At its Conference on October 31, 2014, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as a judge’s mandatory duty of self-disqualification under the federal recusal statute, proof of causation in an antitrust action, and the availability of federal tax subsidies to individuals who purchase health insurance on an exchange operated by the federal government.

This edition of “Petitions to watch” features petitions raising issues that Tom has determined to 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.  Our policy is to include and disclose all cases in which Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents either a party or an amicus in the case, with the exception of the rare cases in which Goldstein & Russell represents the respondent(s) but does not appear on the briefs in the case.

14-281

Issue(s): Whether a state's reduction of medical benefits to some categories of legal aliens but not others, conducted within the discretion afforded to the states by Congress under the cooperative Medicaid program, is subject only to rational-basis review when it is challenged as a denial of equal protection.

14-191

Issue(s): (1) Whether, under this Court's decision in Martinez v. Ryan, post-conviction counsel's ineffectiveness can provide cause to excuse the procedural default of an ineffective-assistance-of-appellate-counsel claim, or whether Martinez v. Ryan is limited to excusing only the default of a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel; and (2) whether, under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), a state-court adjudication of a judicial-bias claim is per se unreasonable under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2) merely because the allegedly biased judge rules on the claim based on facts within her knowledge without first conducting an evidentiary hearing, or whether a federal court must grant AEDPA deference to the judge's determination when the evidence in the state-court record supports it.

14-132

Issue(s): Whether this Court has “clearly established,” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), that where a state appellate court concludes certain pretrial statements should have been excluded from the prosecution’s case under Miranda v. Arizona, the court’s harmless error analysis must ignore the fact that the defendant also took the stand at trial and admitted the conduct involved in the offense.

14-114

Issue(s): Whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

14-110

Issue(s): Whether, in antitrust or other cases in which the plaintiff must prove causation in fact as an element of the claim, a plaintiff must produce evidence of causation to defeat a motion for summary judgment, or whether a court may instead presume causation at summary judgment and permit the case to proceed to trial based on that presumption.

14-95

Issue(s): Whether Herring v. New York clearly establishes that a limitation on closing argument is structural error, as the Ninth Circuit held here, or, whether, as many other courts have held, Herring allows the possibility that such a limitation is subject to harmless error review.

14-77

Issue(s): Whether, under 28 U.S.C. § 455(b), the federal recusal statute, a federal judge is relieved of his mandatory statutory duty of self-disqualification simply because neither party filed a timely motion to disqualify the judge.

14-71

Issue(s): (1) Whether the Third Circuit erred in concluding, contrary to the decisions of this Court and the law in the Second, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits, that a trustee in bankruptcy can settle the tort claims of those injured by a company that filed for bankruptcy when the debtor company could neither bring the claim at the commencement of the bankruptcy nor was injured in any way by the underlying allegations; and (2) whether the Third Circuit erred in concluding, contrary to the law in the First, Ninth, and Federal Circuits, that a claim is general and belongs to the estate simply because other claimants could take advantage of a finding of successor liability, rather than finding it is specific and can go forward because it is unique to these plaintiffs.

14-56

Issue(s): Whether a disparate-treatment claim under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., that challenges a facially nondiscriminatory law on the ground that the law nevertheless intentionally discriminates on the basis of disability can prevail absent proof of discriminatory effects.

13-1520
Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among counsel to the amicus curiae in this case.

Issue(s): (1) Whether the First Amendment or Jones v. Wolf requires courts to enforce express trusts recited in general-church governing documents (as some jurisdictions hold), or whether such a trust is enforceable only when it would otherwise comply with state law (as others hold); (2) whether retroactive application of the neutral-principles approach infringes free-exercise rights; and (3) whether the neutral-principles approach endorsed in Jones remains a constitutionally viable means of resolving church-property disputes, especially in light of Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC.

13-1162

Issue(s): (1) Whether the False Claims Act’s pre-2010 “public-disclosure bar,” 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4) (2009), prohibits claims that are “substantially similar” to prior public disclosures, or instead bars a claim only if the plaintiff’s knowledge “actually derives” from prior disclosures; (2) whether the False Claims Act’s “first-to-file” bar, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(5), precludes a later-filed action that is based on the same facts as an earlier-filed action only so long as the earlier case is still pending; and (3) whether the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3287, suspends the limitations period for civil claims, such as a False Claims Act claim brought by a private party.

 

Relists

14-212

Issue(s): (1) Whether, when a police officer approaches a residence to conduct a “knock and talk,” the Fourth Amendment requires the officer to go to the “front door” even where it reasonably appears that some other entrance is also customarily used by visitors; and (2) whether the court of appeals erred in holding that such a rule was “clearly established” for purposes of qualified immunity.

13-1516

Issue(s): Whether it is an “adverse employment action” for a discrimination claim, or a “materially adverse action” for a retaliation claim, when an employer grants an employee’s request for a job transfer.

13-1504

Issue(s): (1) Whether compelling a noncommercial pro-life speaker to declare it lacks a medical license passes strict scrutiny; and (2) whether a compelled speech law is unconstitutionally vague if the city can deem speakers as needing to comply, because of their “appearance,” without any ability for the speaker to know whether it must comply.

13-1433

Issue(s): (1) Whether a state court that considers the evidence presented at a petitioner’s penalty phase proceeding as determinative of the petitioner’s claim of mental retardation under Atkins v. Virginia has based its decision on an unreasonable determination of facts under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2); and (2) whether a state court that denies funding to an indigent petitioner who has no other means of obtaining evidence of his mental retardation has denied petitioner his “opportunity to be heard,” contrary to Atkins and Ford v. Wainwright and his constitutional right to be provided with the “basic tools” for an adequate defense, contrary to Ake v. Oklahoma.

13-1318

Issue(s): (1) Whether a federal complaint is subject to dismissal when it fails to cite the statute authorizing the cause of action; (2) whether the lower federal courts have authority to create pleading requirements for complaints when those requirements are not contained in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and (3) whether a federal complaint should be dismissed when it alleges the elements of a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim, but does not cite 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

 

CVSG

22o142

Issue(s): Whether Florida is entitled to equitable apportionment of the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin and appropriate injunctive relief against Georgia to sustain an adequate flow of fresh water into the Apalachicola Region. CVSG: 09/18/2014.

Posted in Featured, Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Maureen Johnston, Petitions to watch | Conference of October 31, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 28, 2014, 4:30 PM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2014/10/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-october-31/