The Supreme Court, preparing to open a new Term next Monday, on Tuesday granted review of six new cases and overturned a lower court ruling on new election districts for West Virginia’s representatives in Congress — a case left over from last Term.
The newly granted cases are Gabelli v. Securities and Exchange Commission (11-1274), Levin v. United States (11-1351), Missouri v. McNeely (11-1425), Maracich v. Spears (12-25), and Delia v. E.M.A. (12-98). In the sixth case, Millbrook v. United States (11-10362), the Court wrote a new question that it will decide on the immunity of the federal government from a lawsuit claiming negligence by officials of the Lewisburg, Pa., prison over a sexual assault on an inmate by three guards. At least some of the cases, and perhaps all, will be argued in the January sitting, which begins January 4.
The Justices issued an unsigned ruling, with no noted dissents, in the West Virginia congressional redistricting case — Tennant v. Jefferson County Commission (11-1184). The Court found that a three-judge District Court had wrongly insisted that there be almost no difference in population between the House districts drawn up after the 2010 Census. West Virginia had only three House districts, before and after the Census, but population shifts required a new election district map. The lower court, the “per curiam” (by the Court) opinion said, had failed to defer to the political judgment of West Virginia’s legislators in protecting incumbent House members and in avoiding splitting up counties among different districts. The Court had temporarily blocked the lower court decision last Term. It acted without written briefs or oral argument.
Here, in summary, are the issues the Court agreed to hear in the five cases (other than Millbrook):
Gabelli — calculation of the five-year limitation on the SEC’s power to impose a penalty for securities fraud.
Levin — scope of legal immunity of military medical personnel for an alleged “battery” while providing medical care to a civilian.
McNeely — police authority to take a blood sample from a driver who allegedly was drunk, when the officer has no warrant but wants to act quickly because of the chemical fact that alcohol in the blood dissipates over time.
Maracich — lawyer’s legal right to obtain personal information from driver’s license records, when the attorneys plan to use it in lawsuits and federal law supposedly insulates such information from disclosure.
Delia — state power to recover funds spent on providing medical care to the poor or disabled under the federal Medicaid law, when the patient has received funds from another source.