Petitions of the week
This week we highlight petitions pending before the Supreme Court that address, among other things, the constitutionality of requiring an ultrasound as part of informed consent before an abortion, the standard for establishing that a statement is a true threat unprotected by the First Amendment, and whether Congress can abrogate a statutory promise to pay by limiting the availability of appropriations.
The petitions of the week are:
Issue: Whether, to establish that a statement is a true threat unprotected by the First Amendment, the government must show that a “reasonable person” would regard the statement as a sincere threat of violence, or whether it is enough to show only the speaker‘s subjective intent to threaten.
Issue: Whether a state, consistent with the 14th Amendment, may require an ultrasound as part of informed consent at least eighteen hours before an abortion.
Issues: (1) Whether—given the “cardinal rule” disfavoring implied repeals, which applies with “especial force” to appropriations acts and requires that repeal not to be found unless the later enactment is “irreconcilable” with the former—an appropriations rider whose text bars the agency’s use of certain funds to pay a statutory obligation, but does not repeal or amend the statutory obligation, and is thus not inconsistent with it, can nonetheless be held to impliedly repeal the obligation by elevating the perceived “intent” of the rider (drawn from unilluminating legislative history) above its text, and the text of the underlying statute; and (2) whether—when the federal government has an unambiguous statutory payment obligation, under a program involving reciprocal commitments by the government and a private company participating in the program—the presumption against retroactivity applies to the interpretation of an appropriations rider that is claimed to have impliedly repealed the government’s obligation.
Issue: Whether Congress can evade its unambiguous statutory promise to pay health insurers for losses already incurred simply by enacting appropriations riders restricting the sources of funds available to satisfy the government’s obligation.
Issue: Whether a temporary cap on appropriations availability from certain specified funding sources may be construed, based on its legislative history, to abrogate retroactively the government’s payment obligations under a money-mandating statute, for parties that have already performed their part of the bargain under the statute.