This edition of "Petitions to watch" features cases up for consideration at the Justices' November 5 conference.  These are petitions raising issues that Tom has determined have a reasonable chance of being granted, although we post them here without consideration of whether they present appropriate vehicles in which to decide those issues.

Ryan v. Robinson

Docket: 10-34
Issue(s): (1) Whether a state prisoner fairly presents his federal claim when he changes the legal theory of the federal claim he presented in state court; and (2) whether the opinion below created a new requirement, contrary to Supreme Court precedent, that triers of fact in capital cases must give weight to any proffered mitigation.

Certiorari stage documents:


The following petitions have been re-listed for the conference of November 5.  If any other paid petitions are re-distributed for this conference, we will add them below as soon as their re-distribution is noted on the docket.

DISCLOSURE: Akin Gump represents one of the parties in the case below; the case is listed here without regard to its chance of being granted.

National Football League v. Williams

Note: The following petition was filed by Akin Gump.
Docket: 09-1380
Issue(s): Whether, when federal subject matter jurisdiction is not in question, defenses that require analysis of a collective-bargaining agreement may substantively preempt state-law claims under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, or whether such defenses are instead categorically irrelevant to preemption analysis.

Certiorari stage documents:

Beer v. United States

Docket: 09-1395
Issue(s): Whether the Compensation Clause of Article III prevents Congress from withholding the future judicial salary adjustments established by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989.

Certiorari stage documents:

Alderman v. United States

Docket: 09-1555
Issue(s): Whether Scarborough v. United States (1977) recognizes a distinct Commerce Clause authority, beyond the three categories recognized in United States v. Lopez (1995), United States v. Morrison (2000), and Gonzales v. Raich (2005), such that a federal statute which “cannot be justified as a regulation of the channels of commerce, as a protection of the instrumentalities of commerce, or as a regulation of intrastate activity that substantially affects interstate commerce,” may be sustained based on a “minimal nexus” between the activity regulated and interstate commerce.

Certiorari stage documents:

Allen v. Lawhorn

Docket: 10-24
Issue(s): Whether a state court’s determination that trial counsel’s waiver of a penalty-phase closing argument did not prejudice the defendant is “contrary to” Supreme Court precedent.

Certiorari stage documents:

Wilson v. Corcoran

Docket: 10-91
Issue(s): Whether a state capital defendant has a constitutional right to a sentencing decision that is not informed by facts that are neither elements of his crime or aggravated circumstances authorized by statute, and, if so, whether a federal court may grant habeas relief based on its own finding that the state trial court improperly considered non-statutory factors when imposing its sentence.

Certiorari stage documents:

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Christa Culver, Petitions to watch | Conference of 11.05.10, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 4, 2010, 12:56 PM),