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This Term’s pending cases

So far, the Court has decided 33 of its argued cases this Term, including (as of yesterday) all cases argued during the October Sitting. However, 44 argued cases are still pending, and will be decided before the end of the Term. Below the jump, you’ll find a list of all this Term’s outstanding cases (and the issues involved), organized by sitting.


Schwab v. Reilly (08-538)
Argued: Nov. 3, 2009
Issue: (1) Whether, when a debtor claims an exemption using a specific dollar amount that is equal to the value placed on the asset by the debtor, the exemption is limited to the specific amount claimed, or whether the numbers being equal operates to “fully exempt” the asset, regardless of its true value; and (2) whether, when a debtor claims an exemption using a specific dollar amount that is equal to the value placed on the asset by the debtor, a trustee who wishes to sell the asset must object to the exemptions within the thirty day period of Rule 4003, even though the amount claimed as exempt and the type of property are within the exemption statute.

Graham v. Florida (08-7412)
Argued: Nov. 9, 2009
Issue: Whether the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments prohibits the imprisonment of a juvenile for life without the possibility of parole as punishment for the juvenile’s commission of non-homicide.

Sullivan v. Florida (08-7621)
Argued: Nov. 9, 2009
Issue: Whether imposition of a life without parole sentence on a thirteen-year-old for a non-homicide violates the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, where the freakishly rare imposition of such a sentence reflects a national consensus on the reduced criminal culpability of children.

Bilski v. Kappos (08-964)
Argued: Nov. 9, 2009
Issue: Whether a “process” must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing (”machine-or-transformation” test), to be eligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and whether the “machine-or-transformation” test for patent eligibility, contradicts Congressional intent that patents protect “method[s] of doing business” in 35 U.S.C. § 273.


Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection (08-1151)
Argued: Dec. 2, 2009
Issue: Whether the state’s legislation to restore storm-eroded beaches along the ocean or lakeshores, modifying the private property boundary line, constitutes a judicial taking or violates the due process clause

Free Enterprise Fund and Beckstead and Watts, LLP v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (08-861)
Argued: Dec. 7, 2009
Issue: Whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is consistent with separation-of-powers principles – as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board  is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is in turn overseen by the President – or contrary to the Appointments Clause of the Constitution,  as the PCAOB members are appointed by the SEC.

Black v. United States (08-876)
Argued: Dec. 8, 2009
Issue: Whether the “honest services” clause of 18 U.S.C. § 1346 applies in cases where the jury did not find – nor did the district court instruct them that they had to find – that the defendants “reasonably contemplated identifiable economic harm,” and if the defendants’ reversal claim is preserved for review after they objected to the government’s request for a special verdict.

Weyhrauch v. United States (08-1196)
Argued: Dec. 8, 2009
Issue: Whether, to convict a state official for depriving the public of its right to the defendant’s honest services through the non-disclosure of material information, in violation of the mail-fraud statute (18 U.S.C. Sec. 1341 and 1346), the government must prove that the defendant violated a disclosure duty imposed by state law.


Alabama v. North Carolina (132 Original)
Argued: Jan. 11, 2010
Issue: Interstate dispute over enforcement of a regional pact on disposal of radioactive waste.

United States v. Comstock (08-1224)
Argued: Jan. 12, 2010
Issue: Whether Congress had the constitutional authority to enact 18 U.S.C. 4248, which authorizes court-ordered civil commitment by the federal government of (1) “sexually dangerous” persons who are already in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, but who are coming to the end of their federal prison sentences, and (2) “sexually dangerous” persons who are in the custody of the Attorney General because they have been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Abbott v. Abbott (08-645)
Argued: Jan. 12, 2010
Issue: Whether a ne exeat clause confers a “right of custody” within the meaning of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

American Needle, Inc. v. NFL (08-661)
Argued: Jan. 13, 2010
Issue: Whether NFLP, the NFL, and the teams functioned as a “single entity” when granting the company an exclusive headwear license and therefore could not violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, which requires proof of collective action involving “separate entities.”

Granite Rock Company v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters (08-1214)
Argued: Jan. 19, 2010
Issue: Whether a federal court has jurisdiction to determine collective bargaining agreement formation and whether a §301(a) action is available against a union that is not a direct signatory to the collective bargaining agreement.


Astrue v. Ratliff (08-1322)
Argued: Feb. 22, 2010
Issue: Whether an “award of fees and other expenses” under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. 2412(d) is payable to the “prevailing party” rather than to the prevailing party’s attorney, and therefore is subject to an offset for a pre-existing debt owed by the prevailing party to the United States.

Lewis v. City of Chicago (08-974)
Argued: Feb. 22, 2010
Issue: Whether, where an employer adopts an employment practice that discriminates against African Americans in violation of Title VII’s disparate impact provision, a plaintiff must file an EEOC charge within 300 days after the announcement of the practice, or whether the plaintiff may file a charge within 300 days after the employer’s use of the discriminatory practice.

Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project; Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder (08-1498 and 09-89)
Argued: Feb. 23, 2010
Issue: Whether 18 U.S.C. 2339B(a)(1), which prohibits the knowing provision of “any … service, … training, [or] expert advice or assistance,” to a designated foreign terrorist organization, is unconstitutionally vague; Whether the criminal prohibitions in 18 U.S.C. § 2339B(a)(1) on the provision of “expert advice or assistance” “derived from scientific [or] technical … knowledge” and “personnel” are unconstitutional with respect to speech that furthers only lawful, nonviolent activities of proscribed organizations.

United States v. O’Brien and Burgess (08-1569)
Argued: Feb. 23, 2010
Issue: Whether the mandatory minimum sentence enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) to a 30-year minimum when the firearm is a machinegun is an element of the offense that must be charged and proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, or instead a sentencing factor that may be found by a judge by the preponderance of the evidence.

Carr v. United States (08-1301)
Argued: Feb. 24, 2010
Issue: Whether a person may be criminally prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 2250 for failure to register when the defendant’s underlying offense and travel in interstate commerce both predated the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act’s enactment ; whether the Ex Post Facto Clause precludes prosecution under § 2250(a) of a person whose underlying offense and travel in interstate commerce both predated SORNA’s enactment.

United States v. Marcus (08-1341)
Argued: Feb. 24, 2010
Issue: Whether the Second Circuit departed from the Court’s interpretation of Rule 52(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure by adopting as the appropriate standard for plain-error review of an alleged ex post facto violation whether there is any possibility that the defendant could have been convicted based exclusively on conduct that took place before the enactment of the statutes in question.

Berghuis v. Thompkins (08-1470)
Argued: Mar. 1, 2010
Issue: Whether the Sixth Circuit expanded the Miranda rule to prevent an officer from attempting to non-coercively persuade a defendant to cooperate where the officer informed the defendant of his rights, the defendant acknowledged that he understood them, and the defendant did not invoke them but did not waive them.

Holland v. Florida (09-5327)
Argued: Mar. 1, 2010
Issue: Whether the Eleventh Circuit erred in denying equitable tolling to the defendant to excuse his late filing of his habeas petition, based on the conclusion that the late filing was due to “gross negligence” of counsel, while factors beyond “gross negligence” are required for equitable tolling; whether equitable tolling is available to toll the statute of limitation under the AEDPA.

Skilling v. United States (08-1394)
Argued: Mar. 1, 2010
Issue: Whether the federal “honest services” fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1346, requires the government to prove that the defendant’s conduct was intended to achieve “private gain” rather than to advance the employer’s interests, and, if not, whether § 1346 is unconstitutionally vague. Whether the government must rebut the presumption of jury prejudice, which arose because of pretrial publicity and community impact of the alleged conduct, and, if so, whether the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no juror was actually prejudiced.

McDonald v. City of Chicago (08-1521)
Argued: Mar. 2, 2010
Issue: Whether the Second Amendment is incorporated into the Due Process Clause or the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment so as to be applicable to the States, thereby invalidating ordinances prohibiting possession of handguns in the home.

Hui v. Castaneda (08-1529 and 08-1547)
Argued: Mar. 2, 2010
Issue: Whether 42 U.S.C. § 233(a) makes the Federal Tort Claims Act the exclusive remedy for claims arising from medical care and related functions provided by Public Health Service personnel, thus barring Bivens actions.

Samantar v. Yousuf (08-1555)
Argued: Mar. 3, 2010
Issue: Whether a foreign state’s immunity from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § 1604, extends to an individual acting in his official capacity on behalf of a foreign state and whether an individual who is no longer an official of a foreign state at the time suit is filed retains immunity for acts taken in the individual’s former capacity as an official acting on behalf of a foreign state.


Hamilton, Chapter 13 Trustee v. Lanning (08-998)
Argued: Mar. 22, 2010
Issue: Whether in calculating the debtor’s ‘projected disposal income’ during the plan period, the bankruptcy court may consider evidence suggesting that the debtor’s income or expenses during that period are likely to be different from her income or expenses during the pre-filing period.

Levin v. Commerce Energy, Inc. (09-223)
Argued: Mar. 22, 2010
Issue: Whether either the Tax Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1341, or comity principles bar federal court jurisdiction over a case alleging federal equal protection and dormant commerce clause claims when the plaintiffs do not challenge their own tax assessment and the relief sought is directed to specific tax exemptions or exclusions applicable to only four other taxpayers.

New Process Steel v. National Labor Relations Board (08-1457)
Argued: Mar. 23, 2010
Issue: Whether Section 3(b) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 153(b), authorizes the NLRB to act when only two of its five positions are filled, if the Board has previously delegated its full powers to a three-member group of the Board that includes the two remaining members; whether the NLRB have authority to decide cases with only two sitting members, where 29 U.S.C. § 153(b) provides that “three members of the Board shall, at all times, constitute a quorum of the Board.”

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha v. Regal-Beloit Corp.; Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Regal-Beloit Corp. (08-1553 and 08-1554)
Argued: Mar. 24, 2010
Issue: Whether the Carmack Amendment to the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, which governs certain rail and motor transportation by common carriers within the United States, 49 U.S.C. §§ 11706 (rail carriers) & 14706 (motor carriers), applies to the inland rail leg of an intermodal shipment from overseas when the shipment was made under a “through” bill of lading issued by an ocean carrier that extended the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30701.

Magwood v. Patterson (09-198)
Argued: Mar. 24, 2010
Issue: Whether, when a person is resentenced after having obtained federal habeas relief from an earlier sentence, a claim in a federal habeas petition challenging that new sentencing judgment is a “second or successive” claim under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b) if the petitioner could have challenged his previous sentence on the same constitutional grounds.

Morrison v. National Australia Bank (08-1191)
Argued: Mar. 29, 2010
Issue: Whether the judicially implied private right of action under Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 should, in the absence of any expression of congressional intent, be extended to permit fraud-on-the-market claims by a class of foreign investors who purchased, on a foreign securities exchange, foreign stock issued by a foreign company.

Renico v. Lett (09-338)
Argued: Mar. 29, 2010
Issue: Whether the Sixth Circuit erred in holding that the Michigan Supreme Court failed to apply clearly established precedent by denying habeas relief on double jeopardy grounds when the state trial court declared a mistrial after the foreperson said that the jury was not going to be able to reach a verdict.

Dillon v. United States (09-6338)
Argued: Mar. 30, 2010
Issue: (1) Whether the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are binding when a district court imposes a new sentence pursuant to a revised guideline range under 18 U.S.C. § 3582, and (2) whether during a § 3582(c)(2) sentencing, a district court is required to impose sentence based on an admittedly incorrectly calculated guideline range.

Barber v. Thomas (09-5201)
Argued: Mar. 30, 2010
Issue: Whether “term of imprisonment” in Section 212(a)(2) of the Sentencing Reform Act, enacting 18 U.S.C. 3624(b), unambiguously requires the computation of good time credits on the basis of the sentence imposed.

Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder (09-60)
Argued: Mar. 31, 2010
Issue: Whether a person convicted under state law for simple drug possession (a federal misdemeanor) has been “convicted” of an “aggravated felony” on the theory that he could have been prosecuted for recidivist simple possession (a federal felony), even though there was no charge or finding of a prior conviction in his prosecution for possession.

Robertson v. United States ex rel. Watson (08-6261)
Argued: Mar. 31, 2010
Issue: Whether an action for criminal contempt in a congressionally created court may constitutionally be brought in the name and pursuant to the power of a private person, rather than in the name and pursuant to the power of the United States.


Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (08-1371)
Argued: Apr. 19, 2010
Issue: Whether a public university law school may deny school funding and other benefits to a religious student organization because the group requires its officers and voting members to agree with its core religious viewpoints.

City of Ontario v. Quon (08-1332)
Argued: Apr. 19, 2010
Issue: (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.

Dolan v. United States (09-367)
Argued: Apr. 20, 2010
Issue: Whether a district court decision to enter a restitution order beyond the ninety-day time limit prescribed in 18 U.S.C. § 3664(d)(5) must be vacated.

Krupski v. Costa Crociere (09-337)
Argued: Apr. 21, 2010
Issue: Whether Fed. R. Cir. P. 15(c)(1)(C) – which permits an amended complaint to “relate back,” for limitation purposes, when the amendment corrects a “mistake concerning the proper party’s identity” – permits “mistakes” where the plaintiff had imputed knowledge of the identity of the added defendant prior to filing suit.

Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co. (09-448)
Argued Apr. 26, 2010
Issue: (1) Whether ERISA § 502(g)(1) provides a district court with discretion to award reasonable attorney’s fees only to a prevailing party; and (2) whether a party is entitled to attorney’s fees pursuant to § 502(g)(1) when she persuades a district court that a violation of ERISA has occurred, successfully secures a judicially ordered remand requiring a redetermination of entitlement to benefits, and subsequently receives the benefits sought on remand.

Rent-a-Center v. Jackson (09-497)
Argued: Apr. 26, 2010
Issue: Whether the district court is in all cases required to determine claims that an arbitration agreement subject to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) is unconscionable, even when the parties to the contract have clearly and unmistakably assigned this “gateway” issue to the arbitrator for decision.

Monsanto Company v. Geerston Seed Farms (09-475)
Argued: Apr. 27, 2010
Issue: (1) Whether plaintiffs under the National Environmental Policy Act are specially exempt from the requirement of showing a likelihood of irreparable harm to obtain an injunction; (2) whether a district court may enter an injunction sought to remedy a NEPA violation without conducting an evidentiary hearing sought by a party to resolve genuinely disputed facts directly relevant to the appropriate scope of the requested injunction; and (3) whether the Ninth Circuit erred when it affirmed a nationwide injunction that sought to remedy a NEPA violation based on only a remote possibility of reparable harm.

Doe v. Reed (09-559)
Argued: Apr. 28, 2010
Issue: (1) Whether the First Amendment right to privacy in political speech, association, and belief requires strict scrutiny when a state compels public release of identifying information about petition signers; and (2) whether compelled public disclosure of identifying information about petition signers is narrowly tailored to a compelling interest.