Petitions to watch | Conference of November 26
At its November 26, 2013 Conference, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as a state’s residency requirement for ballot access petitions, the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, states’ taxing power over out-of-state Internet retailers, and claims against municipalities under the Federal Wiretap Act.
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. Our policy is to include and disclose all cases in which Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents either a party or an amicus in the case, with the exception of the rare cases in which Goldstein & Russell represents the respondent(s) but does not appear on the briefs in the case.
Issue: (1) Whether the petitioners have standing to advance the claim that the mandate by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring them to provide their employees with abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptive drugs or devices, and sterilization violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) by forcing individual business owners to violate their religious beliefs when governing the corporation through which they do business upon pain of ruinous consequences; and (2) whether the mandate imposes a substantial burden on petitioners’ exercise of religion within the meaning of the RFRA by coercing them to violate their religious convictions when conducting business upon pain of ruinous consequences.
Issue: Whether the Federal Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510 et seq., as amended by the PATRIOT Act, authorizes a cause of action against municipalities.
Issue: Whether the religious owners of a family business, or their closely held, for-profit corporation, have free exercise rights that are violated by the application of the contraceptive-coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
Issue: Whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb et seq., which provides that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest, allows a for-profit corporation to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.
Issue: Whether under United States v. Ruiz and Brady v. Maryland prosecutors must provide exculpatory evidence to a criminal defendant before a preliminary hearing at which a magistrate determines whether sufficient cause exists to require the defendant to stand trial.
Issue: (1) Whether Congress has the authority under the Commerce Clause to force employers to buy or provide employees with government defined health insurance at a rate the government defines as affordable with no option to discontinue coverage without facing excessive punitive fines; (2) whether Congress has authority under the Taxing and Spending Clause to impose excessive punitive fines on employers enforced by the Departments of Treasury and Labor for failing or refusing to buy or provide government defined health insurance at a rate the government defines as affordable with no option to discontinue coverage without facing excessive punitive fines; (3) whether the Employer Mandate and its implementing regulations violate the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion Clause by forcing religious employers to buy or provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices to their employees despite their sincerely-held religious beliefs that prevent them from doing so; (4) whether the Individual Mandate violates the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion Clause by forcing certain individuals to make a monthly payment that directly funds abortion contrary to their sincerely-held religious beliefs that prevent them from doing so; and (5) whether the Fourth Circuit erred when it refused to review the Employer Mandate and its implementing regulations as they existed at the time of the Circuit Court’s review, which included regulatory definitions of preventive care services that Congress determined had to be provided as part of minimum essential health insurance coverage, which include, inter alia, that employers must buy or provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices to their employees.
Issue: Whether an individual retirement account that a debtor has inherited is exempt from the debtor's bankruptcy estate under Section 522 of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. § 522, which exempts "retirement funds to the extent that those funds are in a fund or account that is exempt from taxation" under certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
Issue: Whether the Natural Gas Act, which occupies the field as to matters within its scope, preempts state-law claims challenging industry practices that directly affect the wholesale natural gas market when those claims are asserted by litigants who purchased gas in retail transactions.
Issue: (1) Whether New York Tax Law § 1101(b)(8)(vi), which establishes an effectively irrebuttable evidentiary presumption that out-of-state Internet retailers that have no physical presence in the state – such as petitioners – are instate “vendors” and therefore must collect New York sales and use taxes on all of their sales to New Yorkers, violates the Commerce Clause by imposing tax-collection obligations on out-of-state retailers that have no physical presence in New York; and (2) whether Section 1101(b)(8)(vi) violates the Due Process Clause by adopting an effectively irrebuttable evidentiary presumption that the prerequisites for taxation under the Commerce Clause have been satisfied.
Issue: Whether a business that has no employees or operations in a state is deemed to be physically present, and therefore subject to the state’s taxing power, merely by entering into contractual relationships with residents of the state who are not its legal agents.
Issue: Whether Virginia’s requirement that signatures offered on ballot access petitions be witnessed by Virginia residents is narrowly tailored to furthering Virginia’s compelling interest in policing election fraud through ensuring that the Commonwealth has the resources to confirm the identity, age and felony status of any potential signature witness and has the power to compel a witness’s appearance in the event of an investigation or prosecution.
Issue: (1) Whether the court of appeals erred in denying qualified immunity to Secret Service agents protecting the president by evaluating the claim of viewpoint discrimination at a high level of generality and concluding that pro- and anti-Bush demonstrators needed to be positioned an equal distance from the President while he was dining on the outdoor patio and then while he was travelling by motorcade; and (2) whether respondents have adequately pleaded viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment when no factual allegations support their claim of discriminatory motive and there was an obvious security-based rationale for moving the nearby anti-Bush group and not the farther-away pro-Bush group.
Issue: When, if ever, may a court exercising jurisdiction pursuant to a waiver of sovereign immunity invoke the strict construction canon applicable to such waivers to construe a separate statutory provision that creates the substantive rights at issue.
Issue: Whether, under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), state court adjudications are per se unreasonable and not entitled to deference under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2) merely because the state court does not conduct an evidentiary hearing.
Recommended Citation: Mary Pat Dwyer, Petitions to watch | Conference of November 26, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 19, 2013, 10:04 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/11/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-november-26/