased and resold (at a substantial profit) Indian lands in violation of the Act between 1795 and 1846, based on the passage of time and the transfer of the unlawfully obtained Indian lands into the hands of third parties, when the United States seeks monetary relief only against the state.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Oneida Nation of New York v. County of Oneida, New York (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1420

Issue(s):  (1) Whether the court of appeals contravened this Court’s decisions in Oneida Indian Nation of New York v. County of Oneida and City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation by ruling that “equitable considerations”  rendered petitioners’ claims for money damages for the dispossession of their tribal lands in violation of federal law void ab initio; and (2) whether the court of appeals impermissibly encroached on the legislative power of Congress by relying on “equitable considerations” to bar petitioners’ claims as untimely, even though they were brought within the statute of limitations fixed by Congress for the precise tribal land claims at issue.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Rocha v. Thaler (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-9659

Issue(s):  (1) Whether there was an adequate and independent state law ground for denying petitioner habeas corpus relief; (2) whether suppression of evidence is an appropriate remedy for violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Adams v. Thaler (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-10881

Issue(s):  Whether the Fifth Circuit properly applied Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032 (1983) to conclude that the judgment below rested on an adequate and independent state ground.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Cash v. Maxwell (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1548

Issue(s):  (1) Whether, under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a federal court may grant habeas relief on a claim that the state-court conviction rested on perjured testimony absent proof that the prosecution knew that the challenged testimony was false and when the state post-conviction court deemed the testimony truthful; (2) whether, under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a federal court may grant habeas relief on a claim alleging suppression of exculpatory evidence when that evidence was unknown to law enforcement officials working on the case and without considering whether the state court might have rejected this claim.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Hardy v. Cross (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  11-74

Issue(s):  Whether the court of appeals violated 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and Supreme Court precedent by overriding state court determinations of law and fact and awarding habeas relief based on a constitutional rule that this Court has never recognized and that the Seventh Circuit derived entirely from its own precedent.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Ryan v. Doody (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  11-175

Issue(s):  (1) Whether the Ninth Circuit disregarded the limitations of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act when it held that the Miranda warnings given to respondent were inadequate; (2) whether the Ninth Circuit disregarded AEDPA and Supreme Court precedent in holding that respondent’s statements were involuntary; and (3) whether any constitutional error had a “substantial and injurious effect” on the verdict.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Bobby v. Dixon (Relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-1540

Issue(s):  (1) Whether the Sixth Circuit contravened the directives of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) when it abandoned the “in custody” requirement of Miranda v. Arizona and Edwards v. Arizona; (2) whether the interviewer’s state of mind has any bearing on whether a suspect’s statement is voluntary under the established law of Oregon v. Elstad; and (3) whether the Sixth Circuit exceeded its authority under AEDPA when it condemned the use of the “prisoner’s dilemma” – where the police indicate that favorable treatment will go to the first suspect who cooperates – as an unconstitutionally coercive interrogation tactic.

Certiorari stage documents:

 

Johnson v. Obama (relisted after the 9/26 Conference)

Docket:  10-10652

Issue(s):  What is the appropriate relief when the trial judge declines to recuse herself from presiding over a civil case in which she is a defendant.

 Certiorari stage documents:

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Kiera Flynn, Petitions to watch | Conference of October 7, 2011, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 7, 2011, 6:18 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/10/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-october-7-2011/