In its “Long Conference” of September 28, 2015, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as whether the standard for liability under a gifting theory should be changed; whether the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) applies outside U.S. borders; and whether the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. federal government are separate sovereigns for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution.

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(s): (1) Whether the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) created a public forum by accepting for display on its property a wide array of controversial political and public-issue ads, including ads that address the same controversial subject matter as petitioners’ pro-Israel ad, and thus violated the First Amendment by rejecting petitioners’ ad based on its content; and (2) regardless of the nature of the forum, whether the MBTA’s rejection of petitioners’ advertisement based on an advertising guideline that prohibits ads considered by MBTA officials to be “demeaning and disparaging” was a viewpoint-based restriction of speech in violation of the First Amendment.


Issue(s): Whether, or to what extent, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) applies extraterritorially.


Issue(s): Whether the court of appeals erroneously departed from this Court's decision in Dirks v. SEC by holding that liability under a gifting theory requires “proof of a meaningfully close personal relationship that generates an exchange that is objective, consequential, and represents at least a potential gain of a pecuniary or similarly valuable nature.”


Issue(s): (1) Whether a plaintiff who lacked Article III standing at the time it filed its complaint may subsequently cure this defect by later acquiring a claim or interest and then amending its complaint to allege its post-filing acquisition; and (2) whether a mutual fund's mandatory SEC disclosures may constitute a “contract” between the fund and its investors sufficient to support a private common-law breach-of-contract action against the fund distinct from other rights of action available under the federal securities laws.


Issue(s): Whether the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the federal government are separate sovereigns for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution.


Issue(s): Whether the False Claims Act's public-disclosure bar applies to an action that is based upon the disclosure of allegations in an administrative audit or investigation if the disclosures were made to individuals with no involvement in the alleged fraud (as the Second Circuit has held) or an appropriate government official (as the Seventh Circuit has held) or, rather, whether a disclosure qualifies as “public” only if it is made to “outsiders” to the audit or investigation (as the Ninth Circuit has held and as the Sixth Circuit held below).

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: John Ehrett, Petitions to watch | Conference of September 28, Part III, SCOTUSblog (Sep. 25, 2015, 3:30 PM),