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Petitions to Watch | Conference of 12.4.09

This edition of “Petitions to Watch” features cases up for consideration at the Justices’ next private conference on Friday, December 4.  As always, it lists the petitions on the Court’s paid docket that Tom has deemed to have a reasonable chance of being granted.  Links to all previous editions are available in our SCOTUSwiki archive.

Docket: 08-1332; 08-1472
Title: USA Mobility Wireless, Inc. v. Quon; USA Mobility Wireless, Inc. v. Quon
Issues: 08-1332: (1) Whether a SWAT team member has a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages transmitted on his SWAT pager, where the police department has an official no-privacy policy but a non-policymaking lieutenant announced an informal policy of allowing some personal use of the pagers; (2) Whether individuals who send text messages to a SWAT team member’s SWAT pager have a reasonable expectation that their messages will be free from review by the recipient’s government employer.

08-1472: Whether a service provider is liable as a matter of law under the Stored Communications Act for disclosing to a subscriber of the service the contents of communications stored on the provider’s computers, without the consent of the sender or recipient of the message.

Docket: 09-274
Title: Ryan v. Scott
Issues: (1) Can the application of a state procedural rule be characterized as “inadequate” under the adequate-state-ground doctrine–and therefore unenforceable on federal habeas corpus review–based upon one Arizona appellate case that involved the application of a different rule to different factual and procedural circumstances? (2) Can a federal habeas court refuse to consider a state’s procedural requirement that issues
be raised in the body of a brief, rather than in an appendix, in determining whether a petitioner has fairly presented his claims to the state’s courts?

Docket: 09-395
Title: Ricci v. Kamienski
Issues: What is the standard of review for a federal appellate court analyzing a sufficiency-of-evidence claim in a habeas petition under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, 28 U.S.C. §2254(d)(1)?