Breaking News

Relist Watch: The lockdown continues

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists.

It’s to be expected that the sixth week of quarantine will feel like a low point. All the time with your family is making things tense; eating at home is getting monotonous; the days cooped up inside are beginning to blend together; and without any structure, things are starting to go off the rails.

The lockdown may be having its impact at the Supreme Court too. Until this week, the court had granted only one petition since social distancing began (in a case brought by the most successful of petitioners, the federal government). It’s hard to know because there’s a fair amount of variability in grant rates, but it may be that uncertainty about how the court will resolve cases when oral argument is complicated by social distancing has caused it to be more picky about which cases it takes.

Whatever the cause, the court granted cert in just one of the relisted cases this week. Van Buren v. United States, 19-783, involves an important issue that created a long-running circuit split: whether a person who is authorized to access information on a computer for certain purposes violates Section 1030(a)(2) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act if he accesses the same information for an improper purpose.

The court denied cert in two repeat relists. Two-time relist Robinson v. Department of Education, 19-512, involved whether the general civil enforcement provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act waive the federal government’s sovereign immunity for FCRA civil enforcement suits. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from denial, joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, saying the court should weigh in to address an acknowledged split among three circuits that could “have a significant impact on the public fisc.” The court denied review without comment in six-time relist The Rams Football Company, LLC v. St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, 19-672, which involved the arbitrability of a dispute over the professional football team’s decamping from St. Louis in favor of Los Angeles. I suspect that someone was writing an opinion and gave up in the face of opposition, but that could just be my quarantinefevered imagination. In any event, the denial of review is good news for the St. Louis convention authority.

That brings us to this week’s new relists. There were this many. Again, it may just be the luck of the draw, or the court might be feeling extra picky.

That’s all for now. We’ll be back again next week. Stay classy!


New Relists


Weren’t you paying attention?


Returning Relists


Andrus v. Texas, 18-9674

Issue: Whether the standard for assessing ineffective assistance of counsel claims, announced in Strickland v. Washington, fails to protect the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial and the 14th Amendment right to due process when, in death-penalty cases involving flagrantly deficient performance, courts can deny relief following a truncated “no prejudice” analysis that does not account for the evidence amassed in a habeas proceeding and relies on a trial record shaped by trial counsel’s ineffective representation.

(rescheduled before the November 1, 2019, and November 8, 2019, conferences; relisted after the November 15, 2019, November 22, 2019, December 6, 2019, December 13, 2019, January 10, January 17, January 24, February 21, February 28, March 6, March 20, March 27, April 3 and April 17 conferences)


United States v. California, 19-532

Issue: Whether provisions of California law that, with certain limited exceptions, prohibit state law-enforcement officials from providing federal immigration authorities with release dates and other information about individuals subject to federal immigration enforcement, and restrict the transfer of aliens in state custody to federal immigration custody, are preempted by federal law or barred by intergovernmental immunity.

(relisted after the January 10, January 17, March 6, March 20, March 27, April 3 and April 17 conferences)

Recommended Citation: John Elwood, Relist Watch: The lockdown continues, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 22, 2020, 9:06 AM),