In its Conference of May 12, 2016, the Court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether, for federal habeas purposes, California’s procedural rule generally barring review of claims that were available but not raised on direct appeal is an “adequate” state-law ground for rejection of a claim; whether execution of a condemned individual more than three-and-a-half decades after the imposition of a death sentence violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment; and whether a law prohibiting religiously motivated conduct violates the Free Exercise Clause when it exempts the same conduct when done for a host of secular reasons, has been enforced only against religious conduct, and has a history showing an intent to target religion.

15-789

Issue(s): (1) Whether, for federal habeas purposes, California’s procedural rule generally barring review of claims that were available but not raised on direct appeal is an “adequate” state-law ground for rejection of a claim; and (2) whether, when a federal habeas petitioner argues that a state procedural default is not an “adequate” state-law ground for rejection of a claim, the burden of persuasion as to adequacy rests on the habeas petitioner (as in the Fifth Circuit) or on the state (as in the Ninth and Tenth Circuits).

15-797

Issue(s): Whether it violates the Eighth Amendment and this Court’s decisions in Hall v. Florida and Atkins v. Virginia to prohibit the use of current medical standards on intellectual disability, and require the use of outdated medical standards, in determining whether an individual may be executed.

15-833

Issue(s): (1) Whether the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s presumption that a state decision rejecting a claim is a ruling on the merits can be rebutted by looking through to an earlier state ruling which applied a procedural bar that, under state law, could not be the basis for the later decision; and (2) whether, if so, a change in state law reducing a prisoner’s ability to earn future good-time credits based on new or continuing prison misconduct violates the Ex Post Facto Clause as applied to a prisoner who committed his underlying crime before the change in law.

15-861

Issue(s): (1) Whether Auer v. Robbins and Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co. should be overruled; and (2) whether, in affording deference to an agency’s interpretation of its own regulation that conflicts with the governing statute, regulations adopted through rulemaking, and decades of prior agency guidance, the Seventh Circuit’s decision conflicts with this Court’s decisions in Auer and Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp.

15-862

Issue(s): Whether a law prohibiting religiously motivated conduct violates the Free Exercise Clause when it exempts the same conduct when done for a host of secular reasons, has been enforced only against religious conduct, and has a history showing an intent to target religion.

 

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Andrew Hamm, Petitions to watch | Conference of May 12, SCOTUSblog (May. 11, 2016, 4:16 PM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2016/05/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-may-12/