Petitions We’re Watching

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Petitions Relisted for the Next Conference

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
14-848 Maryland v. Kulbicki Whether an appellate court violates the core principles of Strickland v. Washington when it conducts a post- hoc assessment of trial counsel’s performance based on scientific advances not available at the time of trial.
14-997 Currier v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (1) Whether the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires Mississippi to exempt physicians at the State's only abortion clinic from complying with a medically legitimate health and safety regulation that applies to physicians at all other outpatient surgical facilities; and (2) whether Mississippi House Bill 1390, which requires that abortion physicians have admitting privileges at a local hospital to handle complications that require emergency hospitalization, imposes an undue burden under Planned Parenthood v. Casey regardless of the geographical availability of abortion services in adjoining states in light of the equal protection principle articulated in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada.
14-1143 Mullenix v. Luna (1) Whether, when viewing the facts from the perspective of an officer who fired his service rifle at a vehicle involved in a high-speed chase, the officer acted reasonably under the Fourth Amendment when an officer in his situation would believe that the suspect posed a risk of serious harm to other officers or members of the public; and (2) whether the law clearly established that this use of potentially deadly force was unlawful when existing precedent did not address the use of force against a fleeing suspect who had explicitly threatened to shoot police officers.

Petitions for Conference of 09.28.2015

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
15-58 City of Los Angeles v. Contreras (1) Whether the Fourth Amendment's reasonableness standard requires that a suspect threaten a police officer with a weapon before the police officer can use deadly force to apprehend the suspect, or whether Tennessee v. Garner allows a police officer to use deadly force to prevent the suspect's escape if based on the totality of the circumstances, the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm to the officer or others, and where feasible some warning has been given; (2) whether Tennessee v. Garner defeats a police officer's entitlement to qualified immunity by providing fair and clear warning that it is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment for a police officer to use deadly force to apprehend a fleeing suspect where the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect has just committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, if after the shooting it is discovered the suspect was unarmed.
15-50 Henry v. Louisiana Whether Louisiana's per se ban on the introduction of eyewitness identification expert testimony violates the Due Process, Confrontation, and Compulsory Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
15-46 Davis v. Abbott (1) Under what circumstances are plaintiffs who obtain preliminary relief in cases that do not proceed to final judgment prevailing parties eligible for an award of attorneys’ fees; (2) whether the simplicity of a legal claim is a factor relevant only to the amount of fees awarded as the Third and Tenth Circuits have held and as this Court and others have suggested, or whether “simple” legal claims, otherwise made eligible for fees by Congress, involve insufficient “merits” analysis to trigger prevailing party status, as the Fifth Circuit held.
15-8 Applied Underwriters v. Arrow Recycling Solutions Whether a generic choice-of-law provision in an otherwise broad arbitration agreement, one that does not reference a particular State, should be read to reflect intent by the parties to avoid preemption under the Federal Arbitration Act and instead to apply a rule of that State that limits or bars arbitration of an otherwise covered dispute despite the strong preference for enforcement of arbitration provisions as expressed in the Federal Arbitration Act.
14-1504 Wittman v. Personhuballah (1) Whether the court below erred in failing to make the required finding that race rather than politics predominated in District 3, where there is no dispute that politics explains the Enacted Plan; (2) whether the court below erred in relieving Plaintiffs of their burden to show an alternative plan that achieves the General Assembly's political goals, is comparably consistent with traditional districting principles, and brings about greater racial balance than the Enacted Plan; (3) whether, regardless of any other error, the court below's finding of a Shaw violation was based on clearly erroneous fact-finding; (4) whether the majority erred in holding that the Enacted Plan fails strict scrutiny because it increased District 3's black voting-age population percentage above the benchmark percentage, when the undisputed evidence establishes that the increase better complies with neutral principles than would reducing the percentage and no racial bloc voting analysis would support a reduction capable of realistically securing Section 5 preclearance.
14-1455 Fred Martin Motor Co. v. Spitzer Autoworld Akron, LLC Whether, by reopening the final order of a federal bankruptcy court and permitting a private arbitrator to reverse it, Section 747 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 is unconstitutional.
14-1136 Nestle Purina PetCare Company v. Curts Whether, under the All Writs Act and the Anti-Injunction Act, a district court's injunction to enjoin parallel state litigation pending final approval of a comprehensive settlement of a complex case can ever be “necessary in aid of its jurisdiction.”
13-1559 Corr v. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (1) Whether, as the United States implicitly conceded below, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) exercises sufficient federal power to mandate separation-of-powers scrutiny for purposes of a suit seeking injunctive relief and invoking the Little Tucker Act to seek monetary relief; and (2) whether the Metropolitan Washington Airports Act of 1986, 49 U.S.C. §§ 49101 et seq., which transferred to MWAA all of the federal government's “rights, liabilities, and obligations” concerning, inter alia, Dulles Airport and its “access highways and other related facilities,” violates the separation of powers, including the Executive Vesting, Appointments, and Take Care Clauses of Article II, by depriving the president of control over MWAA, an entity exercising – as the United States admits – executive branch functions pursuant to federal law. CVSG: 05/22/2015.

Petitions Not Set for Conference

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
15-233 Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust Whether Chapter 9 of the federal Bankruptcy Code, which does not apply to Puerto Rico, nonetheless preempts a Puerto Rico statute creating a mechanism for the Commonwealth's public utilities to restructure their debts.
15-108 Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle 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.
15-105 Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell (1) Whether the availability of a regulatory method for nonprofit religious employers to comply with HHS's contraceptive mandate eliminates either the substantial burden on religious exercise or the violation of RFRA that this Court recognized in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.; (2) whether HHS can satisfy RFRA's demanding test for overriding sincerely held religious objections in circumstances where HHS itself insists that overriding the religious objection will not fulfill HHS's regulatory objective - namely, the provision of no-cost contraceptives to the objector's employees; and (3) whether the First Amendment allows HHS to discriminate among nonprofit religious employers who share the same sincere religious objections to the contraceptive mandate by exempting some religious employers while insisting that others comply.
15-66 United Refining Co. v. Cottillion (1) Whether, as the Third Circuit held below and the Sixth Circuit also has ruled, ERISA § 1054(g)'s prohibition on a plan “amendment” can include an administrator's interpretation of the terms of a legitimate plan provision - or whether, as the D.C., Seventh, and Ninth Circuits have held, a plan “amendment” under §1054(g) refers only to changes an employer makes to plan language; and (2) whether the administrator's new interpretation of the plan was reasonable, subject to deference under Conkright v. Frommert, and not grounds for a claim under either § 1054(g) or § 1132(a)(1)(B) that it denied participants benefits due under the terms of the plan.
15-65 Lizcano v. Texas Whether Texas's standard for determining if a capital defendant meets the second prong of the definition of intellectual disability (“deficits in adaptive functioning”) violates the Eighth Amendment in light of Atkins v. Virginia and Hall v. Florida.
15-41 W.L. Gore & Associates v. Bard Peripheral Vascular Whether 35 U.S.C. § 261 requires that a grant or conveyance of an exclusive patent license be in writing.
15-28 Listecki v. Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (1) Whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act shields religious exercise from burdensome applications of federal law only in litigation against the government, and - even if it does - whether statutorily appointed officers carrying out federal-law duties act “under color of law"; (2) whether the Bankruptcy Code's protection of creditors is a compelling governmental interest.
15-27 Utah v. U.S. Whether, to invoke a district court's jurisdiction under the Quiet Title Act to adjudicate the merits of a quiet title action, a State must establish facts that show affirmative action by the United States that demonstrates its claim to title in the property, or alternatively whether a State can rely on facts that raise a cloud on the State's title?
15-10 Loden v. Fisher Whether a capital defendant's decision not to introduce an inadequate mitigation defense at sentencing automatically defeats a claim that counsel's failure to prepare that defense deprived the defendant of his right to effective assistance of counsel.
15-5 Nevada v. Torres (1) Whether, after lawfully obtaining a suspect's ID to verify his age, briefly retaining and running the ID through dispatch to check its validity and for warrants transforms an otherwise lawful encounter into an unlawful seizure under the Fourth Amendment; (2) whether evidence seized incident to a lawful arrest based on an outstanding warrant should be suppressed because the warrant was discovered during an investigatory stop, part of which was later found unlawful.
14-1531 Cowser-Griffin v. Griffin Whether ERISA permits a state court to retroactively reassign plan benefits after the plan participant's death when the participant directed that the benefits would go to his spouse and when the plan documents directed that the benefits would go to the spouse absent the spouse's consent to reassignment.
14-1516 Duncan v. Owens Whether the Seventh Circuit violated 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and a long line of this Court's decisions by awarding habeas relief in the absence of clearly established precedent from this Court.
14-1495 Adame v. Lynch Whether, in a case seeking judicial review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' or an immigration judge's disposition of an application for cancellation of removal, a court of appeals has jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D) to review mixed questions of law and fact?
14-1458 MHN Government Services v. Zaborowski Whether California's arbitration-only severability rule is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.
14-1177 Oklahoma v. Hobia Whether Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community requires the dismissal of a state’s suit to prevent tribal officers from conducting gaming that would be unlawful under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and a state-tribal compact when (1) the suit for declaratory and injunctive relief has been brought against tribal officials - not the tribe; (2) the gaming will occur in Indian country, on the land of another tribe; and (3) the state-tribal compact's arbitration provision does not require arbitration before filing suit.
14-1153 LaChance v. Massachusetts Whether a defendant asserting ineffective assistance under Strickland v. Washington based upon counsel's failure to raise a structural error must – in addition to demonstrating deficient performance – show that he was prejudiced by counsel's ineffectiveness, or whether prejudice is presumed because the harm from structural errors is “necessarily unquantifiable and indeterminate,” Sullivan v. Louisiana.

Calls for the Views of the Solicitor General

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
22o144 Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado (1) Whether the Court will grant Nebraska and Oklahoma leave to file an original action to seek a declaratory judgment stating that Sections 16(4) and (5) of Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution are preempted by federal law, and therefore unconstitutional and unenforceable under the Supremacy Clause, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution; (2) whether Colorado should be enjoined from any and all application and implementation of Sections 16(4) and (5) of Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution; (3) whether Colorado should be enjoined from any and all application and implementation of statutes or regulations promulgated pursuant to Sections 16(4) and (5) of Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution; and (4) whether Colorado should be ordered to pay the plaintiff states’ costs and expenses associated with this legal action, including attorneys’ fees.
14-1168 Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan Whether ERISA’s special venue provision, § 1132(e)(2), and a plaintiff’s choice of venue under that provision, may be abrogated by a more restrictive venue-selection clause in an ERISA plan.
14-770 Bank Markazi v. Peterson Whether 22 U.S.C. § 8772 – a statute that effectively directs a particular result in a single pending case – violates the separation of powers.
14-694 Fiordaliso v. PPL EnergyPlus, LLC Whether, where, as part of a state-directed procurement, the resulting contract between local utilities and a power plant developer provides for a payment to the power plant developer based on the differential between the developer's competitive bid to build a new power plant and the amount the developer receives from capacity sales in the auction supervised by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and where the contract does not involve any actual sale of capacity, the contract is “field preempted” as an attempt by the state to set interstate electric rates.
14-634 CPV Power Development v. PPL EnergyPlus, LLC Whether, where, as a result of a state-directed procurement, the contract price to build and operate a power plant is the developer's bid price, and may result in payments beyond what the developer earns selling the plant's capacity in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)-supervised auction, the program is “field preempted” as a state's attempt to set interstate wholesale rates.
14-623 CPV Maryland, LLC v. PPL EnergyPlus, LLC (1) Whether, where, as a result of a state-directed procurement, the contract price to build and operate a power plant is the developer’s bid price, and may result in payments beyond what the developer earns selling the plant’s capacity in the auction supervised by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the program is “field preempted” as a state’s attempt to set interstate wholesale rates; and (2) whether a state-directed contract to support construction of a power plant is “conflict preempted” because its long-term pricing structure provides incentives different from the incentives provided by prices generated in the FERC-supervised yearly capacity auction.
14-614 Nazarian v. PPL EnergyPlus, LLC (1) Whether, when a seller offers to build generation and sell wholesale power on a fixed-rate contract basis, the Federal Power Act field-preempts a state order directing retail utilities to enter into the contract; and (2) whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s acceptance of an annual regional capacity auction preempts states from requiring retail utilities to contract at fixed rates with sellers who are willing to commit to sell into the auction on a long-term basis.

Petitions Held for Another Conference

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