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This Term’s pending cases

So far, the Court has decided fifty-three of its argued cases this Term, including all cases argued during the October Sitting. However, twenty-four argued cases are still pending, and are expected to 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. (Links to additional materials, including commentary and the briefs in the case, are available on our sister site, SCOTUSwiki; you can access them by clicking on the case name below.)


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.

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 Congress’s 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. PCAOB (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 SEC, 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 in which the jury did not find – nor did the district court instruct it that it had to find – that the defendants “reasonably contemplated identifiable economic harm,” and whether 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. §§ 1341 and 1346), the government must prove that the defendant violated a disclosure duty imposed by state law.


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.

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; and 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.

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.


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, when 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.  [Disclosure:  Akin Gump and Howe & Russell represent the petitioner in the case.]

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.

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.

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.


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, when 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.  [Disclosure:  Akin Gump and Howe & Russell represent the petitioner in the case.]

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.