Editor's Note :

Editor's Note :

On Monday at 9:30 a.m. we expect orders from the April 18 Conference. On both Tuesday and Wednesday we expect one or more decisions in argued cases; we will be live blogging both days beginning at 9:45 a.m.

October Term 2011

View this list sorted by case name.

October Sitting

Douglas v. S.R. M. Hospital (No. 10-283)10.03.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 2.22.2012

Holding: The parties will argue before the Ninth Circuit in the first instance whether the respondents may maintain Supremacy Clause actions in light of the approval by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the challenged California statutes that reduce the amount of Medicaid reimbursement.
Douglas v. In. Liv'g Ctr. of S. Cal. (No. 09-958)10.03.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 2.22.2012

Holding: The parties will argue before the Ninth Circuit in the first instance whether the respondents may maintain Supremacy Clause actions in light of the approval by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the challenged California statutes that reduce the amount of Medicaid reimbursement.
Douglas v. Cal. Pharm. Ass'n (No. 09-1158)10.3.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 2.22.2012

Holding: The parties will argue before the Ninth Circuit in the first instance whether the respondents may maintain Supremacy Clause actions in light of the approval by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the challenged California statutes that reduce the amount of Medicaid reimbursement.
Reynolds v. U.S. (No. 10-6549)10.03.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.23.2012

Holding: The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act does not require pre-Act offenders to register before the Attorney General validly specifies that the Act’s registration provi­sions apply to them.
Howes v. Fields (No. 10-680)10.04.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 2.21.2012

Holding: The Sixth Circuit’s categorical rule – that an interrogation is per se custodial, for purposes of Miranda v. Arizona, when a prisoner is questioned in private about events occurring outside the prison – is not clearly established by Supreme Court precedent. And by a vote of six to three, the Court held that the Sixth Circuit’s rule is also wrong.
Martinez v. Ryan (No. 10-1001)10.04.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.20.2012

Holding: Where, under state law, ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claims must be raised in an initial-review collateral proceeding, a procedural default will not bar a federal habeas court from hearing those claims if, in the initial-review collateral proceeding, there was no counsel or counsel in that proceeding was ineffective.
Maples v. Thomas (No. 10-63)10.04.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.18.2012

Holding: Death row inmate Cory Maples has shown the requisite “cause” to excuse his procedur­al default, which occurred when his lawyer missed a filing deadline in state court.
Golan v. Holder (No. 10-545)10.05.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.18.2012

Holding: Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act does not exceed Congress’s authority under the Copy­right Clause.
Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC (No. 10-553)10.05.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.11.2012

Holding: The Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment bar suits brought on behalf of ministers against their churches, claiming termination in violation of employment discrimi­nation laws. Moreover, because the respondent in this case was a minister within the meaning of the minis­terial exception, the First Amendment requires dismissal of her em­ployment discrimination suit against her religious employer.
CompuCredit v. Greenwood (No. 10-948)10.11.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.10.2012

Holding: Because the Credit Repair Organizations Act is silent on whether claims can proceed in an arbitrable forum, the Federal Arbitration Act requires the arbitration agreement to be enforced according to its terms.
Greene v. Fisher (No. 10-637)10.11.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 11.8.2011

Holding: For purposes of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, “clearly established federal law” is limited to the Supreme Court’s decisions “as of the time of the relevant state-court adjudication on the merits.”
Pacific Operators v. Valladolid (No. 10-507)10.11.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.11.2012

Holding: The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act extends coverage for injury occurring as the result of operations conducted on the outer continental shelf to an employee who can establish a substantial nexus between his injury and his employer’s extractive operations on the shelf.
Judulang v. Holder (No. 10-694)10.12.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 12.12.11

Holding: The policy used by the Board of Immigration Appeals to determine whether a resident alien is eligible to ask the Attorney General for relief from deportation under a provision of the immigration laws that has been repealed is “arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A).
Florence v. Board of Freeholders (No. 10-945)10.12.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 4.2.2012

Holding: Jail strip searches do not require reasonable suspicion, at least so long as the arrestee is being admitted into the general jail population.

November Sitting

Missouri v. Frye (No. 10-444)10.31.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.21.2012

Holding: The Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel ex­tends to the consideration of plea offers that lapse or are rejected, and that right applies to “all ‘critical’ stages of the criminal proceedings.”
Lafler v. Cooper (No. 10-209)10.31.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.21.2012

Holding: Where counsel’s ineffective advice led to an offer’s rejection, and where the prejudice alleged is having to stand trial, a defendant must show that but for the ineffective advice, there is a reasonable probability that the plea offer would have been presented to the court, that the court would have accepted its terms, and that the conviction or sentence, or both, under the offer’s terms would have been less severe than under the actual judgment and sentence imposed.
Rehberg v. Paulk (No. 10-788)11.01.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 4.2.2012

Holding: A witness in a grand jury proceeding is entitled to the same absolute immunity from suit under Section 1983 as a witness who testifies at trial.
Minneci v. Pollard (No. 10-1104)11.01.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.10.2012

Holding: Because state tort law authorizes adequate alternative damages actions in this case, no Bivens remedy can be implied.
Gonzalez v. Thaler (No. 10-895)11.02.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.10.2012

Holding: Section 2253(c)(3) is a mandatory but nonjurisdictional rule. The failure of a certificate of appealability to “indicate” a constitutional issue does not deprive a court of appeals of jurisdiction to adjudicate the appeal. Moreover, for a state prisoner who does not seek review in a state’s high­est court, the judgment becomes “final” for purposes of Section 2244(d)(1)(A) upon “expiration of the time for seeking such review.” The petitioner’s appeal in this case was therefore untimely.
Perry v. New Hampshire (No. 10-8974)11.02.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.11.2012

Holding: The Due Process Clause does not require an inquiry into the reliability of an eyewitness identification when the identification was not procured under unnecessarily suggestive circumstances by law enforcement.
Kawashima v. Holder (No. 10-577)11.7.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 2.21.2012

Holding: Violations of 26 U.S.C. §§ 7206(1) and (2), which preclude making (or assisting in the making of) a false tax return, are crimes “involv[ing] fraud or deceit” under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(M)(i) and are therefore aggravated felonies for purposes of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq., when the loss to the govern­ment exceeds $10,000.
M.B.Z. v. Clinton (No. 10-699)11.7.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.26.2012

Holding: The political question doctrine does not bar courts from deciding whether § 214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which permits U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to request that their passports state “Israel” as their place of birth, impermissibly intrudes on the President’s powers under the Constitution.
U.S. v. Jones (No. 10-1259)11.8.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.23.2012

Holding: Attaching a GPS device to a vehicle and then using the device to monitor the vehicle’s movements constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.
Smith v. Cain (No. 10-8145)11.8.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.10.2012

Holding: The substantial Brady claims in the case require a reversal of the petitioner’s conviction.
Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products (No. 10-879)11.9.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 2.29.2012

Holding: Petitioners’ state-law design-defect and failure-to-warn claims fall within the field of locomotive equipment regulation pre-empted by the Locomotive Inspection Act, as that field was defined in Napier v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co.
National Meat Association v. Harris (No. 10-224)11.9.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.23.2012

Holding: The Federal Meat Inspection Act expressly preempts a California law regulating the treatment of non-ambulatory pigs at federal­ly inspected slaughterhouses.

December Sitting

First Am. Financial Corp. v. Edwards (No. 10-708)11.28.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.28.2012

Holding: Whether a private purchaser of real estate settlement services has standing to sue under Article III, § 2 of the United States Constitution.
Mims v. Arrow Financial Services (No. 10-1195)11.28.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.18.2011

Holding: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s grant of jurisdiction to state courts does not deprive the federal district courts of federal-question jurisdiction over private lawsuits seeking to enforce the Act.
Hall v. U.S. (No. 10-875)11.29.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 5.14.2012

Holding: The federal income tax liability resulting from petitioners’ post-petition farm sale is not “incurred by the estate” under Section 503(b) of the Bankruptcy Code and thus is neither collectible nor dischargeable in the Chapter 12 plan.
Credit Suisse Securities v. Simmonds (No. 10-1261)11.29.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.26.2012

Holding: Normal equitable tolling principles apply to the statute of limitations for lawsuits under § 16 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Section 16(a) requires corporate insiders to disclose personal transactions involving the corporation’s securities.
Setser v. U.S. (No. 10-7387)11.30.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.28.2012

Holding: A federal district court has the discretion to order a federal criminal sentence to run after a state criminal sentence that is anticipated but has not yet been imposed.
FAA v. Cooper (No. 10-1024)11.30.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.28.2012

Holding: The authorization of suits against the government for “actual damages” in the Privacy Act of 1974 is not sufficiently clear to constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity from suits for mental and emotional distress.
Caraco v. Novo Nordisk (No. 10-844)12.5.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 4.17.2012

Holding: A generic drug manufacturer may employ the counterclaim provision of the Hatch-Waxman Act to force correction of a use code that inaccurately describes the brand’s patent as covering a particular method of using a drug.
Messerschmidt v. Millender (No. 10-704)12.5.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 2.22.2012

Holding: The officers in the case are entitled to qualified immunity for executing a search warrant for firearms and evidence of gang activity in a home after a victim reported that the suspect had threatened her with a gun.
Martel v. Clair (No. 10-1265)12.6.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.5.2012

Holding: When evaluating motions to substitute counsel in capital cases under 18 U. S. C. § 3599, courts should employ the same “interests of justice” standard that applies in non-capital cases under 18 U.S.C. § 3006A. In this case, the district court did no abuse its discretion when, using the “interests of justice” standard, it denied Clair’s second request for new counsel. The Ninth Circuit erred in overturning that denial.
Williams v. Illinois (No. 10-8505)12.6.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.18.2012

Holding: The admission of expert testimony about the results of DNA testing performed by non-testifying analysts did not violate the Confrontation Clause.
Mayo v. Prometheus Laboratories (No. 10-1150)12.7.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.20.2012

Holding: The process patent that Prometheus Laboratories had obtained for correlations between blood test results and patient health is not eligible for a patent because it incorporates laws of nature.
PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana (No. 10-218)12.7.2011Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 2.22.2012

Holding: The Montana Supreme Court’s ruling that the state of Montana owns and may charge for use of the riverbeds at issue was based on an infirm legal understanding of the Court’s rules of navigability for title un­der the equal-footing doctrine.

January Sitting

Perry v. Perez (No. 11-713)1.9.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.20.2012

Holding: Because it is unclear whether the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas followed the appropriate standards in drawing interim maps for the 2012 Texas elections, the orders implementing those maps are vacated, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Perry v. Davis (No. 11-714)1.09.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.20.2012

Holding: Because it is unclear whether the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas followed the appropriate standards in drawing interim maps for the 2012 Texas elections, the orders implementing those maps are vacated, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Kappos v. Hyatt (No. 10-1219)1.9.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 4.18.2012

Holding: There are no limitations on a patent applicant’s ability to introduce new evidence in a 35 U.S.C. § 145 proceeding beyond those already present in the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. If new evidence is presented on a disputed question of fact, the district court must make de novo factual findings that take account of both the new evidence and the administrative record before the Patent and Trademark Office.
Perry v. Perez (No. 11-715)1.09.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 1.20.2012

Holding: Because it is unclear whether the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas followed the appropriate standards in drawing interim maps for the 2012 Texas elections, the orders implementing those maps are vacated, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Sackett v. EPA (No. 10-1062)1.9.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.21.2012

Holding: The petitioners may bring a civil action under the Administrative Procedure Act to challenge the issuance of the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrative compliance order under Section 309 of the Clean Water Act, requiring them to take certain actions with respect to their property.
Knox v. SEIU (No. 10-1121)1.10.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.21.2012

Holding: The case is not moot, and the First Amendment does not permit a public-sector union to impose a special assessment without the affirmative consent of a member upon whom it is imposed.
FCC v. Fox (No. 10-1293)1.10.2012Arg: (Trans.) 6.21.2012

Holding: Because the FCC failed to give Fox and ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent, the FCC’s standards as applied to these broadcasts were vague.
Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals (No. 10-1016)1.11.2012Arg: (Trans.) 3.20.2012

Holding: Suits against the states under the self-care provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act are barred by sovereign immunity.
Roberts v. Sea-Land Services (No. 10-1399)1.11.2012Arg: (Trans.) 3.20.2012

Holding: An employee is “newly awarded compensation” for purposes of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act when he first be­comes disabled and thereby becomes statutorily entitled to benefits, no matter whether, or when, a compensation order issues on his be­half.
Filarsky v. Delia (No. 10-1018)1.17.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 4.17.2012

Holding: A private individual temporarily retained by the government to carry out its work is entitled to seek qualified immunity from suit under 42 U. S. C. § 1983.
U.S. v. Home Concrete & Supply (No. 11-139)1.17.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 4.25.2012

Holding: Section 6501(e)(1)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code, which extends the limitations period for the government to assess a deficiency against a taxpayer, does not apply when a taxpayer overstates the basis in property that he has sold, thereby understating the gain received from the sale.
Holder v. Gutierrez (No. 10-1542)1.18.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 5.21.2012

Holding: The position of the Board of Immigration Appeals that an alien seeking cancellation of removal must individually satisfy the requirements of 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a) – lawful permanent resident status for at least five years and at least seven years of continuous residence in the United States after a lawful admission – rather than relying on a parent’s years of continuous residence or lawful permanent resident status – is based on a permissible construction of the statute.
Holder v. Sawyers (No. 10-1543)1.18.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 5.21.2012

Holding: The position of the Board of Immigration Appeals that an alien seeking cancellation of removal must individually satisfy the requirements of 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a) – lawful permanent resident status for at least five years and at least seven years of continuous residence in the United States after a lawful admission – rather than relying on a parent’s years of continuous residence or lawful permanent resident status – is based on a permissible construction of the statute.
Vartelas v. Holder (No. 10-1211)1.18.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 3.28.2012

Holding: Because the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act burdens lawful activity on the basis of nothing more than past criminal activity, it was retroactive within the meaning of the Court’s precedents.

February Sitting

Freeman v. Quicken Loans Inc. (No. 10-1042)2.21.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 5.24.2012

Holding: To establish a violation of 12 U.S.C. § 2607(b) – which provides that “[n]o person shall give and no person shall accept any portion, split, or percentage of any charge made or received for the rendering of a real estate settlement service . . . other than for services actually performed” – a plaintiff must demonstrate that a charge for settlement services was divided between two or more persons.
Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd. (No. 10-1472)2.21.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 5.21.2012

Holding: Because the ordinary meaning of “interpreter” is someone who translates orally from one language to another, the category “compensation of interpreters” in 28 U.S.C. § 1920(6), which includes that category among the costs that may be awarded to prevailing parties in federal court lawsuits, does not include the cost of document translation.
U.S. v. Alvarez (No. 11-210)2.22.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.28.2012

Holding: The Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime to lie about having received military honors or decorations, violates the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Blueford v. Arkansas (No. 10-1320)2.22.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 5.24.2012

Holding: The Double Jeopardy Clause does not bar the state from retrying Blueford on charges of capital murder and first-degree murder after the jury in Blueford’s original trial told the trial court that it had voted unanimously against those charges but was deadlocked on the manslaughter charge against him and eventually failed to reach a verdict, causing the court to declare a mistrial.
Wood v. Milyard (No. 10-9995)2.27.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 4.24.2012

Holding: Courts of appeals, like district courts, have the authority – but not the obligation – to raise a forfeited timeliness defense on their own initiative in exceptional cases. Because the state in this case had deliberately waived the statute of limitations defense, the court of appeals abused its discretion when it dismissed Wood’s habeas petition as untimely.
Elgin v. Dep’t of the Treasury (No. 11-45)2.27.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.11.2012

Holding: The Civil Service Reform Act provides the exclusive avenue to judicial review when a qualifying federal employee challenges an adverse employment action by arguing that a federal statute is unconstitutional.
Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority (No. 11-88)2.28.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 4.18.2012

Holding: As it is used in the Torture Victim Protection Act, the term “individual” encompasses only natural persons and therefore does not impose liability on organizations.
Armour v. Indianapolis (No. 11-161)2.29.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.4.2012

Holding: Because the city had a rational basis for its distinction between homeowners who had paid their taxes in a lump sum and those who paid over time by installments, the city’s refusal to provide a refund to those who paid in a lump sum did not violate the Equal Protection Clause.

March Sitting

Astrue v. Capato (No. 11-159)3.19.2012Arg: (Trans.) 5.21.2012

Holding: The Social Security Administration interprets the Social Security Act to allow children conceived after their father’s death to qualify for Social Security survivors benefits only if they could inherit from their father under state intestacy law. That reading, the Court held, is better attuned to the statute’s text and its design to benefit primarily those supported by the deceased wage earner in his or her lifetime. Moreover, even if the SSA’s longstanding interpretation is not the only reasonable one, it is at least a permissible construction entitled to deference under Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
Southern Union Company v. U.S. (No. 11-94)3.19.2012Arg: (Trans.) 6.21.2012

Holding: The rule established in Apprendi v. New Jersey – in which the Court held that the Sixth Amendment’s jury-trial guarantee requires that any fact (other than the fact of a prior conviction) which increases the maximum punishment authorized for a particular crime be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt – applies to the imposition of criminal fines.
Jackson v. Hobbs (No. 10-9647)3.20.2012Arg: (Trans.) 6.25.2012

Holding: The Eighth Amendment prohibits a sentencing scheme that requires life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders.
Reichle v. Howards (No. 11-262)3.21.2012Arg: (Trans.) 6.4.2012

Holding: The petitioners – two Secret Service agents -- are entitled to qualified immunity from suit involving a claim that they arrested the respondent in retaliation for remarks he had made about then-Vice President Cheney because, at the time of the arrest, it was not clearly established that an arrest supported by probable cause could give rise to a First Amendment violation.
Vasquez v. U.S. (No. 11-199)3.21.2012Arg: (Trans.) 4.2.2012

Holding: Whether the Seventh Circuit violated this Court's precedent on harmless error when it focused its harmless error analysis solely on the weight of the untainted evidence without considering the potential effect of the error (the erroneous admission of trial counsel's statements that his client would lose the case and should plead guilty for their truth) on this jury; and (2) whether the Seventh Circuit violated Mr. Vasquez's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial by determining that Mr. Vasquez should have been convicted without considering the effects of the district court's error on the jury that heard the case.
H.H.S. v. Fla. (No. 11-398)3.26.2012 and 3.27.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.28.2012

Holding: The Anti-Injunction Act does not bar a challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate” provision, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, even though the mandate has not yet gone into effect. Although the mandate is not authorized under the Commerce Clause, it is nonetheless a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause. Finally, the Medicaid expansion provision of the ACA violates the Constitution by threatening states with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they decline to comply with the expansion.
Nat'l Fed. of Ind. Business v. Sebelius (No. 11-393)3.28.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.28.2012

Holding: The Anti-Injunction Act does not bar a challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate” provision, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, even though the mandate has not yet gone into effect. Although the mandate is not authorized under the Commerce Clause, it is nonetheless a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause. Finally, the Medicaid expansion provision of the ACA violates the Constitution by threatening states with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they decline to comply with the expansion.
Fla. v. H.H.S. (No. 11-400)3.28.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.28.2012

Holding: The Anti-Injunction Act does not bar a challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate” provision, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, even though the mandate has not yet gone into effect. Although the mandate is not authorized under the Commerce Clause, it is nonetheless a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause. Finally, the Medicaid expansion provision of the ACA violates the Constitution by threatening states with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they decline to comply with the expansion.

April Sitting

Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. (No. 11-204)4.16.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.18.2012

Holding: The petitioners – pharmaceutical sales representatives whose primary duty is to obtain nonbinding commitments from physicians to prescribe their employer’s prescription drugs in appropriate cases – qualify as outside salesmen under the most reasonable interpretation of the Department of Labor’s regulations.
Hill v. U.S. (No. 11-5721)4.17.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.21.2012

Holding: The more lenient mandatory minimum provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act – which reduced the disparity between sentences for crack and powder cocaine offenses – apply to defendants who committed a crack cocaine crime before the Act went into effect but were sentenced after its effective date in 2010.
Dorsey v. U.S. (No. 11-5683)4.17.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.21.2012

Holding: The more lenient mandatory minimum provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act – which reduced the disparity between sentences for crack and powder cocaine offenses – apply to defendants who committed a crack cocaine crime before the Act went into effect but were sentenced after its effective date in 2010.
Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter (No. 11-551)4.18.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.18.2012

Holding: The federal government must pay in full each tribe’s contract support costs incurred by a tribal contractor under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, 25 U.S.C. § 450, even if Congress has failed to appropriate sufficient funds to cover all of the contract support costs owed to all tribal contractors collectively.
RadLAX v. Amalgamated Bank (No. 11-166)4.23.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 5.29.2012

Holding: Debtors may not obtain confirmation of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy “cramdown” plan that proposes to sell substantially all of the debtors’ property at an auction, free and clear of the Bank’s lien, using the sale proceeds to repay the Bank, but that does not permit the Bank to credit-bid at the sale.
Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish v. Patchak (No. 11-246)4.24.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.18.2012

Holding: The federal government has waived its sovereign immunity from the respondent’s suit under the Administrative Procedure Act, in which he alleges that Section 465 of the Indian Reorganization Act did not authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire into trust property that the Band intended to use for “gaming purposes” because the Band was not a federally recognized tribe when the Indian Reorganization Act was enacted in 1934. Moreover, the respondent has prudential standing to challenge the Secretary’s acquisition of the land in question.
Salazar v. Patchak (No. 11-247)4.24.2012Arg: (Trans.) 6.18.2012

Holding: The federal government has waived its sovereign immunity from the respondent’s suit under the Administrative Procedure Act, in which he alleges that Section 465 of the Indian Reorganization Act did not authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire into trust property that the Band intended to use for “gaming purposes” because the Band was not a federally recognized tribe when the Indian Reorganization Act was enacted in 1934. Moreover, the respondent has prudential standing to challenge the Secretary’s acquisition of the land in question.
Arizona v. U.S. (No. 11-182)4.25.2012Arg: (Trans. / Aud.) 6.25.2012

Holding: The lower courts erred in holding that Section 2(B) of Senate Bill 1070 - which requires police to check the immigration status of persons whom they detain before releasing them and which allows police to stop and detain anyone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant – should not go into effect while its lawfulness is being litigated because it is not sufficiently clear that the provision is preempted. Section 3 – which makes it a state crime for someone to be in the United States without proper authorization – is preempted because Congress left no room for states to regulate in that field, or even to enhance federal prohibitions. Section 5(C) -which makes it a state crime for undocumented immigrants to apply for a job or work in Arizona – is preempted as imposing an obstacle to the federal regulatory system. Section 6 – which authorizes state law enforcement officials to arrest without a warrant any individual otherwise lawfully in the country, if they have probable cause to believe that the individual has committed a deportable offense – is preempted because whether and when to arrest someone for being unlawfully in the country is a question solely for the federal government.

Decided without oral argument

Cavazos v. Smith (No. 10-1115)10.31.2011

Holding: The Ninth Circuit exceeded its authority under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)when it substituted its own judgment for that of a California jury on the question whether the prosecution’s or the defense’s expert witnesses more persuasively explained the cause of a death.
KPMG LLP v. Cocchi (No. 10-1521)11.7.2011

Holding: Remanded to Florida state court for consideration of whether arbitration is required for some of the claims alleged.
Bobby v. Dixon (No. 10-1540)11.07.2011

Holding: (1) Whether the Sixth Circuit contravened the directives of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) when it abandoned the "in custody" requirement of Miranda v. Arizona and Edwards v. Arizona; (2) whether the interviewer's state of mind has any bearing on whether a suspect's statement is voluntary under the established law of Oregon v. Elstad; and (3) whether the Sixth Circuit exceeded its authority under AEDPA when it condemned the use of the "prisoner's dilemma" where the police indicate that favorable treatment will go to the first suspect who cooperates as an unconstitutionally coercive interrogation tactic.
Wetzel v. Lambert (No. 11-38)2.21.2012

Holding: The Third Circuit had failed to address the state court’s determination that the notations on the police activity sheet were “not exculpatory or impeaching” but instead “entirely ambiguous.”
Hardy v. Cross (No. 11-74)12.12.2011

Holding: The lower court’s ruling overturning a decision of an Illinois state court was inconsistent with the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which “imposes a highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings and demands that state-court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.”
Ryburn v. Huff (No. 11-208)1.23.2012

Holding: (1) Whether Brigham City v. Stuart merged the emergency doctrine and application of exigent circumstances for evaluating warrantless entry; (2) whether, on the facts of this case, involving a police investigation of a potential plan for a school shooting, officers were free to enter a student’s home without a warrant to prevent possible harm to themselves and others; and (4) whether, when the district court and one circuit judge concluded that the police conduct was arguably valid under another constitutional doctrine, the officers can be denied qualified immunity.
Marmet Health Care Center v. Brown (No. 11-391)2.21.2012

Holding: West Virgina's categorical prohibition of pre-dispute agreements to arbitrate personal-injury or wrongful-death claims against nursing homes is contrary to the terms and coverage of the FAA.
Clarksburg Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Marchio (No. 11-394)2.21.2012

Holding: West Virgina's categorical prohibition of pre-dispute agreements to arbitrate personal-injury or wrongful-death claims against nursing homes is contrary to the terms and coverage of the FAA.
Parker v. Matthews (No. 11-845)6.11.2012

Holding: The Sixth Circuit’s decision setting aside two twenty-nine-year-old murder convictions is reversed because it is a textbook example of the use of federal habeas corpus review to second-guess the reasonable decisions of state courts, which the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) proscribes.
Coleman v. Johnson (No. 11-1053)05.29.2012

Holding: Reversed and remanded to Third Circuit because the evidence at trial was not nearly sparse enough to sustain a due process challenge (per curiam)
American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock (No. 11-1179)6.25.2012

Holding: Montana’s argument in support of the judgment below was either already rejected in Citizens United v. FCC or fails to meaningfully distinguish that case.
Tennant v. Jefferson County Commission (No. 11-1184)9.25.2012

Holding: In holding that West Virginia’s 2011 congressional redistricting plan violates the principle of “one person, one vote,” the district court misapplied the standard, set out in Karcher v. Daggett (1983), for evaluating challenges to redistricting plans and failed to afford appropriate deference to West Virginia’s reasonable exercise of its political judgment. Although West Virginia could have adopted a plan with lower variations in population among the districts, the state carried its burden to show that population deviations were necessary to achieve legitimate state objectives, such as avoiding contests between incumbents and not splitting political subdivisions.
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Awards