At its November 30, 2012 Conference, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, preemption of suits over generic drugs, and the government’s obligation to decide Customs claims.

This edition of “Petitions to watch” features 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.

11-1528

Issue: (1) Whether 26 U.S.C. § 512(a)(3)(E)(i), which provides that investment income of a voluntary employees’ beneficiary association (“VEBA”) is tax exempt only if a set-aside of the income for a purpose specified in Section 512(a)(3)(B)(ii) “does not result in an amount of assets set aside for such purpose in excess of the account limit determined under section 419A” – which, along with Section 419, limits an employer’s deduction for contributions to a VEBA – must be interpreted consistently with Sections 419 and 419A to mean that a set-aside of income results in set-aside assets only if the income is considered, under Section 419(c), not to have been spent for a specified purpose in the year the income is earned, but instead to have been accumulated for use in a later year; (2) whether a regulation adopting the Federal Circuit’s interpretation outstanding in “temporary” form since 1986 should be given deference despite having been issued without the explanation required by 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A) and without the prior notice and comment required by 5 U.S.C. § 553; and (3) whether the variance rule in Treasury Regulation § 301.6402-2(b)(1) is jurisdictional, barring the deference argument and precluding application of judicial exceptions to such administrative exhaustion requirements.

 

12-13

Issue: (1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. § 7, violates the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; and (2) whether the court below erred by inventing and applying to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act a previously unknown standard of equal protection review.

 

12-15

Issue: Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. 7, violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their state.

 

12-16

Issue: Whether Section 3 of Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. 7, violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their state.

 

12-23

Issue: Whether the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ignored this Court’s precedent and erred in holding that Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) Section 38-651(O) (Section O) violates the Equal Protection Clause by limiting healthcare benefits to state employees’ spouses and dependents – and thus not extending such benefits to state employees’ domestic partners – given that a) Section O is facially neutral and there is no evidence that the Legislature intended to discriminate based on sexual orientation; b) Section O furthers the State’s interests in promoting marriage while also eliminating the additional expense and administrative burdens involved in providing healthcare benefits to state employees’ domestic partners; and c) the court’s reason for finding that Section O discriminates against gay and lesbian state employees was that Arizona prohibits same-sex marriage.

 

12-63

Issue: Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. § 7, which defines the term “marriage” for all purposes under federal law as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife,” deprives same-sex couples who are lawfully married under the laws of their states (such as New York) of the equal protection of the laws, as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

 

12-97

Issue: (1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), 1 U.S.C. § 7, violates the Tenth Amendment; and (2) whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Spending Clause, U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 1.

 

12-142

Issue: Whether the First Circuit Court of Appeals erred when it created a circuit split and held – in clear conflict with this Court’s decisions in PLIVA v. Mensing, Riegel v. Medtronic, and Cipollone v. Liggett Group – that federal law does not preempt state law design-defect claims targeting generic pharmaceutical products because the conceded conflict between such claims and the federal laws governing generic pharmaceutical design allegedly can be avoided if the makers of generic pharmaceuticals simply stop making their products.

 

12-144
Disclosure: Tejinder Singh of the law firm Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, was among the counsel on an amicus brief filed by international human rights advocates in support of the respondents in this case.

Issue: (1) Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman; and (2) whether petitioners have standing under Article III, § 2 of the Constitution in this case.

 

12-148

Issue: Whether United States Customs and Border Protection may withhold disposition of a protest indefinitely despite the plain mandate in 19 U.S.C. § 1515(a) that Customs “shall review the protest and shall allow or deny such protest in whole or in part” within two years.

 

12-158

Issue: (1) Whether the Constitution’s structural limits on federal authority impose any constraints on the scope of Congress’ authority to enact legislation to implement a valid treaty, at least in circumstances where the federal statute, as applied, goes far beyond the scope of the treaty, intrudes on traditional state prerogatives, and is concededly unnecessary to satisfy the government’s treaty obligations; and (2) whether the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act, 18 U.S.C. § 229, can be interpreted not to reach ordinary poisoning cases, which have been adequately handled by state and local authorities since the Framing, in order to avoid the difficult constitutional questions involving the scope of and continuing vitality of this Court’s decision in Missouri v. Holland.

 

12-231

Issue: Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as applied to legally married same-sex couples.

 

12-256

Issue: (1) Whether Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Section 404(c) provides a fiduciary of an otherwise qualified plan a defense to liability against an imprudent investment claim when the participant’s control over the investment is the proximate cause of the loss; and (2) whether liability under ERISA Section 409(a) for a breach of fiduciary duty claim requires that the breach constitute the proximate cause of the loss.

 

12-302

Issue: Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State.

 

12-307
Disclosure: Kevin Russell of the law firm Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, was among the counsel on an amicus brief filed by former senators in support of Edith Windsor in this case.

Issue: (1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State; (2) whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and (3) whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.

 

12-398

Issue: Whether human genes are patentable.

 

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Ben Cheng, Petitions to watch | Conference of November 30, 2012, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 28, 2012, 11:27 AM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/11/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-november-30-2012/