In its conference of February 16, 2018, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether the death penalty in and of itself violates the Eighth Amendment, in light of contemporary standards of decency; whether Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co. and Auer v. Robbins should be overruled; and whether, in deadly force shooting cases, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit erred by requiring that the jury must be instructed regarding the specific legal justifications for the use of deadly force, and that the usual less specific instructions regarding the use of excessive force are not adequate, when such a requirement is in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision in Scott v. Harris and subsequent decisions, which abrogated the use of special standards in deadly force cases and established “reasonableness” as the ultimate and only inquiry.

17-515

Issue: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s decision in M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, thus creating a conflict with the decisions of other circuits and within the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit itself, by employing rules of contract interpretation explicitly repudiated in Tackett to deem a general duration clause in the collective bargaining agreement ambiguous, and then using extrinsic evidence to hold the healthcare benefits of the retiree class vested for life.

17-654

Issue: Whether, pursuant to United States v. Munsingwear, Inc., the Supreme Court should vacate the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s judgment and instruct that court to remand the case to the district court with directions to dismiss all claims for prospective relief regarding pregnant unaccompanied minors.

17-251

Issues: (1) Whether Arizona’s capital sentencing scheme, which includes so many aggravating circumstances that virtually every defendant convicted of first-degree murder is eligible for death, violates the Eighth Amendment; and (2) whether the death penalty in and of itself violates the Eighth Amendment, in light of contemporary standards of decency.

17-467

Issues: (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred in holding that Andrew Kisela, the police officer who found Amy Hughes walking down her driveway toward another woman while carrying a large kitchen knife, acted unreasonably when he shot and wounded Hughes after she ignored commands to drop the knife given Kisela’s well-founded belief that potentially lethal force was necessary to protect the other woman from an attack that could have serious or deadly consequences; and (2) whether the lower court erred—to the point of warranting summary reversal—in refusing qualified immunity in the absence of any precedent finding a Fourth Amendment violation based on similar facts and, indeed, ignoring a case with remarkably similar facts that found no constitutional violation.

17-587

Issue: Whether, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the same 20-employee minimum that applies to private employers also applies to political subdivisions of a state, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th Circuits have held, or whether the ADEA applies instead to all state political subdivisions of any size, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held in this case.

17-340

Issues: (1) Whether a dispute over applicability of the Federal Arbitration Act’s Section 1 exemption is an arbitrability issue that must be resolved in arbitration pursuant to a valid delegation clause; and (2) whether the FAA’s Section 1 exemption, which applies on its face only to “contracts of employment,” is inapplicable to independent contractor agreements.

17-5165

Issue: Whether Richardson v. United States precludes a double jeopardy appeal based on evidentiary insufficiency when the jury returns a guilty verdict that is set aside for a new trial.

16-9604

Issue: Whether Missouri’s second-degree burglary statute is divisible into two offenses with separate elements for the purpose of analyzing whether a conviction under that statute qualifies as a conviction for a “violent felony” as defined in the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii).

17-552

Issues: (1) Whether, in deadly force shooting cases, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit erred by requiring that the jury must be instructed regarding the specific legal justifications for the use of deadly force, and that the usual less specific instructions regarding the use of excessive force are not adequate, when such a requirement is in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision in Scott v. Harris and subsequent decisions, which abrogated the use of special standards in deadly force cases and established “reasonableness” as the ultimate and only inquiry; and (2) whether, in light of the direct conflict with several of its sister circuits, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit’s requirement that a jury must be instructed regarding the specific legal justifications for the use of deadly force creates an uncertainty preventing law enforcement officers from having adequate fair notice of what conduct is proscribed or constitutionally permissible, thereby further hampering the application of qualified immunity at the earliest stage of a case.

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Aurora Barnes, Petitions to watch | Conference of February 16, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 9, 2018, 11:05 AM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2018/02/petitions-watch-conference-february-16/