This week we highlight petitions pending before the Supreme Court that address, among other things, whether a person can be “seized” under the Fourth Amendment when he is not confined to a particular space, in a case arising out of Officer Darren Wilson’s “move on” order to Dorian Johnson and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; and whether, in a case involving the mid-1930s purchase of artwork on behalf of a German state from a consortium of German Jews, an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act provides jurisdiction over claims that a foreign sovereign has violated international human-rights law when taking property from its own national within its own borders.

The petitions of the week are below the jump:

Johnson v. City of Ferguson, Missouri
19-345
Issue: Whether a person can be “seized” under the Fourth Amendment when he is not confined to a particular space.

AER Advisors Inc. v. Fidelity Brokerage Services, LLC
19-347
Issues: Whether the Bank Secrecy Act, 31 U.S.C. § 5318(g)(3)(A), confers (a) absolute immunity for any disclosure or (b) immunity only if the disclosure is an objectively “possible criminal violation,” is made in good faith, or is not fraudulent; and (2) whether in a diversity case, the transferee court, which is receiving jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (i.e., only because of witness convenience), must apply the law of the transferor court (including federal law allowing for an immunity defense), or the law of its own court.

Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp
19-351
Issues: (1) Whether the “expropriation exception” of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which abrogates foreign sovereign immunity when “rights in property taken in violation of international law are in issue,” provides jurisdiction over claims that a foreign sovereign has violated international human-rights law when taking property from its own national within its own borders, even though such claims do not implicate the established international law governing states’ responsibility for takings of property; and (2) whether the doctrine of international comity is unavailable in cases against foreign sovereigns, even in cases of considerable historical and political significance to the foreign sovereign, and even when the foreign nation has a domestic framework for addressing the claims.

City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton
19-357
Issue: Whether an entity that is passively retaining possession of property in which a bankruptcy estate has an interest has an affirmative obligation under the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay, 11 U.S.C § 362, to return that property to the debtor or trustee immediately upon the filing of the bankruptcy petition.

Smith v. United States
19-361
Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is counsel on a cert-stage amicus brief in support of the petitioners in this case. This listing occurs without regard to the likelihood that certiorari will be granted.
Issues: (1) Whether the government makes a good-faith effort to obtain a witness’s presence at trial if it curtails its search for that witness because it already has the witness’s deposition testimony; (2) whether the government makes a good-faith effort to obtain a witness’s presence at trial if it forgoes an “easy” investigative step that it has “reason to believe” would procure the absent witness; and (3) whether a witness is “unavailable” if the government releases the witness from its custody without making any arrangements to secure the witness’s presence at trial.

Posted in Johnson v. City of Ferguson, Missouri, AER Advisors Inc. v. Fidelity Brokerage Services, LLC, Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp, City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton, Smith v. U.S., Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Andrew Hamm, Petitions of the week, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 24, 2019, 10:00 AM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2019/10/petitions-of-the-week-67/