At its Conference on February 27, 2015, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as Article III standing in class actions, exemption from California’s campaign finance disclosure requirements, and the retroactive application of Miller v. Alabama.

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.

14-618

Issue(s): (1) Whether the Michigan courts' decision not to extend United States v. Cronic to cover counsel's brief absence from trial was an “extreme malfunction” entitling the petitioner to habeas relief; and (2) whether the Michigan courts reasonably determined that Donald had not shown Strickland v. Washington prejudice flowing from his counsel's brief absence in a multi-defendant case during the taking of evidence that did not inculpate his client.

14-577

Issue(s): (1) Whether the standing requirements of Article III apply to all members of a class certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23; and (2) whether certifying a class under Rule 23(b)(3) is improper where individualized damages issues predominate, and where plaintiffs rely exclusively on aggregate damages models that calculate damages purportedly incurred by the class as a whole, rather than by individual class members.

14-462
Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in this case.

Issue(s): Whether the California Court of Appeal erred by holding, in direct conflict with the Ninth Circuit, that a reference to state law in an arbitration agreement governed by the Federal Arbitration Act requires the application of state law preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.

14-434

Issue(s): (1) Whether petitioners’ First Amendment challenge seeking an exemption from California's campaign-finance disclosure requirements is moot regarding (a) expunging past records, or (b) preventing further release of those records where the “court can fashion some form of meaningful relief” by (a) “ordering the Government to destroy or return any and all copies it may have in its possession,” Church of Scientology of California v. United States, or (b) “preventing further [government] disclosure,” United States v. Sells Engineering; (2) whether, if moot, the exemption challenge is “within the . . . exception for cases capable of repetition, yet evading review,” Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life; (3) whether the exemption challenge is ripe regarding future disclosure; and (4) whether petitioners are entitled to an exemption from challenged disclosure provisions.

 

Relists

14-520

Issue(s): (1) Whether “primarily and unconditionally liable” spousal guarantors are unambiguously excluded from being Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) “applicants” because they are not integrally part of “any aspect of a credit transaction”; and (2) whether the Federal Reserve Board has authority under the ECOA to include by regulation spousal guarantors as “applicants” to further the purposes of eliminating discrimination against married women.

14-452

Issue(s): Whether the Eighth Amendment requires that a capital-sentencing jury be affirmatively instructed that mitigating circumstances “need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” as the Kansas Supreme Court held in this case, or instead whether the Eighth Amendment is satisfied by instructions that, in context, make clear that each juror must individually assess and weigh any mitigating circumstances.

14-361

Issue(s): Whether a conspiracy to commit extortion requires that the conspirators agree to obtain property from someone outside the conspiracy.

14-354

Issue(s): (1) Whether a government policy expressly excluding “religious worship services” from a broadly open forum violates the Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause; and (2) whether a government policy expressly excluding “religious worship services” from a broadly open forum violates the Free Speech Clause.

14-292

Issue(s): (1) Whether the former Texas special issues for death penalty sentencing do provide – as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held – or do not provide – as the Fifth Circuit has held – an appropriate vehicle for the jury to consider and give full effect to mitigating evidence of good character, such that failure to provide a separate question violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments under this Court’s jurisprudence in Penry v. Lynaugh and Penry v. Johnson; (2) whether a conviction aided by the prosecution's failure to produce evidence that contradicted its theory and showed that the evidence it did rely upon and the resulting jury arguments were false violates the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments under this Court's Brady v. Maryland jurisprudence; and (3) whether executing a defendant who has already served more than thirty years on death row while exercising his legal rights in a non-abusive manner serves any penological purpose and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

14-280

Issue(s): (1) Whether Miller v. Alabama adopts a new substantive rule that applies retroactively on collateral review to people condemned as juveniles to die in prison; and (2) whether the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to decide whether the Supreme Court of Louisiana correctly refused to give retroactive effect in this case to this Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama.

 

Posted in Featured, Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Maureen Johnston, Petitions to watch | Conference of February 27, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 26, 2015, 12:19 PM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2015/02/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-february-27/