(Update: Because of the ceremony at the Court in honor of the late Justice Antonin Scalia on Friday, the Justices will not hold their February 19 Conference that day.)

In its Conference of February 19, 2016, the Court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether and to what extent public schools, consistent with the First Amendment, may discipline students for their off-campus speech; whether the determination that aggravating circumstances outweigh mitigating circumstances must be made by a unanimous jury; and whether vertical conduct by a disruptive market entrant, aimed at securing suppliers for a new retail platform, should be condemned as per se illegal under Section 1 of the Sherman 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.

15-680

Issue: (1) Whether the court below erred in holding that race cannot predominate even where it is the most important consideration in drawing a given district unless the use of race results in “actual conflict” with traditional districting criteria; (2) whether the court below erred by concluding that the admitted use of a one-size-fits-all 55% black voting age population floor to draw twelve separate House of Delegates districts did not amount to racial predominance and trigger strict scrutiny; (3) whether the court below erred in disregarding the admitted use of race in drawing district lines in favor of examining circumstantial evidence regarding the contours of the districts; (4) whether the court below erred in holding that racial goals must negate all other districting criteria in order for race to predominate; and (5) whether the court below erred in concluding that the General Assembly's predominant use of race in drawing House District 75 was narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.

15-666

Issue: Whether and to what extent public schools, consistent with the First Amendment, may discipline students for their off-campus speech.

15-649

Issue: Whether a bankruptcy court may authorize the distribution of settlement proceeds in a manner that violates the statutory priority scheme. CVSG: 05/23/2016.

15-599

Issue: Whether the Third Circuit erred by deferring to EPA’s interpretation of the words “total maximum daily load” to permit EPA to impose a complex regulatory scheme that does much more than cap daily levels of total pollutant loading and that displaces powers reserved to the states.

15-597

Issue: Whether the Sixth Circuit erred in concluding, in conflict with the decisions of seven other circuits, that statutory limitations periods applicable to the claims of absent and unknown persons can be extended indefinitely by filing successive (or “stacked”) class actions.

15-574

Issue: Whether the Social Security Act’s anti-assignment provision bars a state court from considering in any manner future Social Security payments in dividing marital property upon divorce.

15-565

Issue: Whether vertical conduct by a disruptive market entrant, aimed at securing suppliers for a new retail platform, should be condemned as per se illegal under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, rather than analyzed under the rule of reason, because such vertical activity also had the alleged effect of facilitating horizontal collusion among the suppliers.

15-549

Issue: Whether a court may certify a class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) where the plaintiff fails to make any showing of a reliable and administratively feasible means for ascertaining class membership.

15-533

Issue: Whether the determination that aggravating circumstances outweigh mitigating circumstances must be made by a unanimous jury, beyond a reasonable doubt.

15-511

Issue: (1) Whether the one-year statute of limitations for seeking relief under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act begins to run when the offending debt collection suit is first filed, or when it is served; and (2) whether this Court should resolve the split of authority among the circuit courts of appeals and the federal district courts about whether the one-year statute of limitations for seeking relief under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act begins to run when the offending debt collection suit is first filed, or when it is served.

15-507

Issue: (1) Whether protecting favored groups from economic competition is a legitimate government interest under the Fourteenth Amendment; and (2) whether, in a case challenging economic regulation under the Fourteenth Amendment, a plaintiff can defeat a motion for summary judgment by introducing evidence showing that there is no plausible connection between the challenged regulation and the government's asserted ends.

15-276

Issue: Whether the Kansas Supreme Court misinterpreted and improperly expanded the Supreme Court's decisions in Graham v. Florida and Miller v. Alabama when it extended those decisions to a sentence that does not involve life imprisonment, holding that the Eighth Amendment categorically bars a sentence of mandatory lifetime postrelease supervision (i.e., non-incarceration) for juveniles convicted of serious sex offenses.

 

Relists

14-10008

Issue: (1) Whether the Louisiana courts erred in failing to find that the State’s failure to disclose exculpatory evidence violated its obligation under Brady v. Maryland and that this failure prejudiced the defense; and (2) whether the Louisiana courts erred in failing to find that petitioner’s sole attorney provided ineffective representation at the guilt phase of trial under Strickland v. Washington.

14-10078

Issue: (1) Whether a stun gun is an “arm” within the meaning of the Second Amendment, and (2) whether Massachusetts’s blanket prohibition on the possession of stun guns infringes the right of the people to keep and bear arms in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

14-10186

Issue: Whether the Fourth Circuit erred in affirming the denial of relief on the inmate petitioner's complaint alleging that the prison discriminated against him in violation of the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act by refusing to permit him to organize a Jewish Bible study group.

15-169

Issue: (1) Whether the Ninth Circuit’s judgment in this case should be granted, vacated, and remanded in light of Horne v. Department of Agriculture, and (2) whether the California Unclaimed Property Law violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it deprives owners of their property without affording constitutionally adequate notice.

15-195

Issue: (1) Whether the communication, discussion, and information provided by licensed mental health counselors or doctors during counseling or other professional services with their clients or patients constitutes speech protected by the First Amendment; (2) whether a law permitting licensed mental health professionals and doctors to provide counseling concerning the subject of same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity but only if such counseling does not include the content and viewpoint that a minor may reduce or eliminate his unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity is a content-based restriction of speech subject to strict scrutiny under the firm rule handed down by this Court last term in Reed v. Town of Gilbert; and (3) whether a law that prohibits parents and minors from seeking and receiving licensed professional counseling consistent with their sincerely held religious convictions violates the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of the children.

15-478

Issue: Whether the Second Circuit erred in impeding, and discriminating against, foreign investment by treating foreign income taxes not as taxes, but as expenses, in determining entitlement to the foreign tax credit.

15-580

Issue: (1) Whether, when a state court's decision on a prisoner's constitutional claim contains both reasoning substantively rejecting the claim and reasoning procedurally rejecting the claim, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act section 2254(d)’s standards apply to the claim; and (2) whether, if a lower court in the state proceedings rejects a state prisoner's claim “on the merits,” § 2254(d)’s standards nevertheless fall away whenever a higher court in the state proceedings rejects the claim on procedural grounds without addressing the claim substantively.

15-584

Issue: (1) Whether King County 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 subject matter as petitioners’ anti-terrorism ad, and thus violated the First Amendment by rejecting Petitioners’ ad based on its message; (2) regardless of the nature of the forum, whether King County’s rejection of petitioners’ advertisement based on a claim that this public-issue ad was false or misleading violates the First Amendment; and (3) whether petitioners must demonstrate that there are no alternative ways to express their public-issue message in order for the court to find irreparable harm based on King County’s rejection of their ad.

15-648

Issue: Whether the Full Faith and Credit Clause permits a court to deny recognition to an adoption judgment previously issued by a court from a sister state, based on the forum court’s de novo determination that the issuing court erred in applying its own state’s adoption law.

 

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: John Ehrett, Petitions to watch | Conference of February 19 (Updated), SCOTUSblog (Feb. 17, 2016, 10:28 AM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-february-19/