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Cases on Clean Water Act and Voting Rights Act will headline October oral arguments

With two dozen cases from its 2021-22 term still undecided, the Supreme Court on Tuesday released the first argument calendar for its 2022-23 term. During the argument session that begins on Oct. 3, the justices will hear oral argument in important cases involving issues such as voting rights, the Clean Water Act, and a challenge to a California animal-welfare law.

The justices will kick off the argument session with Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, the case of an Idaho couple who have been prohibited from building a home on land they own near Priest Lake, Idaho, because their lot contained wetlands that qualify as “navigable waters” regulated by the Clean Water Act. The justices will decide whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit used the correct test to determine whether wetlands are “waters of the United States” for purposes of the Clean Water Act.

On Oct. 4, the justices will hear argument in Merrill v. Milligan (consolidated with Merrill v. Caster), a challenge to the congressional redistricting plan that Alabama adopted after the 2020 census. A federal court in January ordered the state to draw a new map with two majority-Black districts, concluding that the state’s original plan – which contained only one such district – likely violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in voting. But a divided Supreme Court put that order on hold in February, allowing the state to implement its original plan for the 2022 elections, and set the consolidated cases for oral argument in the fall.

The justices will hear arguments on only four days in October, rather than the usual six. The court will not convene on Oct. 6, which is Yom Kippur, or on Oct. 10, which is Columbus Day. Perhaps because of the abbreviated argument calendar, the court will hold a rare afternoon argument on Oct. 11, when it has scheduled three cases for argument, rather than the typical two.

Here is the full list of cases scheduled for the October argument session:

  • Sackett v. EPA (Oct. 3): Whether the 9th Circuit used the proper test to determine whether wetlands are “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.
  • Delaware v. Pennsylvania (Oct. 3): Whether unclaimed checks issued by MoneyGram Payment Systems should be returned to Delaware, where the company is headquartered, or instead are “money orders” or “similar written instruments” that under federal law should go to the states where they are purchased.
  • Merrill v. Milligan (Oct. 4): Whether Alabama’s 2021 congressional redistricting plan violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Arellano v. McDonough (Oct. 4): Whether the one-year filing deadline for veterans to submit disability claims after they are discharged can be extended for “good cause.”
  • Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway (Oct. 11): Whether the Constitution’s due process clause bars a state from requiring a corporation to consent to personal jurisdiction as a condition of doing business in the state.
  • Reed v. Goertz (Oct. 11): Whether a death-row inmate should have filed his federal civil rights lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a Texas law governing post-conviction DNA testing within two years of the trial court’s denial of his request for DNA testing, or whether the statute of limitations only began to run when all of the state-court litigation denying the request for DNA testing concluded.
  • National Pork Producers v. Ross (Oct. 11): Whether a California law that makes the sale of pork contingent on compliance with conditions that virtually no existing commercial farms meet violates the “dormant commerce” component of the Constitution’s commerce clause.
  • Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith (Oct. 12): What does it mean for a work of art to be “transformative” for purposes of fair use under the Copyright Act?
  • Helix Energy Solutions v. Hewitt (Oct. 12): Whether a supervisor making over $200,000 per year is entitled to retroactive overtime pay, despite a regulation that carves out an exemption for highly paid executives, because he was paid on a daily basis.

This article was originally published at Howe on the Court

Recommended Citation: Amy Howe, Cases on Clean Water Act and Voting Rights Act will headline October oral arguments, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 14, 2022, 4:03 PM),