The latest edition of “Petitions to Watch” features cases up for consideration at the Justices’ private conference of January 18, 2008 – the final conference from which granted cases may be heard during the current term. As always, the list reflects the petitions on the Court’s ‘paid’ docket that Tom has deemed to have a reasonable chance of being granted.

Issues raised in the current list of petitions include whether individuals who believe they were secretly wiretapped have standing to challenge the NSA’s warantless surveillance program, whether Mississippi’s video voyeurism law is unconstitutional, and whether federal law preempts state claims against tobacco companies in connection with the marketing of “light” cigarettes. For the full list of petitions on our watch list, continue reading after the jump.

Conference of January 18, 2008

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Docket: 06-923
Case name: MetLife v. Glenn
Issue: Whether an ERISA plan administrator that both evaluates and pays claims operates under a conflict of interest that must be weighed on judicial review of benefit determinations.

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Docket: 06-1184
Case name: Sprint Nextel Corporation v. National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates
Issue: Whether federal law preempts state and local laws prohibiting line item charges on wireless bills.

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Docket: 06-1249
Case name: Wyeth v. Levine
Issue: Whether federal law preempts state torts claims imposing liability on drug labeling that the FDA had previously approved.

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Docket: 06-1269
Case name: United States, ex rel. Charlotte Bly-Magee v. Premo
Issue: Whether an audit performed by a state agency is “administrative” within the meaning of the “public disclosure” provision of the False Claims Act.

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Docket: 06-1505
Case name: Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
Issue: Whether, under Smith v. City of Jackson (2005), an employee alleging disparate impact under the ADEA has the burden of persuasion in establishing “reasonable factors other than age.” (Disclosure: Howe & Russell represents the petitioner.)

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Docket: 07-183
Case name: Gilmer v. Mississippi
Issue: Whether Mississippi’s video voyeurism statute violates the 1st and 14th Amendments insofar as it criminalizes the videotaping of an individual otherwise visible through an open door.

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Docket: 07-418
Case name: Rosca v. United States
Issue: Whether a “slight connection” standard for upholding a criminal conspiracy conviction against a sufficiency-of-the-evidence challenge violates the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment.

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Docket: 07-468
Case name: American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency
Issue: Whether the plaintiffs, individuals whose work may require them to be in contact with targets of government surveillance, have standing to challenge the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program.

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Docket: 07-512
Case name: Pacific Bell Telephone Co., dba AT&T California v. linkLine Communications
Issue: Whether Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act permits a “price squeeze” claim if the defendant has no duty to deal.

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Docket: 07-541
Case name: Alexandria City School Board v. A.K.
Issue: Whether an Individualized Education Program under IDEA must list a single, specific school site at which the program will be provided.

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Docket: 07-543
Case name: AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen
Issue: Whether employers violate Title VII by not fully restoring service credit for pregnancy leaves taken before the 1978 passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. (Disclosure: Howe & Russell co-represents the respondent.)

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Docket: 07-562
Case name: Altria Group v. Good
Issue: 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.”

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Docket: 07-649
Case name: Chicago Title Insurance Corp. v. Magnuson
Issue: Whether the principles underlying the three punitive damages “guideposts” prevent a state from imposing punitive liability for certain conduct in the first instance. (Disclosure: Professor Laurence Tribe, an Akin Gump consultant, represents the petitioner.)

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Docket: 07-654
Case name: Jones v. Jennings
Issue: Whether a police officer who broke a resisting suspect’s ankle during an arrest was entitled to qualified immunity against an excessive force claim.

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Docket: 07-663
Case name: AK Steel Corporation Retirement Accumulation Pension Plan v. West
Issue: Whether AK Steel’s failure to use a “whipsaw calculation” when determining the value of lump sum distributions to early retirees caused a forfeiture of benefits in violation of ERISA.

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