Editor's Note :

Editor's Note :

We expect additional orders from the December 2 conference on Monday at 9:30 a.m. There is a possibility of opinions on Tuesday.
On Monday the court hears oral arguments in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris. Amy Howe has our preview.

McDonnell v. United States

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
15-474 4th Cir. Apr 27, 2016
Tr.Aud.
Jun 27, 2016 8-0 Roberts OT 2015

Holding: The federal bribery statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201, makes it a crime for a public official to “receive or accept anything of value” in exchange for being “influenced in the performance of any official act.” An "official act" is a decision or action on a "question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy"; that question or matter must involve a formal exercise of governmental power, and must also be something specific and focused that is "pending" or "may by law be brought" before a public official. To qualify as an "official act," the public official must make a decision to take an action on that question or matter, or agree to do so. Setting up a meeting, talking to another official, or organizing an event -- without more -- does not fit that definition of "official act." Because jury instructions in the case of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell were erroneous, and those errors are not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, McDonnell's convictions are vacated.

Judgment: Vacated and remanded, 8-0, in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts on June 27, 2016.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

DateProceedings and Orders
Aug 20 2015Application (15A218) for a stay of the mandate, or in the alternative for release on bail pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari, submitted to The Chief Justice.
Aug 24 2015Upon consideration of the application of counsel for the applicant, it is ordered that a response to the application be filed on or before Wednesday, August 26, 2015, by 4 p.m. It is further ordered that the issuance of the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in case No. 15-4019 is hereby stayed pending consideration of the response and further order of The Chief Justice or of the Court.
Aug 26 2015Response to application from respondent United States filed.
Aug 27 2015Reply of applicant Robert F. McDonnell filed.
Aug 31 2015Application (15A218) referred to the Court.
Aug 31 2015Application (15A218) granted by the Court. The application for stay of the mandate presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is granted, and the issuance of the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in case No. 15-4019 is stayed pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari. Should the petition for a writ of certiorari be denied, this stay shall terminate automatically. In the event the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the stay shall terminate upon the issuance of the judgment of this Court.
Oct 13 2015Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due November 16, 2015)
Oct 16 2015Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for the responhdent.
Oct 16 2015Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for the petitioner.
Nov 12 2015Order extending time to file response to petition to and including December 8, 2015.
Nov 13 2015Brief amicus curiae of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amicus curiae of Republican Governors Public Policy Committee filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amici curiae of Former Federal Officials filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amicus curiae of American Center for Law and Justice filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amici curiae of Public Policy Advocates and Business Leaders filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amici curiae of Law Professors filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amici curiae of Former Attorneys General filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amici curiae of 60 Former State Attorneys General (non - Virginian) filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amici curiae of Virginia Law Professors filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amici curiae of Members of the Virginia General Assembly filed.
Nov 16 2015Brief amici curiae of Benjamin Todd Jealous, et al. filed.
Dec 8 2015Brief of respondent United States in opposition filed.
Dec 21 2015Reply of petitioner Robert F. McDonnell filed.
Dec 22 2015DISTRIBUTED for Conference of January 8, 2016.
Jan 11 2016DISTRIBUTED for Conference of January 15, 2016.
Jan 15 2016Petition GRANTED limited to Question 1 presented by the petition.
Feb 10 2016Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for the petitioner.
Feb 12 2016Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs in support of either party or of neither party received from counsel for the respondent.
Feb 24 2016Motion to deem the Court of Appeals joint appendix and supplemental appendix as the joint appendix in this Court filed by petitioner Robert F. McDonnell.
Feb 24 2016Supplemental joint appendix filed. (Statement of costs filed)
Feb 29 2016Brief of petitioner Robert F. McDonnell filed.
Mar 4 2016SET FOR ARGUMENT ON Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Mar 7 2016Motion to deem the Court of Appeals joint appendix and supplemental appendix as the joint appendix in this Court GRANTED.
Mar 7 2016Brief amicus curiae of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amici curiae of Former Virginia Attorneys General filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amici curiae of Former Federal Officials filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amicus curiae of American Center for Law and Justice filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amici curiae of U.S. Justice Foundation, et al. filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amici curiae of Public Policy Advocates and Business Leaders filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amicus curiae of Republican Governors Public Policy Committee filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amici curiae of 77 Former State Attorneys General (non - Virginian) filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amicus curiae of James Madison Center for Free Speech filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amici curiae of Law Professors filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amici curiae of Benjamin Todd Jealous, Dolores McQuinn, and Algie T. Howell filed.
Mar 7 2016Joint appendix consisting of 12 volumes of appendices filed in the U.S.Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amici curiae of Members of the Virginia General Assembly filed.
Mar 7 2016Brief amici curiae of Virginia Law Professors filed.
Mar 14 2016Record requested from the U.S.C.A. 4th Circuit.
Mar 15 2016CIRCULATED.
Mar 17 2016Record received from U.S.C.A. 4th Circuit is electronic and located on PACER. SEALED record is electronic.
Mar 23 2016Record received from U.S.D.C. Eastern District of Virginia is electronic and located on PACER. SEALED record is electronic.
Mar 30 2016Brief of respondent United States filed. (Distributed)
Apr 6 2016Brief amicus curiae of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed. (Distributed)
Apr 6 2016Brief amicus curiae of Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law filed. (Distributed)
Apr 6 2016Brief amici curiae of Judicial Watch, Inc. and Allied Educational Foundation filed. (Distributed)
Apr 6 2016Brief amici curiae of Public Citizen, Inc., and Democracy 21 filed. (Distributed)
Apr 6 2016Brief amicus curiae of Campaign Legal Center filed. (Distributed)
Apr 13 2016Reply of petitioner Robert F. McDonnell filed. (Distributed)
Apr 27 2016Argued. For petitioner: Noel J. Francisco, Washington, D. C. For respondent: Michael R. Dreeben, Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, Washington, D. C.
Jun 27 2016Judgment VACATED and case REMANDED. Roberts, C. J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
Jul 29 2016JUDGMENT ISSUED
Aug 19 2016Record from U.S.D.C. Eastern District of Virginia has been returned.
 
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