Yesterday the Supreme Court released the calendar for its October 2016 sitting. The calendar is noteworthy in two respects. First, the Justices will hear oral arguments on only three of the six weekdays of the sitting, because a federal holiday – Columbus Day (October 10) – and two Jewish high holidays — Rosh Hashanah (October 3) and Yom Kippur (October 12) – fall during the sitting. On October 3, the Justices will take the bench but will not hear oral arguments, although they may (for example) admit new lawyers to the Court’s bar. Second, on two of the three oral argument days, the Justices will also hear oral arguments in the afternoon – a relatively rare occurrence that is likely intended to compensate for the days on which oral arguments are not scheduled.
On October 4, the Justices will hear the first oral argument of the new Term, in Bravo-Fernandez v. United States. At issue in the bribery and corruption case out of Puerto Rico is whether and when a defendant can be retried when the jury initially reached a “split” verdict – in which a criminal defendant is found guilty of some charges but acquitted of others – but the convictions are overturned. In the second oral argument that day, Shaw v. United States, the Court will consider whether a federal law prohibiting bank fraud requires proof of both a specific intent to deceive a bank and an intent to cheat the bank.
On October 5, the Justices will hear oral arguments in three cases. In Salman v. United States, the question before the Court is what prosecutors must prove to show the “personal benefit” needed to establish liability for insider trading. In Buck v. Davis, the Court will consider a Texas death row inmate’s claim that the lawyer who represented him at trial violated his constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel when he presented expert testimony from a psychologist, who told the jury that Buck was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is black. After a lunch break, the Justices will return for oral arguments in Manuel v. City of Joliet, the case of an Illinois man who is seeking to file a malicious prosecution claim in federal court after he was arrested and kept in jail for forty-eight days based on a falsified drug test.
The Court will hold oral arguments in three more cases on October 11. First up is Samsung Electronics v. Apple, Inc., a case arising out of Apple’s allegation that Samsung’s smartphones infringed its patents for the design of its iPhones. The question before the Justices is what portion of Samsung’s profits should be awarded to Apple to compensate for the infringement. In the second case of the day, Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, the Court will consider whether a rule that bars lawyers from questioning jurors after a trial about possible racial bias during deliberations violates a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury. And in Manrique v. United States, the issue is whether a notice of appeal by a Florida man who was sentenced to jail time and ordered to pay restitution was enough to challenge the restitution later, when the amount of the restitution had not yet been set.
[Disclosures: Vinson & Elkins LLP, whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel on an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in Bravo-Fernandez, while Goldstein & Russell, P.C., is among the counsel to the petitioners in Samsung. However, I am not affiliated with either firm.]