October Term 2008

View this list sorted by case name.

October Sitting

Kennedy v. Plan Administrator for Dupont Savings, No. 07-636 [Arg: 10.07.08 Trans.; Decided 01.26.2009]

Holding: Whether ERISA’s Qualified Domestic Relations Order provision is the only valid way a divorcing spouse can waive her right to receive her ex-husband’s pension benefits under ERISA.
Locke v. Karass, No. 07-610 [Arg: 10.6.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.21.2009]

Holding: Whether a public sector union may include in non-members’ agency fees costs for litigation outside the bargaining unit.
Vaden v. Discover Bank, No. 07-773 [Arg: 10.06.2008 Trans.; Decided 03.09.2009]

Holding: Whether, under the Federal Arbitration Act, a suit seeking to enforce a state-law arbitration obligation arises under federal law if the petition to compel itself raises no federal question but the dispute sought to be arbitrated involves federal law.
Altria Group v. Good, No. 07-562 [Arg: 10.06.2008 Trans.; Decided 12.15.2008]

Holding: Whether the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act preempts state law deceptive practice claims in connection with the advertising of cigarettes as “light” or containing “lower tar and nicotine.”
Herring v. U.S., No. 07-513 [Arg: 10.07.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.14.2009]

Holding: Whether the exclusionary rule should apply to evidence seized incident to an arrest unlawful under the Fourth Amendment due to erroneous information negligently provided by another law enforcement agency.
Arizona v. Gant, No. 07-542 [Arg: 10.07.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.21.2009]

Holding: Whether, under New York v. Belton (1981), police may conduct a warrantless search of a car if its recently arrested occupant poses no threat to officer safety or preservation of evidence.
Summers v. Earth Island Institute, No. 07-463 [Arg: 10.08.2008 Trans.; Decided 03.03.2009]

Holding: Whether a group of environmental organizations had established standing to contest a series of Forest Service regulations, and whether the challenge was ripe for review under the APA.
Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, No. 07-1239 [Arg: 10.08.2008 Trans.; Decided 11.12.2008]

Holding: Whether courts below properly enjoined the Navy's use of sonar during certain training exercises for failure to conduct an environmental impact statement over a finding of emergency circumstances by the Council on Environmental Quality.
Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville, No. 06-1595 [Arg: 10.08.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.26.2009]

Holding: Whether and to what extent Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision protects employees from being fired for cooperating with an employer’s internal sexual harassment investigation.
Bartlett v. Strickland, No. 07-689 [Arg: 10.14.2008 Trans.; Decided 03.09.2009]

Holding: Whether a racial minority group that constitutes less than 50% of a proposed district’s population can state a vote dilution claim under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
Oregon v. Ice, No. 07-901 [Arg: 10.14.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.14.2009]

Holding: Whether, under Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) and Blakely v. Washington (2004), a sentencing judge violates the Sixth Amendment by imposing consecutive sentences based on a fact not found by the jury or admitted by the defendant.
Pearson v. Callahan, No. 07-751 [Arg: 10.14.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.21.2009]

Holding: Whether, for qualified immunity purposes, police officers may enter a home without a warrant on the theory that the owner consented to the entry by previously permitting an undercover informant into the home. (Note: in addition to the questions presented, the Court directed the parties to brief and argue the following question: “Whether the Court’s decision in Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194 (2001) should be overruled?”)
Waddington v. Sarausad, No. 07-772 [Arg: 10.15.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.21.2009]

Holding: Whether, on federal habeas review, courts must accept state court determinations that jury instructions fully and correctly set out state law with regard to accomplice liability.
Hedgpeth v. Pulido, No. 07-544 [Arg: 10.15.2008 Trans.; Decided 12.02.2008]

Holding: Whether, on habeas review, the 9th Circuit erred in granting relief by deeming an erroneous jury instruction to constitute structural error requiring reversal because the jury may have relied upon it.

November Sitting

Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association, No. 07-869 [Arg: 11.03.08 Trans.; Decided 02.24.2009]

Holding: Whether, under the First Amendment, a state legislature may bar political subdivisions from making payroll deductions for political activities.
Wyeth v. Levine, No. 06-1249 [Arg: 11.03.08 Trans.; Decided 03.04.2009]

Holding: Whether federal law preempts state torts claims imposing liability on drug labeling that the FDA had previously approved.
U.S. v. Hayes, No. 07-608 [Arg: 11.10.08 Trans.; Decided 02.24.2009]

Holding: Whether, to qualify as a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), the offense must have as an element a domestic relationship between the offender and the victim.
Carcieri v. Kempthorne, No. 07-526 [Arg: 11.03.2008 Trans.; Decided 02.24.2009]

Holding: Whether the Narrangansett Tribe may receive benefits under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 if the Tribe was not federally recognized on the date of enactment, and whether the Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act foreclosed the Tribe’s right to exercise sovereignty over land in the state.
FCC v. Fox Television Stations, No. 07-582 [Arg: 11.04.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.28.2009]

Holding: Whether the FCC provided an adequate explanation, or instead acted arbitrarily and capriciously, in changing its policy to permit isolated uses of expletives on broadcast television to be considered “indecent” under federal law.
U.S. v. Eurodif, No. 07-1059 [Arg: 11.04.2008 Trans.; Decided 1.26.2009]

Holding: Whether contracts for uranium enrichment services are subject to federal anti-dumping laws.
Jimenez v. Quarterman, No. 07-6984 [Arg: 11.04.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.13.2009]

Holding:
Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, No. 07-854 [Arg: 11.05.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.26.2009]

Holding: Whether district attorney supervisors are entitled to civil immunity from allegations they failed to ensure line prosecutors were aware, and thus able to disclose to the defendant, that a jailhouse informant was to receive benefits in exchange for his testimony.
Negusie v. Mukasey, No. 07-499 [Arg: 11.06.2008 Trans.; Decided 03.03.2009]

Holding: Whether the provision of the Immigration and Naturalization Act that prohibits the granting of asylum to individuals found to have themselves engaged in persecution applies to those who were compelled to do so by threats of deaths or torture.
Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, No. 07-591 [Arg: 11.10.2008 Trans.; Decided 06.25.2009]

Holding: Whether a state forensic analyst’s laboratory report prepared for use in a criminal prosecution is “testimonial” evidence subject to the demands of the Confrontation Clause as set forth in Crawford v. Washington (2004).
Chambers v. U.S., No. 06-11206 [Arg: 11.10.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.13.2009]

Holding: Whether a failure to report to prison is the equivalent of escape for purposes of enhanced sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
Pleasant Grove City, UT v. Summum, No. 07-665 [Arg: 11.12.2008 Trans.; Decided 02.25.2009]

Holding: Whether, under the First Amendment, privately donated monuments placed in a public park qualify as private or government speech.
Bell v. Kelly, No. 07-1223 [Arg: 11.12.2008 Trans.; Decided 11.17.2008]

Holding: Whether 28 U.S.C 2254, the federal habeas provision governing claims adjudicated on the merits in state court, should be applied to claims based on evidence of ineffective assistance of counsel the state court refused to consider.

December Sitting

14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, No. 07-581 [Arg: 12.01.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.01.2009]

Holding: Whether an arbitration clause in a collective bargaining agreement waiving employees’ right to file statutory discrimination claims is enforceable.
Kansas v. Colorado, No. 105 Orig [Arg: 12.01.2008 Trans.; Decided 03.09.2009]

Holding: Whether 18 U.S.C. § 1821(b), which limits expert witness fees to $40 per day, applies to cases arising under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction.
Entergy Corp. v. EPA, No. 07-588 [Arg: 12.02.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.01.2009]

Holding: Whether the Clean Water Act permits the EPA to undergo a cost-benefit analysis in determining the most environmentally friendly technology at cooling water intake structures, and to regulate such structures at existing as well as new facilities.
Fitzgerald, et vir v. Barnstable School Committee, et al., No. 07-1125 [Arg: 12.02.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.21.2009]

Holding: Whether Title IX precludes Section 1983 constitutional claims to remedy sex discrimination in educational settings.
Haywood v. Drown, No. 07-10374 [Arg: 12.03.2008 Trans.; Decided 05.26.2009]

Holding: Whether a state law barring state courts from hearing damages actions against corrections officers violates the Supremacy Clause by not permitting adjudication of claims under 42 USC 1983.
Philip Morris USA v. Williams, No. 07-1216 [Arg: 12.03.2008 Trans.; Decided 03.31.2009]

Holding: Whether the Supreme Court of Oregon, on remand from the Court’s 2007 decision on the constitutionality of a $79.5 million punitive damages award based on harms done to non-named plaintiffs, improperly asserted a state law procedural bar having the effect of precluding Phillip Morris from asserting a constitutional claim.
Pacific Bell Telephone Co., dba AT&T California v. linkLine Communications, No. 07-512 [Arg: 12.08.2008 Trans.; Decided 02.25.2009]

Holding: Whether Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act permits a “price squeeze” claim if the defendant has no duty to deal.
Shinseki v. Sanders, No. 07-1209 [Arg: 12.08.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.21.2009]

Holding: Whether courts must presume the failure of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to give notice to benefits’ claimants to be prejudicial.
Arizona v. Johnson, No. 07-1122 [Arg: 12.09.2008 Trans.; Decided 01.26.2009]

Holding: Whether, in the context of a vehicular stop for a minor traffic infraction, an officer may conduct a pat-down search of a passenger when the officer has an articulable basis to believe the passenger might be armed and presently dangerous, but had no reasonable grounds to believe that the passenger is committing, or has committed, a criminal offense.
Cone v. Bell, No. 07-1114 [Arg: 12.09.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.28.2009]

Holding: Whether a federal habeas claim is “procedurally defaulted” because it has been presented twice to the state courts, and whether a federal habeas court is powerless to recognize that a state court erred in holding that state law precludes reviewing a claim.
AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, No. 07-543 [Arg: 12.10.2008 Trans.; Decided 05.18.2009]

Holding: Whether employers violate Title VII by not fully restoring service credit for pregnancy leaves taken before the 1978 passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
Ashcroft, Former ATT’Y Gen. v. Iqbal, No. 07-1015 [Arg: 12.10.2008 Trans.; Decided 05.18.2009]

Holding: Whether current and former federal officials, including FBI Director Robert Mueller and former Attorney General John Ashcroft, are entitled to qualified immunity against allegations they knew of or condoned racial and religious discrimination against individuals detained in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

January Sitting

Ministry of Defense and Support for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran v. Elahi, No. 07-615 [Arg: 01.12.2009 Trans.; Decided 04.21.2009]

Holding: Whether a disputed judgment against a military contractor at issue between Iran and the United States before the Claims Tribunal in The Hague is subject to attachment under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.
Coeur Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, et al. and Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, et al., No. 07-984 [Arg: 01.12.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.22.2009]

Holding: Whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may not issue a permit for discharge of fill material otherwise subject to effluent limitations under Sections 301 or 306 of the Clean Water Act.
Harbison v. Bell, No. 07-8521 [Arg: 01.12.2009 Trans.; Decided 04.01.2009]

Holding: Whether the Terrorist Death Penalty Enhancement Act of 2005 provides prisoners sentenced under state law the right to federally appointed and funded counsel to pursue clemency under state law, and whether a district court’s denial of such a request may be appealed without a certificate of appealability.
Vermont v. Brillon, No. 08-88 [Arg: 01.13.2009 Trans.; Decided 03.09.2009]

Holding: Whether delays caused by a public defender can deprive a criminal defendant of his right to a speedy trial.
Knowles v. Mirzayance, No. 07-1315 [Arg: 01.13.2009 Trans.; Decided 03.24.2009]

Holding: Whether the defendant’s lawyer’s recommendation to withdraw an insanity plea constituted ineffective assistance of counsel for purposes of federal habeas law.
Montejo v. Louisiana, No. 07-1529 [Arg: 01.13.2009 Trans.; Decided 05.26.2009]

Holding: Whether an indigent defendant must affirmatively accept the appointment of counsel to preclude future police interrogation in the absence the attorney.
Boyle v. U.S., No. 07-1309 [Arg: 01.14.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.08.2009]

Holding:
Puckett v. U.S., No. 07-9712 [Arg: 01.14.2009 Trans.; Decided 03.25.2009]

Holding: Whether forfeited claims that the government breach a plea agreement are subject to “plain error” review.
Corley v. U.S., No. 07-10441 [Arg: 01.21.2009 Trans.; Decided 04.06.2009]

Holding: Whether federal law permits the suppression of a voluntary confession made more than six hours after arrest but before presentment to a magistrate, as a consequence of unreasonable delay in presentment.
Nken v. Holder, No. 08-681 [Arg: 01.21.2009 Trans.; Decided 04.22.2009]

Holding: Whether the decision of a court of appeals to stay an alien’s removal pending consideration of the alien’s petition for review is governed by the standard set forth in 8 U.S.C. 1252(f)(2) or instead by the traditional test for stays and preliminary injunctive relief.

February Sitting

U.S. v. Navajo Nation, No. 07-1410 [Arg: 02.23.2009 Trans.; Decided 04.06.2009]

Holding: Whether the Court’s prior decision in United States v. Navajo Nation (2003) foreclosed a finding that the government breached fiduciary duties in connection with Indian coal lease amendments.
Rivera v. Illinois, No. 07-9995 [Arg: 02.23.2009 Trans.; Decided 03.31.2009]

Holding: Whether the erroneous denial of a criminal defendant’s preemptory challenge that resulted in the challenged juror being seated requires automatic reversal of a conviction.
Carlsbad Technology v. HIF Bio, No. 07-1437 [Arg: 02.24.2009 Trans.; Decided 05.04.2009]

Holding: Whether a federal court order remanding a case to state court after declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction is subject to appellate review.
Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company, et al. v. U.S.; Shell Oil Company v. U.S., No. 07-1601 [Arg: 02.24.2009 Trans.; Decided 05.04.2009]

Holding: Whether the petitioners were incorrectly held jointly and severally liable for environmental cleanup costs under CERCLA.
Flores-Figueroa v. U.S., No. 08-108 [Arg: 02.25.2009 Trans.; Decided 05.04.2009]

Holding: Whether an individual who used a false means of identification without knowing it belonged to another person can be convicted of “aggravated identity theft” under 18 U.S.C. 1028A(a)(1).
Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, No. 07-1372 [Arg: 02.25.2009 Trans.; Decided 03.31.2009]

Holding: Whether a 1993 congressional resolution requires Hawaii to reach a political settlement with native Hawaiians before transferring some 1.2 million acres of state land.
Atlantic Sounding Co., et al. v. Townsend, No. 08-214 [Arg: 03.02.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.25.2009]

Holding: Whether a seaman may recover punitive damages for the willful failure to pay maintenance and cure.
District Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial District, et al. v. Osborne, No. 08-6 [Arg: 03.02.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.18.2009]

Holding: Whether a defendant may access a state’s biological evidence following a conviction under 42 U.S.C. 1983 or the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Company, et al., No. 08-22 [Arg: 03.03.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.08.2009]

Holding: Whether a judge’s failure to recuse himself from a case in which he received substantial campaign donations from one of the parties violates the Due Process rights of the other party.
Dean v. U.S., No. 08-5274 [Arg: 03.04.2009 Trans.; Decided 04.29.2009]

Holding: Whether, under 18 U.S.C.924(c)(1)(A)(iii), the mere discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking, even if accidental, is subject to a ten-year sentencing enhancement.
Abuelhawa v. U.S., No. 08-192 [Arg: 03.04.2009 Trans.; Decided 05.26.2009]

Holding: Whether a person who uses a cell phone to buy drugs solely for personal use (a misdemeanor) can be charged with the separate crime of using a phone to facilitate the sale of drugs (a felony).

March Sitting

Yeager v. U.S., No. 08-67 [Arg: 03.23.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.18.2009]

Holding: Whether, under the Double Jeopardy Clause, the government may retry defendants acquitted of some charges on factually related counts on which the jury failed to reach a verdict.
U.S. v. Denedo, No. 08-267 [Arg: 03.25.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.08.2009]

Holding: Whether a military appellate court has jurisdiction to consider a petition for a writ of error coram nobis filed by a former service member following a final court-martial conviction.
Travelers Indemnity v. Bailey, et al.; Common Law Settlement Counsel v. Bailey, et al., No. 08-295 [Arg: 03.30.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.18.2009]

Holding: Whether a federal bankruptcy court can block private lawsuits that seek damages for injury and death due to exposure to asbestos.
Gross v. FBL Financial Services, No. 08-441 [Arg: 03.31.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.18.2009]

Holding: Whether a plaintiff must present direct evidence of discrimination in order to obtain a mixed-motive instruction in a non-Title VII discrimination case.
Polar Tankers v. City of Valdez, Alaska, No. 08-310 [Arg: 04.01.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.15.2009]

Holding: Whether a municipal tax that falls exclusively on large vessels in the city’s harbor violates the Tonnage Clause, Commerce Clause, or Due Process Clause.

April Sitting

Republic of Iraq v. Beaty, et al.; Republic of Iraq, et al. v. Robert Simon, et al., No. 07-1090 [Arg: 04.20.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.08.2009]

Holding: Whether U.S. Courts have jurisdiction over Iraq in claims involving alleged misdeeds that occurred during Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Horne v. Flores; Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives v. Flores, No. 08-289 [Arg: 04.20.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.25.2009]

Holding: Whether the courts below improperly declined to modify an injunction against Arizona for failing to provide sufficient funding for non-English speaking school children.
Safford United School District #1 v. Redding, No. 08-479 [Arg: 04.21.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.25.2009]

Holding: Whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits public school officials from conducting a strip search of a student suspected of possessing and distributing a prescription drug on campus in violation of school policy.
U.S. ex rel. Eisenstein v. City of New York, No. 08-660 [Arg: 04.21.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.08.2009]

Holding: Whether the 30-day time limit in Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(1)(A) for filing a notice of appeal, or the 60-day time limit in Rule 4(a)(1)(B), applies to a qui tam action under the False Claims Act.
Ricci v. DeStefano, No. 07-1428 [Arg: 04.22.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.29.2009]

Holding: Whether municipalities may decline to certify results of an exam that would make disproportionately more white applicants eligible for promotion than minority applicants, due to fears that certifying the results would lead to charges of racial discrimination.
Nijhawan v. Holder, No. 08-495 [Arg: 04.27.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.15.2009]

Holding: Whether the petitioner’s conviction for mail, bank and wire fraud qualified as an aggravated felony under the immigration laws, the penalty for which is lifetime banishment from the country.
Bobby v. Bies, No. 08-598 [Arg: 04.27.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.01.2009]

Holding: Whether the holding of a state post-conviction hearing to determine the mental capacity of a capital defendant whose death sentence was affirmed before Atkins v. Virginia (2002), which barred the execution of mentally retarded defendants, violates the Double Jeopardy clause.
Cuomo v. The Clearing House Ass’n, L.L.C., No. 08-453 [Arg: 04.28.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.29.2009]

Holding: Whether 12 USC § 484 and 12 CFR § 7.4000 prohibit measures taken by the New York State Attorney General to enforce state fair lending law against national banks by subjecting those entities to “visitorial powers.”
Forest Grove School District v. T.A., No. 08-305 [Arg: 04.28.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.22.2009]

Holding: Whether parents of a student who has never previously received special education services from a school district may be eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for reimbursement of private school tuition.
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, No. 08-322 [Arg: 04.29.2009 Trans.; Decided 06.22.2009]

Holding: Whether the appellant is eligible to bail out from the preclearance requirement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and whether Congress provided sufficient justification of current voting discrimination when extended the requirement in 2006 for another twenty-five years.

Cases Not (Yet) Set for Argument

Al-Marri v. Spagone, No. 08-368 [ Decided 03.06.2009]

Holding: Whether Congress, in passing the Authorization for Use of Military Force after September 11, authorized the indefinite military detention of a legal immigrant seized on domestic soil whom the government alleged to have conspired with al Qaeda to carry out attacks against the United States.
Term Snapshot
Awards