Petitions We’re Watching

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Petitions We're Watching
Docket Case Page Issue(s)
16-984 A. M. v. Holmes (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit misapplied Hope v. Pelzer by requiring the petitioner to demonstrate an arresting officer's conduct was egregious as opposed to obviously unconstitutional when it affirmed the dismissal of the petitioner's claims of unreasonable seizure on the basis of qualified immunity; (2) whether the 10th Circuit erred in discarding judicial precedent, which provided “fair warning” to an officer of the meaning of the language of a criminal statute after the state legislature employed the same language in a related statute prohibiting the same or similar conduct; and (3) whether the 10th Circuit erred in finding that the purposeless arrest and transportation of a thirteen-year-old to juvenile detention was not obviously unconstitutional given the acknowledged harm that arrests cause to school children and the New Mexico statutory preference for keeping children out of juvenile detention.
16-1009 Aksu v. California What is the standard by which appellate courts review a trial court's holding that a defendant voluntarily consented to a warrantless search for Fourth Amendment purposes.
16-610 Alaska Oil and Gas Association v. Zinke Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's exceedingly permissive standard improperly allows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate huge geographic areas as “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act when much of the designated area fails to meet the statutory criteria.
16-596 Alaska v. Zinke Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's exceedingly permissive standard improperly allows the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services to designate huge geographic areas as “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act when much of the designated area fails to meet the statutory criteria.
15-1345 Ali v. Warfaa Whether a foreign official's common-law immunity for acts performed on behalf of a foreign state is abrogated by plaintiff's allegations that those official acts violated jus cogens norms of international law.
16-334 Bank Melli v. Bennett (1) Whether Section 1610(g) of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act establishes a freestanding exception to sovereign immunity, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held below, or instead merely supersedes First National City Bank v. Banco Para El Comercio Exterior de Cuba’s presumption of separate status while still requiring a plaintiff to satisfy the criteria for overcoming immunity elsewhere in Section 1610, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has held and the United States has repeatedly urged; and (2) whether a court should apply federal or state law to determine whether assets constitute “property of” or “assets of” the sovereign under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and Section 1610(g), and whether those provisions require that the sovereign own the property in question, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has held and the United States has repeatedly urged, contrary to the decision below.
16-967 Bayou Shores SNF, LLC v. Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (1) Whether 42 U.S.C. 405(h), the provision of the Medicare Act that provides that “[n]o action against the United States, the [Secretary of Health and Human Services], or any officer or employee thereof shall be brought under section 1331 or 1346 of Title 28 to recover on any claim [in bankruptcy] arising under this subchapter[,]” bars a district court from exercising jurisdiction over claims arising under the Medicare Act; and (2) whether 42 U.S.C. § 405(h) requires a debtor to exhaust administrative remedies prior to pursuing the relief available to debtors under the Bankruptcy Code.
15-1305 BeavEx Inc. v. Costello Whether the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act preempts generally-applicable state laws that force motor carriers to treat and pay all drivers as “employees” rather than as independent contractors.
16-983 Binderup v. Sessions Whether, as used in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B), the term “punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less” means “capable of being punished by a term of imprisonment of two years or less,” or “subject to a term of imprisonment of two years or less.”
16-1208 Bourne Valley Court Trust v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred in holding that Nevada's statute authorizing nonjudicial foreclosure of association liens, Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 1116.3116 et seq., was facially unconstitutional under the due process clause for not requiring direct notice to junior lienholders, when the only state action involved was the enactment of the statute regulating the private sale.
16-26 Bulk Juliana, Ltd. v. World Fuel Services (Singapore) PTE, Ltd. (1) Whether foreign parties, who have no actual or apparent authority to bind a vessel, can contractually bestow presumptive authority on the time charterer, without the vessel owner's knowledge or involvement, and thereby create a maritime lien that would not otherwise arise without the contract; (2) whether the exercise of in rem jurisdiction premised on the existence of a maritime lien that only exists by virtue of a contractual choice of U.S. law entered into by parties without authority to bind the vessel, and that would not exist in the absence of the contract, violates the axiom that jurisdiction that would not otherwise exist cannot be conferred by the parties' consent; (3) whether a contract between a marine fuel supplier and a time charterer selecting U.S. law as the law governing an entirely foreign transaction, for the purpose of creating a maritime lien that would not arise but for the contract, violates the prescription that two contracting parties cannot encumber the property of a third party; and (4) whether the plain and ordinary meaning of the “General Maritime Law of the United States” includes the statutory remedies afforded by the U.S. maritime lien statutes.
16-790 Butka v. Sessions Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit erred in this case by holding that it had no jurisdiction to review the denial of a motion to reopen by the Board of Immigration Appeals, where the review sought was limited to assessing the legal framework upon which the sua sponte request was made.
16-476 Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association Whether a federal statute that prohibits modification or repeal of state-law prohibitions on private conduct impermissibly commandeers the regulatory power of states in contravention of New York v. United States.
16-911 City of San Gabriel, California v. Flores (1) Whether the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 207(e)(2), allows employers, when calculating the overtime rate, to exclude payments to an employee that are entirely unrelated to “his hours of employment,” as other courts of appeals have held in conflict with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; and (2) whether the 9th Circuit's outlier “willfulness” standard, triggered whenever a non-compliant employer “was on notice of its FLSA requirements” but failed to investigate further, contravenes this court's decision in McLaughlin v. Richland Shoe Company.
15-1439 Cyan v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund Whether state courts lack subject matter jurisdiction over covered class actions that allege only Securities Act of 1933 claims.
16-961 Dalmazzi v. U.S. (1) Whether the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces erred in holding that the petitioner's challenge to Judge Martin T. Mitchell's continued service on the U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, after he was nominated and confirmed to the Article I U.S. Court of Military Commission Review, was moot – because his CMCR commission had not been signed until after the U.S. Air Force CCA decided her case on the merits, even though she moved for reconsideration after the commission was signed; (2) whether Judge Mitchell's service on the CMCR disqualified him from continuing to serve on the AFCCA under 10 U.S.C. § 973(b)(2)(A)(ii), which requires express authorization from Congress before active-duty military officers may hold a “civil office,” including positions that require “an appointment by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate”; and (3) whether Judge Mitchell's simultaneous service on both the CMCR and the AFCCA violated the appointments clause.
16-877 DeCoster v. U.S. (1) Whether the due process clause prohibits the imposition of a term of imprisonment as punishment for a supervisory liability offense, such as the one described in United States v. Park; and (2) whether Park and its precursor, United States v. Dotterweich, should be overruled.
16-706 Detroit Free Press v. Department of Justice Whether the Freedom of Information Act requires disclosure of booking photos of publicly named, federal indictees who have already appeared in open court.
16-876 Doe v. U.S. Whether a federal district court's ancillary jurisdiction in criminal cases includes the power to hear motions to expunge criminal records.
16-830 El-Nahal v. Yassky (1) Whether an individual whose location was tracked by a GPS device placed in his vehicle has Fourth Amendment standing to challenge that tracking if he was not in possession of the vehicle when the GPS tracking device was installed; and (2) whether there is a Fourth Amendment right against the government searching an individual's tracking information to investigate criminal activity without a warrant.
16-673 Gordon v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (1) Whether a federal official may retroactively ratify an ultra vires government action when: (a) no federal official was authorized to perform the act at the time it was initially undertaken; (b) the purported ratification does not include an examination of any facts related to the act performed; or (c) the ratification purports to encompass not only the initial act but also federal court rulings entered in response to the act; and (2) whether federal courts possess subject matter jurisdiction under Article III of the Constitution to hear a case filed at the behest of an individual who, from the time suit was filed until judgment was entered, lacked authority to vindicate the executive branch's interest in seeing that the law is obeyed.
16-860 Hernandez v. Sessions (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred in holding that the causation of bodily injury necessarily establishes that an offense is a “crime of violence” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 16(a), even if the offense does not have as an element the use, attempted use or threatened use of any force; and (2) whether the 9th Circuit erred in holding that the California offense of criminal threats, California Penal Code § 422(a) – which requires a threat of bodily injury but not the use, attempted use or threatened use of any force – is a “crime of violence” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 16(a).
16-903 Hillmann v. City of Chicago (1) Whether a court of appeals has jurisdiction to reach back and decide whether a case should have been tried after there has been a full trial on the merits, if the question presented involves a pure legal conclusion, as four circuits have clearly held, or whether all defenses raised in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 motions must be evaluated in light of the character and quality of the trial evidence, as other circuits have held; and (2) whether a court of appeals' review of denial of judgment as a matter of law after a full trial on the merits can ignore direct and circumstantial evidence, as well as the reasonable inferences drawn from the evidence, that supported the jury's verdict.
16-980 Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute Whether 52 U.S.C. § 20507 permits Ohio's list-maintenance process, which uses a registered voter's voter inactivity as a reason to send a confirmation notice to that voter under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
16-947 Kennedy v. Equity Transportation Company Whether, when the Secretary of Transportation has rejected jurisdiction over interstate activity, the Motor Carrier Act exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act applies.
16-217 Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. Whether the Ninth Circuit erred in concluding that the affirmation of good faith belief that a given use of material use is not authorized “by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law,” required under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), may be purely subjective and, therefore, that an unreasonable belief—such as a belief formed without consideration of the statutory fair use factors—will not subject the sender of a takedown notice to liability under Section 512(f) of the DMCA.
16-6387 Loomis v. Wisconsin (1) Whether it is a violation of a defendant's constitutional right to due process for a trial court to rely on the risk assessment results provided by a proprietary risk assessment instrument such as the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions at sentencing because the proprietary nature of COMPAS prevents a defendant from challenging the accuracy and scientific validity of the risk assessment; and (2) whether it is a violation of a defendant's constitutional right to due process for a trial court to rely on such risk assessment results at sentencing because COMPAS assessments take gender and race into account in formulating the risk assessment.
16-668 Magee v. Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Whether Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 applies only to physical spaces that people can enter.
16-1003 McKnight v. Peterson (1) Whether, viewing the facts from the petitioner's perspective, he acted reasonably, under the Fourth Amendment, in firing in self defense, when an officer in his situation would believe that the suspect was armed, was suspected of a violent crime, refused to show his concealed hand, refused commands, and came at the officer; and (2) whether the petitioner was entitled to qualified immunity, when existing precedent did not clearly establish that the use of deadly force was unlawful under the particular situation faced by the officer, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's analysis contravened the U.S. Supreme Court's explicit directions.
16-810 Nacchio v. U.S. (1) Whether funds forfeited pursuant to a criminal conviction are deductible in cases in which such forfeited funds (in contrast with a simultaneously imposed punitive fine) are earmarked and used to compensate victims of the underlying criminal offense; and (2) whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's holding in this case that such forfeited funds are not deductible conflicts with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit's holding in Stephens v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit's holding in Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. v. United States.
16-999 Negrón v. U.S. Whether lower courts are bound by the rationale of Justice Sotomayor's lone concurrence in Freeman v. United States – with which all other justices in Freeman expressly disagreed – on the theory that it is the “narrowest grounds” of a plurality opinion under Marks v. United States.
16-477 New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association v. National Collegiate Athletic Association Whether a federal statute that prohibits adjustment or repeal of state-law prohibitions on private conduct impermissibly commandeers the regulatory power of states in contravention of New York v. United States and Printz v. United States.
22O147 New Mexico v. Colorado (1) Whether Colorado is liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a), and common law for all costs, including prejudgment interest, incurred by New Mexico in responding to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances from the Gold King Mine, the Sunnyside Mine, or the American Tunnel to the date of judgment; (2) whether Colorado is liable under CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. § 9613(g)(2), and common law, for all response costs that will be incurred by New Mexico in responding to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances from the Gold King Mine, the Sunnyside Mine, or the American Tunnel; (3) whether Colorado is in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's imminent and substantial endangerment provision, 42 U.S.C. § 6972(a)(1)(B), until it ceases the disposal of hazardous substances from the Gold King Mine and the Sunnyside Mine, including, but not limited to, acid wastewater, mine sludge, mine-dump runoff, and metals into the Animas River watershed; (4) whether Colorado has negligently, recklessly and willfully authorized and allowed the discharge of toxic mine waste directly into the Animas River in a manner that has injured and continues to threaten the health, safety, and comfort of downstream New Mexico residents; (5) whether the court should award New Mexico compensatory, consequential, and punitive damages caused by Colorado's negligent, reckless, and willful conduct, including, but not limited to, investigation, clean-up, and remedial costs, economic loss, diminution in value, and stigma damages; (6) whether the court should order Colorado to abate the ongoing public nuisance in the Upper Animas Mining District and the Animas River within Colorado; and (7) whether Colorado is liable for all costs incurred and costs that may be incurred by New Mexico to abate the nuisance in the Animas and San Juan Rivers within New Mexico.
16-1068 Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless v. Husted Whether private parties can sue to enforce 52 U.S.C. § 10101.
16-992 Pavan v. Smith Whether a state violates the 14th Amendment by denying married same-sex couples the same right afforded to married opposite-sex couples under state law to have the name of the birth mother's spouse entered as the second parent on their child's birth certificate.
16-492 PEM Entities LLC v. Levin Whether bankruptcy courts should apply a federal rule of decision (as five circuits have held) or a state law rule of decision (as two circuits have held, expressly acknowledging a split of authority) when deciding to recharacterize a debt claim in bankruptcy as a capital contribution.
16-894 Peruta v. California Whether the Second Amendment entitles ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in some manner, including concealed carry when open carry is forbidden by state law.
16-534 Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran (1) Whether 28 U.S.C. § 1610(g) provides a freestanding attachment immunity exception that allows terror victim judgment creditors to attach and execute upon assets of foreign state sponsors of terrorism regardless of whether assets are otherwise subject to execution under Section 1610; and (2) whether the commercial use exception to execution immunity, codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1610(a), applies to a foreign sovereign's property located in the United States only when the property is used by the foreign state itself.
16-759 Rutgerson v. U.S. (1) Whether a defendant “induce[s]" the assent of another person, within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 2422, where the defendant accepts the request of the other person, who has already assented to the course of conduct prior to and independent of any action by the defendant; and (2) whether the court of appeals correctly applied the harmless-error doctrine to the exclusion of evidence of a government investigation showing the petitioner's lack of interest in sex involving any underage person prior to contact with the government, where the petitioner's lack of predisposition was essential to his entrapment defense.
16-969 SAS Institute Inc. v. Lee Whether 35 U.S.C. § 318(a), which provides that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in an inter partes review “shall issue a final written decision with respect to the patentability of any patent claim challenged by the petitioner,” requires that Board to issue a final written decision as to every claim challenged by the petitioner, or whether it allows that Board to issue a final written decision with respect to the patentability of only some of the patent claims challenged by the petitioner, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held.
16-847 Sessions v. Binderup Whether the petitioners are entitled to relief from the longstanding federal statute prohibiting felons from possessing firearms, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), based on their as-applied Second Amendment claim that their criminal offenses and other particular circumstances do not warrant a firearms disqualification.
16-929 Shakbazyan v. U.S. (1) Whether a criminal defendant's constitutional right against ex post facto punishment is compromised when a United States Sentencing Statute is amended resulting in an increased punishment, with the effective date of the amendment both pre-dating and post-dating the underlying substantive criminal conduct charged in a criminal indictment; and (2) whether district courts should be bound by the “one-book” rule pursuant to United States Sentencing Guidelines §1B1.11, or whether a two-book rule should be adopted so as to not impose a sentence that runs afoul to the United States Constitution and its ex post facto clause, or whether, in the alternative, district courts should apply pre-amendment guidelines to all counts so as to avoid violating the ex post facto clause.
16-952 Singh v. Sessions Whether a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals denying certain forms of relief but remanding to the Immigration Judge for further proceedings is not yet a “final order of removal” for purposes of judicial review.
16-768 Snyder v. Doe Whether retroactively applying a sex-offender-registry law that classifies offenders into tiers based on crime of conviction, requires certain offenders to register for life, requires offenders to report in person periodically and within days of certain changes to registry information, and restricts offenders' activities within school zones imposes “punishment” in violation of the ex post facto clause.
15-1223 Southwest Securities v. Segner Whether, under Section 506(c) of the Bankruptcy Code, which authorizes the trustee to “recover from property securing an allowed secured claim the reasonable, necessary costs and expenses of preserving, or disposing of such property to the extent of any benefit to the holder of such claim[,]” secured creditors are obliged to shoulder the trustee's maintenance costs when retaining encumbered property in the hope of benefiting other creditors for the period a trustee abandons encumbered property. CVSG: 4/24/2017.
16-814 Sterling v. U.S. Whether the existence of a forced choice between what religion and government command is necessary to establish a “substantial burden” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
16-906 Tilton v. Securities and Exchange Commission (1) Whether Congress authorized federal district court jurisdiction over appointments clause challenges to Securities and Exchange Commission administrative law judges; and (2) whether SEC ALJs are inferior officers within the meaning of the appointments clause.
16-130 U.S. ex rel. Advocates for Basic Legal Equality v. U.S. Bank, N.A. Whether, under the public disclosure bar of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A), which prohibits qui tam actions when “substantially the same allegations or transactions” have been publicly disclosed, unless the qui tam plaintiff is an original source of the information, a qui tam action may proceed where it is based on specific allegations of fraud that were not the subject of prior public disclosures and that add substantial material information to the public disclosures, and when the publicly disclosed allegations “encompass” the qui tam allegations only if both sets of allegations are characterized at a very high level of generality. CVSG: 4/14/2017.
15-1464 Warfaa v. Ali Whether a claim against an individual defendant who committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international law abroad touches and concerns the United States such that the Alien Tort Statute that confers federal jurisdiction over the claim where that defendant sought safe haven in the United States, obtained lawful permanent residency in the United States, and continues to reside in the United States, availing himself of the benefits and privileges associated with living in the United States.
16-845 Welch v. Brown (1) Whether a state may bar ministers from inculcating or encouraging certain religious values in youth, when those ministers are also licensed by the state as mental health providers; (2) whether repeated references by a legislature to religious motivations, prayer, spiritual interventions, and religious conversion as a cause for governmental concern are of no religion clause significance, so long as the legislature identifies an additional secular concern; (3) whether facial neutrality shields from strict scrutiny a regulation that directly or indirectly restricts religious practices; and (4) whether minors' rights to privacy, autonomy and self-definition are violated by a state's determination that they may only seek to reduce same-sex attraction on their own or with the assistance of unlicensed individuals, and they may not seek professional help to do so.
16-898 Werner v. Wall Whether state prison officials are entitled to immunity from suit for incarcerating sex offenders beyond their mandatory release date when they cannot find suitable permanent housing through no fault of their own.
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Awards