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Relist watch

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relisted cases.

It’s official!  The world is going to Hell in a handbasket.  Let’s review:  Last week, every American worker (plus a few million Canadians) lost his job; the political future of Italy fell into the hands of Beppe the Clown; the world’s one remaining reserve currency suffered a devastating devaluation; and then, somehow, things got even worse.  Thankfully, amid all this turmoil stood the bulwark of One First Street, where, nearly without fail, cert. petitions go in, cert. denials come out, getting us the closest we’ll ever come to a Zen-like harmonious rhythm without a sponge, some wax, and an inscrutable maintenance man.

Proving that the ninety seconds you spend skimming Relist Watch each week is not a complete waste of time, Monday’s lone grant was again from the ranks of the relisted.  Congratulations to the petitioner in one-time relist Walden v. Fiore, 12-574.  As discussed last week, Walden is the case of the Atlanta law enforcement official who allegedly “expressly aimed” to keep, as civilly forfeited, $97,000 in cash a couple of professional gamblers were taking back to Vegas, and in doing so, according to the Ninth Circuit and the respondents, opened himself up to being sued in a Bivens action in Nevada despite having no other ties to that state.  Good thing they weren’t headed to Kim Jong-un’s poker tourney.  [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, serves as counsel to the respondents in this case.]  And I guess congratulations are in order for the respondents in Crawley v. Minnesota, 12-698 (the First Amendment case involving R.A.V. v. St. Paul), and Lyons v. Mitchell, 11-9843 (the habeas case “essentially the same” as Johnson v. Williams, 11-465) – both one-time relists in which the Court denied cert. yesterday.

Unable to find a job and with student loans to pay, the rest of last week’s relists are staying at the Court a little while longer.  This includes the notorious layabout Marshall v. Rodgers, 12-382, back for its sixth relist.  That Ninth Circuit state-on-top habeas case is beginning to look ripe for an opinion respecting the denial of cert. – and the point at which I make that prediction is usually when the Court grants cert.  Also still bumming off the Clerk’s Office are two more state-on-top habeas cases, the euphonious Wolfenbarger v. Foster, 12-420, and the more staccato Ryan v. James, 12-11, both one-time relists out of the increasingly indistinguishable Sixth and Ninth Circuits.

One new relist this week.  Drawing amicus support from the Sierra Club as well as the island municipality of Vieques, Puerto Rico – famous for its crystal-clear waters, sweeping vistas, and the occasional deposit of depleted uraniumSanchez v. United States, 12-335, concerns the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1).  A group of several thousand Vieques residents filed suit against the United States seeking damages under the FTCA for harm to their health and property because of acts taken by the Navy back when it owned three-quarters of the island and used it for weapons training and testing.  The district court tossed out the suit based on the FTCA’s discretionary function exception, and the First Circuit affirmed – with mainlander Judges Lynch and Howard in the majority and San Juan-based Judge Torruella dissenting “in the strongest of terms.”  Petitioners claim that the First Circuit “has invented an entirely new exception” to the FTCA’s waiver of sovereign immunity that is out of step with the rule adopted by other circuits.

(There’s one other nominal relist, Reeves v. United States, 12-8543, that concerns the retroactive application of Padilla v. Kentucky, an issue the Court recently resolved in Chaidez v. United States, 11-820Reeves is thus likely just a “released hold” that was briefly delayed while the Court considers two supplemental briefs petitioner filed shortly before Conference.  Because the government has not been required to file a response, Mr. Reeves seems unlikely to get any relief more potent than a GVR.)

That’s all for now.  The Court will not be conferencing this week, meaning you get a week off from Relist Watch and we get to attend to other pressing matters.  See you back after the Ides of March, by which time spring may actually have sprung.

Thanks to Eric White for compiling and drafting this update.

[page]12-355[/page] (relisted after the March 1 Conference)

[page]12-420[/page] (relisted after the February 22 and March 1 Conferences)


[page]12-11[/page] (relisted after the February 22 and March 1 Conferences)


[page]12-382[/page] (relisted after the January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15, February 22, and March 1 Conferences)

Recommended Citation: John Elwood, Relist watch, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 5, 2013, 4:01 PM),