Petitions We’re Watching

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Petitions Relisted for the Next Conference

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
18-460 Daniel v. U.S. (1) Whether the Feres doctrine bars service members, or their estates, from bringing claims for medical malpractice under the Federal Tort Claims Act when the medical treatment did not involved any military exigencies, decisions or considerations, and when the service member was not engaged in military duty or a military mission at the time of the injury or death; and (2) whether Feres should be overruled for medical malpractice claims brought under the Federal Tort claims Act when the medical treatment did not involve any military exigencies, decisions or considerations, and when the service member was not engaged in military duty or a military mission at the time of the injury or death.
18-483 Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc. (1) Whether a state may require health-care facilities to dispose of fetal remains in the same manner as other human remains, i.e., by burial or cremation; and (2) whether a state may prohibit abortions motivated solely by the race, sex or disability of the fetus and require abortion doctors to inform patients of the prohibition.
18-547 Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (1) Whether Oregon violated the free speech and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment by compelling the Kleins to design and create a custom wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding ritual in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs; (2) whether the Supreme Court should overrule Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith; and (3) whether the Supreme Court should reaffirm Smith’s hybrid-rights doctrine, applying strict scrutiny to free exercise claims that implicate other fundamental rights, and resolve the circuit split over the doctrine’s precedential status.
18-672 City of Newport Beach, California v. Vos (1) Whether Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires law enforcement officers to provide accommodations to an armed, violent and mentally ill suspect in the course of bringing the suspect into custody; (2) whether, under the Fourth Amendment “totality of the circumstances” analysis for assessing the reasonableness of force used against a suspect who attacks law enforcement officers, a court must take into account allegedly unreasonable police conduct that took place before the use of force, but foreseeably created the need to use that force; and (3) whether, under the Fourth Amendment’s analysis for use of force, a law enforcement officer’s interest in using deadly force against a suspect threatening an officer’s life is diminished if the assailant is mentally ill.
18-761 Dahne v. Richey Whether prison inmates have a First Amendment right to include threatening, abusive and irrelevant language in grievances.
18-921 Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan, Puerto Rico v. Feliciano Whether the First Amendment empowers courts to override the chosen legal structure of a religious organization and declare all of its constituent parts a single legal entity subject to joint and several liability.
18-7277 McGee v. McFadden (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit erred when it found no constitutional error when the state failed to disclose Brady evidence, a letter from a jailhouse snitch, until the post-trial hearing for a motion for a new trial; (2) whether the state and federal courts’ decisions were contrary to Giglio v. United States, United States v. Bagley, Brady v. Maryland and Napue v. Illinois when the state failed to disclose material impeachment evidence, a letter from a jailhouse snitch who testified that petitioner confessed to him; and (3) whether the state and federal courts erred in finding that trial counsel rendered effective assistance of counsel when he failed to interview Michael Jones and call him as a witness.

Featured Petitions

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
18-1097 SkyWest Inc. v. Hirst (1) Whether a state law is exempt from the dormant commerce clause merely because it does not discriminate against interstate commerce; and (2) whether a state law is exempt from the dormant commerce clause merely because Congress has passed a federal statute saving the law from pre-emption under that statute.
18-1086 Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc. v. Marcel Fashion Group Inc. Whether, when a plaintiff asserts new claims, federal preclusion principles can bar a defendant from raising defenses that were not actually litigated and resolved in any prior case between the parties.
18-1061 Graviss v. Department of Defense (1) Whether the 60-day period for seeking review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit under 5 U.S.C. § 7703(b)(1)(A) sets a jurisdictional bar, as the panel majority held, or prescribes a claim-processing rule subject to exceptions such as forfeiture, as the dissenting judges below maintained; and (2) whether the government forfeited its timeliness defense.
18-1052 Renteria v. U.S. (1) Whether the Constitution limits venue in criminal trials to those places where the defendant could reasonably foresee that an overt act would occur; and (2) whether 18 U.S.C. § 3237(a) limits venue in criminal trials regarding continuing offenses to those places when the defendant could reasonably foresee that an overt act would occur.
18-1049 Hoffman v. U.S. (1) Whether a federal court must grant a motion for judgment of acquittal when, construing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, evidence of guilt and innocence is evenly balanced; and (2) whether a conviction for mail or wire fraud must be vacated when it is based on claims for benefits under an ambiguous regulatory scheme and the defendant acted consistently with an objectively reasonable interpretation of that scheme.
18-1038 Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Co. v. U.S. 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.
18-1028 Moda Health Plan Inc. v. U.S. 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.
18-1023 Maine Community Health Options v. U.S. (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.
18-1019 Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc. Whether a state, consistent with the 14th Amendment, may require an ultrasound as part of informed consent at least eighteen hours before an abortion.
18-944 Tree of Life Christian Schools v. City of Upper Arlington, Ohio (1) Whether the court below applied the proper test for a Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act’s equal-terms claim; and (2) whether Tree of Life established a facial or as-applied equal-terms violation here.
18-938 Ritzen Group Inc. v. Jackson Masonry, LLC Whether an order denying a motion for relief from the automatic stay is a final order under 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1).
18-877 Allen v. Cooper Whether Congress validly abrogated state sovereign immunity via the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act in providing remedies for authors of original expression whose federal copyrights are infringed by states.
18-830 Township of Millburn v. Palardy Whether, and how, the Supreme Court’s two-step framework for evaluating First Amendment retaliation claims by public employees applies to a claim alleging retaliation based on an employee’s association with a public-sector union.
18-810 Maguire v. Edrei Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit erred in finding a potential constitutional violation for excessive force and denying the officers qualified immunity, particularly given that no case had addressed whether and when sound constitutes force, much less held that the use of an acoustic device crosses the line into constitutionally excessive force under circumstances resembling those here or, indeed, under any circumstances at all.
18-719 Uradnik v. Inter Faculty Organization Whether it violates the First Amendment to appoint a labor union to represent and speak for public-sector employees who have declined to join the union.
18-679 Hall v. Idaho (1) Whether certain of the “aggravating circumstances” used by Idaho to determine whether a defendant may be sentenced to death—those that ask whether the crime was especially “heinous, atrocious or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity”; whether the defendant exhibited “utter disregard for human life”; and whether the defendant “has exhibited a propensity to commit murder”—fail to provide sentencing juries with constitutionally adequate guidance; and (2) whether Idaho’s felony-murder aggravating circumstance, which substantially duplicates Idaho’s felony-murder statute, violates the constitutional requirement that Idaho sufficiently narrow the class of persons subject to the death penalty.
18-670 SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (1) Whether 12 U.S.C. § 4617(j)(3) applies to foreclosures of properties for which the Federal Housing Finance Authority holds a securitized mortgage solely as trustee for the security holders; and (2) whether a foreclosure sale in violation of 12 U.S.C. § 4617(j)(3) is void in its entirety, such that an unknowing purchaser can seek to unwind the deal, or whether the statute only prevents extinguishment of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s liens.
18-658 Doe v. Boyertown Area School District (1) Whether, given students’ constitutionally protected privacy interest in their partially clothed bodies, a public school has a compelling interest in authorizing students who believe themselves to be members of the opposite sex to use locker rooms and restrooms reserved exclusively for the opposite sex, and whether such a policy is narrowly tailored; and (2) whether the Boyertown policy constructively denies access to locker room and restroom facilities under Title IX “on the basis of sex,” 20 U.S.C. § 1681.
18-589 Nielsen v. Vidal (1) Whether the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy is judicially reviewable; and (2) whether DHS’s decision to wind down the DACA policy is lawful.
18-588 Trump v. NAACP (1) Whether the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy is judicially reviewable; and (2) whether DHS’s decision to wind down the DACA policy is lawful.
18-587 Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California (1) Whether the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy is judicially reviewable; and (2) whether DHS’s decision to wind down the DACA policy is lawful.
18-505 In re U.S. (1) Whether this suit is justiciable under article III; (2) whether this suit should be dismissed for failure to comply with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551, et seq.; and (3) whether this suit should be dismissed because there is no right to “a climate system capable of sustaining human life” under the due process clause or a public-trust doctrine.
18-309 Swartz v. Rodriguez (1) Whether the panel’s decision to create an implied remedy for damages under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the new context of a cross-border shooting misapplies Supreme Court precedent and violates the separation-of-powers principles, when foreign relations, border security and the extraterritorial application of the Fourth Amendment are some of the special factors that counsel hesitation against such an extension; and (2) whether, if the above “antecedent” question is answered in the negative, Agent Swartz is entitled to qualified immunity because there is no clearly established law applying the Fourth Amendment to protect a Mexican citizen, with no significant connection to the United States, who is injured in Mexico by a federal agent’s cross-border shooting.
18-106 Turner v. U.S. (1) Whether the Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches when the prosecutor conducts plea negotiations before the filing of a formal charge; and (2) whether the Sixth Amendment right to counsel attaches when a federal prosecutor conducts plea negotiations before the filing of a formal charge in federal court when the defendant has already been charged with the same offense in state court.
17-1678 Hernandez v. Mesa (1) Whether, when the plaintiffs plausibly allege that a rogue federal law enforcement officer violated clearly established Fourth and Fifth amendment rights for which there is no alternative legal remedy, the federal courts can and should recognize a damages claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics; and (2) whether, if the federal courts do not recognize such a claim, the Westfall Act violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment insofar as it pre-empts state-law torts suits for damages against rogue federal law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their employment for which there is no alternative legal remedy. CVSG: 04/11/2019.
17-1189 Torrez v. U.S. (1) Whether the categorical approach set forth in Taylor v. United States and its progeny applies to determine whether a defendant has “previously been convicted” of a relevant offense; (2) whether prior-conviction aggravators can be satisfied by convictions for conduct that occurred after the capital offense; and (3) whether the warrantless seizure and search of historical cell-site location information, revealing a cell-phone user’s location and movement over a prolonged period of time, violates the Fourth Amendment.

Calls for the Views of the Solicitor General

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
18-926 Putnam Investments, LLC v. Brotherston (1) Whether an ERISA plaintiff bears the burden of proving that “losses to the plan result[ed] from” a fiduciary breach, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th and 11th Circuits have held, or whether ERISA defendants bear the burden of disproving loss causation, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit concluded, joining the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 5th and 8th Circuits; and (2) whether, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit concluded, showing that particular investment options did not perform as well as a set of index funds, selected by the plaintiffs with the benefit of hindsight, suffices as a matter of law to establish “losses to the plan.”
18-817 Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. v. Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. Whether patents that claim a method of medically treating a patient automatically satisfy Section 101 of the Patent Act, even if they apply a natural law using only routine and conventional steps.
18-612 CSX Transportation Inc. v. Alabama Department of Revenue Whether, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit held, Alabama’s imposition of a motor-fuels tax on the fuel used by interstate motor carriers sufficiently justifies Alabama’s imposition of a facially discriminatory sales-and-use tax on railroad diesel fuel, notwithstanding decisions of the Supreme Court and at least one state supreme court.
18-600 Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions Inc. v. Renesas Electronics America Inc. Whether, under the Patent Act, an “offer[] to sell” occurs when the offer is actually made or when the offer contemplates that the proposed sale will take place.
18-581 Argentine Republic v. Petersen Energia Inversora S.A.U. Whether the “commercial activity” exception to sovereign immunity in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(2), is inapplicable to suits challenging conduct inextricably intertwined with a sovereign act of expropriation.
18-575 YPF S.A. v. Petersen Energia Inversora S.A.U. Whether the “commercial activity” exception to sovereign immunity in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(2), is inapplicable to suits challenging conduct inextricably intertwined with a sovereign act of expropriation.
18-540 Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit erred in holding that Arkansas’ statute regulating pharmacy benefit managers’ drug-reimbursement rates, which is similar to laws enacted by a substantial majority of states, is pre-empted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, in contravention of the Supreme Court’s precedent that ERISA does not pre-empt rate regulation.
18-486 Toshiba Corp. v. Automotive Industries Pension Trust Fund Whether the Securities Exchange Act applies, without exception, whenever a claim is based on a domestic transaction, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held below, or whether in certain circumstances the Exchange Act does not apply, despite the claim being based on a domestic transaction, because other aspects of the claim make it impermissibly extraterritorial, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit has held.
18-447 Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation Inc. Whether, and under what circumstances, a state can justifiably maintain a sales-and-use tax exemption for fuel used by vessels to transport goods interstate without extending the same exemption to rail carriers under 49 U.S.C. § 11501(b)(4).
18-415 HP Inc. v. Berkheimer Whether patent eligibility is a question of law for the court based on the scope of the claims or a question of fact for the jury based on the state of the art at the time of the patent.
18-349 Patterson v. Walgreen Co. (1) Whether an accommodation that merely lessens or has the potential to eliminate the conflict between work and religious practice is “reasonable” per se, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 4th and 11th Circuits hold; does it instead create a jury question, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 8th and 10th Circuits hold; or must an accommodation fully eliminate the conflict in order to be “reasonable” as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th and 9th Circuits hold; (2) whether speculation about possible future burdens is sufficient to meet the employer’s burden in establishing “undue hardship,” as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 5th, 6th and 11th Circuits hold, or must the employer demonstrate an actual burden, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 8th, 9th and 10th Circuits hold; and (3) whether the portion of TWA v. Hardison opining that “undue hardship” simply means something more than a “de minimis cost” should be disavowed or overruled.
18-164 First Solar Inc. v. Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme Whether a private securities-fraud plaintiff may establish the critical element of loss causation based on a decline in the market price of a security where the event or disclosure that triggered the decline did not reveal the fraud on which the plaintiff’s claim is based.
18-109 Ariosa Diagnostics Inc. v. Illumina Inc. Whether unclaimed disclosures in a published patent application and an earlier application it relies on for priority enter the public domain and thus become prior art as of the earlier application’s filing date, or, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held, does the prior art date of the disclosures depend on whether the published application also claims subject matter from the earlier application.
17-1712 Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A. (1) Whether an ERISA plan participant or beneficiary may seek injunctive relief against fiduciary misconduct under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3) without demonstrating individual financial loss or the imminent risk thereof; and (2) whether an ERISA plan participant or beneficiary may seek restoration of plan losses caused by fiduciary breach under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(2) without demonstrating individual financial loss or the imminent risk thereof.
17-1686 RPX Corp. v. ChanBond LLC Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit can refuse to hear an appeal by a petitioner from an adverse final decision in a Patent Office inter partes review on the basis of lack of a patent-inflicted injury-in-fact when Congress has (i) statutorily created the right to have the Director of the Patent Office cancel patent claims when the petitioner has met its burden to show unpatentability of those claims, (ii) statutorily created the right for parties dissatisfied with a final decision of the Patent Office to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and (iii) statutorily created an estoppel prohibiting the petitioner from again challenging the patent claims.
17-1534 Bank Markazi v. Peterson Whether a foreign sovereign’s property outside of the United States is entitled to sovereign immunity.
17-1530 Banca UBAE, S.p.A. v. Peterson Whether a federal appellate court is required to decide personal jurisdiction over a defendant when the record in the trial court and on appeal is complete, the parties briefed the issue in the trial court and on appeal, but the appellate court ignored the question.
17-1529 Clearstream Banking S.A. v. Peterson Whether foreign sovereign property held by a foreign financial intermediary in a foreign country may, under any circumstances, be subject to execution in United States courts.
17-1498 Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian (1) Whether a common-law claim for restoration seeking cleanup remedies that conflict with remedies the Environmental Protection Agency ordered is a jurisdictionally barred “challenge” to the EPA’s cleanup under 42 U.S.C. § 9613 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act; (2) whether a landowner at a Superfund site is a “potentially responsible party” that must seek EPA approval under 42 U.S.C. § 9622(e)(6) of CERCLA before engaging in remedial action, even if the EPA has never ordered the landowner to pay for a cleanup; and (3) whether CERCLA pre-empts state common-law claims for restoration that seek cleanup remedies that conflict with EPA-ordered remedies.
17-1406 Republic of Sudan v. Opati (1) Whether the term “extrajudicial killing” means a summary execution by state actors, as is consistent with international law and the statutory text, context and purpose of 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(a); (2) whether foreign sovereign immunity may be withdrawn for emotional distress claims brought by family members of victims under 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(a)(2)(A)(ii); (3) whether 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(c) provides the exclusive remedy for actions brought under 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(a), and forecloses state substantive causes of action previously asserted through the “pass-through” provision of 28 U.S.C. § 1606; (4) whether the statute of limitations contained in 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(b) is jurisdictional in nature and, if it is not, whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit should nonetheless have heard Sudan’s limitations defense asserted through its timely, direct appeal; and (5) whether the undisputed fact of civil war, internal strife and partitioning of Sudan into two counties constitutes excusable neglect or extraordinary circumstances for vacatur under Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
17-1268 Opati v. Republic of Sudan (1) Whether a party who knowingly and intentionally twice defaults; acts to delay, and not in good faith; and affirmatively elects not to contest a nonjurisdictional legal issue before judgment may nevertheless demonstrate “extraordinary” and “exceptional” circumstances warranting appellate review of the forfeited nonjurisdictional legal issue post-judgment; and (2) whether, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Republic of Austria v. Altmann, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act applies retroactively, thereby permitting recovery of punitive damages 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(c) against foreign states for terrorist activities occurring prior to the passage of the current version of the statute.
17-1236 Sudan v. Owens (1) Whether plaintiffs suing a foreign state bear a “lighter burden” in establishing the facts necessary for jurisdiction than in proving a case on the merits despite the Supreme Court’s holding to the contrary — at the urging of the Solicitor General and the Department of State — in Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne International Drilling Co.; (2) whether plaintiffs suing a foreign state can establish facts necessary for jurisdiction “based solely upon” the opinion testimony of so-called “terrorism experts,” when the record lacks admissible factual evidence sufficient to establish jurisdiction; and (3) whether plaintiffs’ failure to prove a foreign state “either specifically intended or directly advanced” a terrorist attack is “irrelevant to proximate cause and jurisdictional causation,” when (i) the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s “terrorism exception” establishes jurisdiction over a foreign state only when the foreign state provided material support “for” a specified act of terrorism, and (ii) proximate causation requires a “direct relationship” between the defendant’s conduct and the resultant injury.
17-1183 Airline Service Providers Association v. Los Angeles World Airports Whether the “market participant” exception to federal pre-emption allows a state or local government to impose an otherwise pre-empted rule on private companies even if the government is not procuring any good or service from them.
17-1175 Poarch Band of Creek Indians v. Wilkes Whether an Indian tribe is immune from civil liability for tort claims asserted by nonmembers.
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