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Petitions We’re Watching

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Petitions Relisted for the Next Conference

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
19-1388 Small v. Memphis Light, Gas & Water Whether Trans World Airlines Inc. v. Hardison, which stated that employers suffer an “undue hardship” in accommodating an employee’s religious exercise whenever doing so would require them “to bear more than a de minimis cost,” misinterprets 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(j) – which specifies that “‘religion’ includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business” – and should be overruled.
19-1392 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (1) Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional; (2) whether the validity of a pre-viability law that protects women's health, the dignity of unborn children and the integrity of the medical profession and society should be analyzed under Planned Parenthood v. Casey's "undue burden" standard or Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt's balancing of benefits and burdens; and (3) whether abortion providers have third-party standing to invalidate a law that protects women's health from the dangers of late-term abortions.
19-1461 Dalberiste v. GLE Associates Inc. Whether the Supreme Court should reconsider Trans World Airlines Inc. v. Hardison and set a proper legal standard for determining what constitutes an "undue hardship" under Title VII.
20-97 Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross (1) Whether, in conflict with the holdings of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 5th and 11th Circuits and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the Antiquities Act applies to ocean areas beyond United States’ sovereignty where the federal government has only limited regulatory authority; and (2) whether the president can evade the Antiquities Act’s “smallest area” requirement, including designating ocean monuments larger than most states, by vaguely referencing “resources” or an “ecosystem” as the objects to be protected.
20-101 Harris v. Maryland Whether, when preindictment delay has caused actual prejudice to the accused’s ability to defend himself, the due process clause requires that the defendant prove that the delay was driven by an improper prosecutorial motive, or that courts balance the particular prejudice to the defendant against the particular reasons (or lack thereof) for the delay.
20-197 Biden v. Knight First Amendment Institute Whether the First Amendment deprives a government official of his right to control his personal Twitter account by blocking third-party accounts if he uses that personal account in part to announce official actions and policies.
20-287 Johnson v. Precythe (1) Whether Bucklew v. Precythe established a categorical rule that a state may obtain dismissal of an Eighth Amendment method-of-execution claim by proffering a reason for rejecting the plaintiff’s opposed alternative method of execution that is legitimate in the abstract, regardless of whether the plaintiff has plausibly alleged that the state’s proffered reason is not legitimate or sufficient on the facts of the case; and (2) whether, in the alternative, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit’s refusal to permit Ernest Johnson, after the Supreme Court’s decision in Bucklew was issued, to amend his complaint to propose a previously-used alternative method of execution warrants summary reversal.
20-317 Chavis v. Delaware Whether the confrontation clause permits DNA evidence obtained as the result of a multi-analyst testing process to be introduced against the defendant at trial through one of the testing analysts who has no personal knowledge of the basis for the out-of-court testimonial statements made by the other nontestifying analysts who participated in the testing.
20-443 U.S. v. Tsarnaev (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit erred in concluding that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capital sentences must be vacated on the ground that the district court, during its 21-day voir dire, did not ask each prospective juror for a specific accounting of the pretrial media coverage that he or she had read, heard or seen about Tsarnaev’s case; and (2) whether the district court committed reversible error at the penalty phase of Tsarnaev’s trial by excluding evidence that Tsarnaev’s older brother was allegedly involved in different crimes two years before the offenses for which Tsarnaev was convicted.
20-633 Smith v. Titus Whether the Sixth Amendment’s public trial guarantee, within the review apparatus imposed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, applies (1) to all phases of a defendant’s criminal trial; or (2) only to pretrial suppression hearings and juror voir dire.
20-659 Thompson v. Clark (1) Whether the rule that a plaintiff must await favorable termination before bringing a Section 1983 action alleging unreasonable seizure pursuant to legal process requires the plaintiff to show that the criminal proceeding against him has “formally ended in a manner not inconsistent with his innocence,” as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit decided in Laskar v. Hurd, or that the proceeding “ended in a manner that affirmatively indicates his innocence,” as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit decided in Lanning v. City of Glens Falls; and (2) whether, when a Section 1983 plaintiff brings a Fourth Amendment claim for unlawful warrantless entry of his home and the government pursues a justification of exigent circumstances, the government has the burden to prove exigency existed (as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 10th Circuits have held), or whether the plaintiff has to prove its non-existence (as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th and 8th Circuits have held).
20-711 City of Fairbanks, Alaska v. Roberts Whether vacatur of a conviction by settlement qualifies as a favorable termination under Heck v. Humphrey when the vacatur was merely the ministerial recognition of a settlement agreement between respondents and the state.
20-5344 Taylor v. Illinois Whether a defendant is denied his Sixth Amendment right to be confronted with the witnesses against him when a court admits into evidence a certified autopsy report, without requiring the state to present the testimony of the author, and the state then relies on the author’s observations, not just to show cause of death, but as the sole evidence supporting its argument that the defendant fired two shots, when the defendant consistently denies firing two shots, when his denial is supported by each eyewitness and the physical evidence and when the state’s two-shot theory is crucial to its argument that the defendant committed knowing murder and not a lesser offense.
22O153 Texas v. California Whether California’s sanctions against Texas and Texans – prohibiting state-funded or state-sponsored travel to Texas because Texas protects the religious freedom of faith-based child welfare providers within its borders – are born of religious animus and violate the Constitution’s privileges and immunities clause, interstate commerce clause and guarantee of equal protection. CVSG: 12/4/2020.

Petitions We’re Watching for the Next Conference

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
20-796 City of New York v. Department of Justice Whether Congress authorized the Department of Justice to condition funding for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program — which sets aside funds for state and local criminal justice priorities — on acceptance of DOJ’s new requirements that state and local government grant recipients (1) respond to ad hoc requests from federal officials for the release dates of non-citizens in grantees’ custody, (2) provide federal agents with access to grantees’ jails and police stations in order to question suspected non-citizens, and (3) certify compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, which purports to prohibit state and local governments from regulating when their employees may share information with federal officials regarding a person’s citizenship or immigration status.
20-795 New York v. Department of Justice Whether Congress authorized the Department of Justice to condition funding for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program — which sets aside funds for state and local criminal justice priorities — on acceptance of DOJ’s new requirements that state and local government grant recipients (1) respond to ad hoc requests from federal officials for the release dates of non-citizens in grantees’ custody, (2) provide federal agents with access to grantees’ jails and police stations in order to question suspected non-citizens, and (3) certify compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, which purports to prohibit state and local governments from regulating when their employees may share information with federal officials regarding a person’s citizenship or immigration status.
20-794 Servotronics Inc. v. Rolls-Royce PLC Whether the discretion granted to district courts in 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a) to render assistance in gathering evidence for use in “a foreign or international tribunal” encompasses private commercial arbitral tribunals, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th and 6th Circuits have held, or excludes such tribunals without expressing an exclusionary intent, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 5th and, in the case below, the 7th Circuit, have held.
20-666 Wilkinson v. City and County of San Francisco, California (1) Whether the Department of Justice has statutory authority to impose notice and access conditions on grantees that accept Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant awards, a program that provides millions of dollars in financial assistance to law enforcement; and (2) whether the department may withhold Byrne JAG funds from the city and county of San Francisco, California for noncompliance with 8 U.S.C. 1373, which generally bars state and local governments from restricting the sharing of “information regarding the citizenship or immigration status ... of any individual” with federal immigration authorities.
20-481 GE Capital Retail Bank v. Belton Whether provisions of the Bankruptcy Code providing for a statutorily enforceable discharge of a debtor’s debts impliedly repeal the Federal Arbitration Act.

Featured Petitions

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
20-1180 Territory of American Samoa v. National Marine Fisheries Service Whether the Deeds of Cession, by which the territory of American Samoa became part of the United States, establish binding and enforceable obligations on the United States and its agencies.
20-1174 Lippard v. Holleman Whether the First Amendment’s religion clauses prohibit courts from hearing defamation claims that arise from ecclesiastical settings, even when the claims can be resolved using neutral principles of law.
20-1163 Gloucester County School Board v. Grimm Whether Title IX or the equal protection clause require schools to let transgender students use multi-user restrooms designated for the opposite biological sex, even when single-user restrooms are available for all students regardless of gender identity.
20-1162 Maine Community Health Options v. U.S. Whether the government is required to pay insurers the full amount of the cost-sharing reduction payments required by the unambiguous shall-pay language of Section 1402 of the Affordable Care Act.
20-1148 Sellers v. McDonough Whether, when a veteran has submitted an application for disability benefits, the veteran’s claim encompasses all reasonably identifiable conditions within the veteran’s service records.
20-1143 Badgerow v. Walters Whether federal courts have subject-matter jurisdiction to confirm or vacate an arbitration award under Sections 9 and 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act when the only basis for jurisdiction is that the underlying dispute involved a federal question.
20-1141 Doe Company v. U.S. (1) Whether an appealing party’s substantial interest in a disclosure order directing a disinterested third party to produce documents provides appellate jurisdiction under Perlman v. United States, when that interest will be lost absent immediate appellate review; and (2) whether a federal court lacks specific personal jurisdiction to enforce a subpoena that is directed to a foreign recipient and demands the production of documents that are unrelated to the recipient’s contacts with the United States.
20-1137 California Parents for the Equalization of Educational Materials v. Torlakson Whether the free exercise clause permits the government to single out a religion for disfavored treatment so long as it does not “substantially burden” religious exercise.
20-1130 Ericsson Inc. v. TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. (1) Whether, notwithstanding the ordinary rule that a pretrial denial of a motion for summary judgment is not reviewable on appeal, there is an exception for summary-judgment decisions that turn solely on “legal issues”; and (2) whether an order denying summary judgment can be reviewed following trial, at the discretion of the court of appeals, notwithstanding a party’s failure to seek judgment as a matter of law on those grounds under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50.
20-1129 Flynn v. U.S. (1) Whether the due process clause of the United States Constitution, as discussed in McCarthy v. United States and more recent decisions of the Supreme Court, requires discussion in open court of the elements of an 18 U.S.C. § 371 conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (Klein Conspiracy) offense to advise the defendant of the nature of the charges against him before a guilty plea is accepted; (2) whether the requirement for a nexus between a particular administrative proceeding and a taxpayer’s conduct is necessary to save the constitutionality of a conviction under an 18 U.S.C. § 371 conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (Klein Conspiracy) after the Supreme Court’s decision in Marinello v. United States; and (3) whether a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial to determine the amount of restitution under either the Sixth or Seventh Amendments to the United States Constitution.
20-1113 American Hospital Association v. Cochran Whether deference under Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council applies to a statutory interpretation question that determines both the lawfulness of agency action and the court’s jurisdiction.
20-1106 Doe v. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inc. (1) Whether, on de novo consideration of a benefits claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, summary judgment must be denied if there is a genuine dispute of material fact; and (2) whether, on de novo consideration of an ERISA benefits claim and absent a challenge to the plan’s procedures, a district court has discretion to consider evidence that was not part of the record before the plan administrator.
20-1095 Haws v. Idaho Whether a criminal defendant’s purported waiver of the right to appeal in a plea agreement is knowing, intelligent and voluntary—as required by the due process clauses of the Fifth and 14th Amendments—when the trial court incorrectly informs the defendant, during the colloquy in which the court accepts the defendant’s guilty plea, that the defendant has reserved the right to appeal.
20-1093 Just Energy Marketing Corp. v. Hurt Whether, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit held, Just Energy Marketing Corp.'s door-to-door solicitors are exempt “outside salesmen” under the Fair Labor Standards Act or, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held, the door-to-door solicitors are not exempt “outside salesmen” under the FLSA because the sales agreements remain subject to regulatory checks and Just Energy Marketing Corp.'s ultimate approval.
20-1092 Jones v. U.S. Whether 18 U.S.C. § 514(a) — which prohibits the use of “any false or fictitious instrument, document, or other item appearing, representing, purporting, or contriving through scheme or artifice, to be an actual [government] security or other financial instrument” — prohibits only the use of nonexistent types of documents and instruments (as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th Circuits have held), or whether it also covers the use of fake versions of actual, existing types of documents and instruments (as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 11th and, in this case, 2nd Circuit have held).
20-1088 Carson v. Makin Whether a state violates the religion clauses or equal protection clause of the United States Constitution by prohibiting students participating in an otherwise generally available student-aid program from choosing to use their aid to attend schools that provide religious, or “sectarian,” instruction.
20-1084 Dunn v. Reeves Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit violated 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) by readily attributing error to the state court in violation of Woodford v. Visciotti.
20-1072 Thompson v. DeWine Whether and how the First Amendment applies to regulations that impede a person’s ability to place an initiative on the ballot.
20-1057 Oracle America Inc. v. U.S. (1) Whether a bid protest that establishes a violation of federal law may be denied for “harmless error” based on a rationale not present in the administrative record; and (2) whether, in resolving a bid protest that establishes a violation of the criminal conflict-of-interest statute, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit can enforce the contract based on deference to an agency’s assessment that the criminal violation did not taint the procurement.
20-1043 U.S. v. Cano Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred in concluding that the scope of a search of an electronic device under the border-search exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement is limited solely to digital contraband on the device itself, and cannot include evidence of physical smuggling or other border-related crimes.
20-1034 Golan v. Saada Whether, upon finding that return to the country of habitual residence places a child at grave risk, a district court is required to consider ameliorative measures that would facilitate the return of the child notwithstanding the grave risk finding.
20-1018 Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board v. Federal Trade Commission Whether and under what conditions orders denying state-action immunity to public entities are immediately appealable under the collateral-order doctrine.
20-1010 Rranxburgaj v. Mayorkas Whether legal determinations antecedent to agencies' discretionary decisions to commence proceedings, adjudicate cases or execute removal orders "arise from" these decisions for purposes of 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g), which provides that "no court shall have jurisdiction to hear any cause or claim by or on behalf of any alien arising from the decision or action by the U.S. attorney general to commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders against any alien under this chapter."
20-1009 Shinn v. Ramirez Whether application of the equitable rule the Supreme Court announced in Martinez v. Ryan renders the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which precludes a federal court from considering evidence outside the state-court record when reviewing the merits of a claim for habeas relief if a prisoner or his attorney has failed to diligently develop the claim’s factual basis in state court, inapplicable to a federal court’s merits review of a claim for habeas relief.
20-1004 Collier v. Dallas County Hospital District (1) Whether an employee’s exposure to the N-word in the workplace is severe enough to send his Title VII hostile-work-environment claim to a trier of fact; and (2) whether and in what circumstances racial epithets in the workplace are “extremely serious” incidents sufficient to create a hostile work environment under Title VII, rather than nonactionable “mere utterances.”
20-1000 Dominguez v. U.S. Whether attempted robbery under the Hobbs Act qualifies as a “crime of violence,” meaning that it “has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another."
20-994 Volkswagen Group of America Inc. v. Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, Florida Whether the Clean Air Act preempts state and local governments from regulating manufacturers’ post-sale, nationwide updates to vehicle emission systems.
20-988 Smith v. Tyson (1) Whether the review required under Section 2254 of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and Cullen v. Pinholster is violated by reliance upon a “some ambiguity” standard utilized by the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 3rd Circuit to find a due process violation without affording the required benefit of the doubt to both defense counsel and the trial court; (2) whether the 3rd Circuit's decision granting habeas relief on the basis of alleged erroneous jury instructions in a state accomplice murder trial err by failing to apply the Supreme Court’s own precedent in Waddington v. Sarasaud; and (3) whether, by ignoring whole sections of the trial court’s charge to the jury with respect to accomplice liability and failing to view it in the context of the trial record, the 3rd Circuit erred in concluding that there exists a substantial and not just a conceivable likelihood of a different result.
20-984 Grewal v. Defense Distributed Whether a nonresident state official subjects itself to personal jurisdiction in another forum state when it sends a single cease-and-desist letter to a single resident in that state.
20-982 Brown v. Polk County, Wisconsin Whether the Fourth Amendment permits jail officials to conduct a physical, penetrative search of the vagina and/or anus of a pretrial detainee without a warrant, probable cause or exigent circumstances, including in cases of persons detained for minor nonviolent non-drug offenses like shoplifting.
20-975 Owens v. Stirling (1) For claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, what standard is to be used by federal courts of appeals for determining whether the underlying constitutional claim is “substantial” under Martinez v. Ryan, and how does it relate to the determination that a petitioner has met the requirements to obtain a Certificate of Appealability, under 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c) and as described by the Supreme Court in Miller-El v. Cockrell; and (2) whether, under the Martinez standard, it is proper for courts of appeals determining the substantial quality of the underlying constitutional claim to rely on an imbalanced consideration of the record, including ignoring evidence in the record in support of a petitioner’s underlying constitutional claim—as happened in Freddie Owens’s case.
20-962 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services v. City and County of San Francisco, California (1) Whether entities that are not subject to the public-charge ground of inadmissibility contained in 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(4)(A), and which seek to expand benefits usage by aliens who are potentially subject to that provision, are proper parties to challenge the final rule that an alien is “inadmissible” if, “in the opinion of the [Secretary of Homeland Security] at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, [the alien] is likely at any time to become a public charge”; and (2) whether the final rule is likely contrary to law or arbitrary and capricious.
20-953 Ellis v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston What the correct test to apply is in deciding whether an otherwise applicable state law—here, a state law prohibiting discretion-conferring provisions in insurance contracts—can be displaced by an Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 plan’s choice-of-law clause.
20-951 Stewart v. City of Euclid, Ohio Whether, when a municipal employee has violated the Constitution, a plaintiff must point to “clearly established law” (such as would overcome a defense of qualified immunity by an individual officer) in order to prove deliberate indifference for municipal liability purposes.
20-941 Atkins v. Williams (1) Whether the unavailability of funds or other resources negates the subjective component of a deliberate indifference claim under the Eighth Amendment; and (2) whether, if lack of funds is a valid defense at all, a defendant can assert this defense when sued in his or her official capacity for injunctive relief.
20-940 Alaska v. Wright Whether, when an offender has fully served the sentence imposed pursuant to a state conviction, a federal habeas court has jurisdiction to consider a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenge to that conviction merely because it served as a predicate for an independent federal conviction under which the offender is now in custody.
20-937 Andrews v. New Jersey Whether the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment protects an individual from being compelled to recall and truthfully disclose a memorized passcode, when communicating the passcode may lead to the discovery of incriminating evidence to be used against him in a criminal prosecution.
20-928 National Coalition For Men v. Selective Service System Whether, in light of the Department of Defense having lifted the ban on women in combat, the Supreme Court should overrule Rostker v. Goldberg, which upheld the men-only draft because women at that time were categorically prohibited from serving in combat roles, and hold that the federal requirement that men but not women register for the Selective Service, authorized under 50 U.S.C. § 3802(a), violates the right to equal protection guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.
20-923 Wilkinson v. Acosta-Pena Whether the government must provide written notice under 8 U.S.C. § 1229(a)(1), which is required to trigger the stop-time rule, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1)(A), in a single document.
20-911 Jackson v. Hudson Whether 28 U.S.C. § 2255 — which allows a person in federal custody to challenge the legality of his detention by filing a post-conviction motion, as well as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 if the Section 2255 remedy is “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention” — is “inadequate or ineffective” when, at the time of petitioner’s initial Section 2255 motion, circuit precedent foreclosed a potential claim, but that precedent has since been overruled by the Supreme Court.
20-905 Independent School District No. 283 v. E.M.D.H. ex rel. L.H. and S.D. Whether the continuing-violation doctrine applies to the two-year statutory time limit to file an administrative complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
20-895 Seldin v. Estate of Silverman (1) Whether the Federal Arbitration Act categorically forecloses courts from vacating an arbitration award on the ground that the award is contrary to public policy; and (2) whether the FAA’s protection against an arbitrator’s “evident partiality” is triggered when there is a reasonable impression of partiality, or instead by a more heightened standard such as a showing of actual bias.
20-891 American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. v. Neapco Holdings LLC (1) What standard determines whether a patent claim is “directed to” a patent-ineligible concept under step 1 of the Supreme Court’s two-step framework for determining whether an invention is eligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101; and (2) whether patent eligibility (at each step of the Supreme Court’s two-step framework) 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 art at the time of the patent.
20-886 McCoy v. U.S. Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit erred in applying the test from Brunner v. New York State Higher Education Services Corp., which prohibits discharge unless the debtor can prove, among other things, a “total incapacity” to repay the debt in the future, instead of the totality test to determine whether a debtor would suffer an “undue hardship” absent discharge of her student loan debt.
20-880 Holland v. Westmoreland Coal Co. (1) Whether the exception to the Anti-Injunction Act in South Carolina v. Regan — in which the Supreme Court held that the AIA did not bar South Carolina from filing an original-jurisdiction action in the Supreme Court to raise a 10th Amendment challenge to an income tax assessed on private citizens — is available to debtors who want to avoid paying a tax for reasons unrelated to the tax’s validity; and (2) whether Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act premiums are “any tax” protected by the Anti-Injunction Act.
20-875 Kong v. City of Burnsville, Minnesota Whether, on interlocutory review of a denial of qualified immunity, an appellate court may reject a district court’s determination of a genuine issue of material fact even if the record does not blatantly contradict that determination.
20-866 Allen v. Wells Fargo & Co. (1) Whether, under Fifth Third Bancorp v Dudenhoeffer, fiduciaries of an employee stock ownership fund are effectively immune from duty-of-prudence liability for the failure to publicly disclose inside information; and (2) whether Dudenhoeffer’s framework extends beyond prudence-based claims and applies to duty-of-loyalty claims against ESOP fiduciaries.
20-861 Fry v. Rand Construction Corp. (1) Whether the lower court erred in adopting what is, in essence, a “sole cause” standard for a “but-for” cause, in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s holdings in Burrage v. United States and Bostock v. Clayton County; and (2) whether the correct causation standard for petitioner Arlene Fry's Family and Medical Leave Act claim is but-for, motivating factor or negative factor.
20-860 Gilbertson v. U.S. Whether the Sixth Amendment prohibits a court from imposing criminal restitution on a defendant based on facts not found by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
20-843 New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett Whether the Second Amendment allows the government to prohibit ordinary law-abiding citizens from carrying handguns outside the home for self-defense.
20-836 Broadway v. U.S. (1) Whether courts owe deference to the Sentencing Commission’s commentary when it expands the scope of the Sentencing Guidelines; and (2) whether the rule of lenity and the right to due process preclude deference under Stinson v. United States when commentary to a Sentencing Guideline would increase a sentence.
20-831 Washington v. Domingo-Cornelio Whether Graham v. Florida and Miller v. Alabama require an individual proportionality determination before imposing any sentence on a juvenile offender convicted in adult court.
20-830 Washington v. Ali Whether Graham v. Florida and Miller v. Alabama require an individual proportionality determination before imposing any sentence on a juvenile offender convicted in adult court.
20-828 Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fazaga Whether Section 1806(f) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 displaces the state-secrets privilege and authorizes a district court to resolve, in camera and ex parte, the merits of a lawsuit challenging the lawfulness of government surveillance by considering the privileged evidence.
20-827 U.S. v. Abu Zubaydah Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred when it rejected the United States’ assertion of the state-secrets privilege based on the court’s own assessment of potential harms to the national security, and required discovery to proceed further under 28 U.S.C. 1782(a) against former Central Intelligence Agency contractors on matters concerning alleged clandestine CIA activities.
20-826 Brown v. Davenport Whether a federal habeas court may grant relief based solely on its conclusion that the test from Brecht v. Abrahamson is satisfied, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held, or whether the court must also find that the state court’s application of Chapman v. California was unreasonable under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits have held.
20-812 Folajtar v. Barr Whether 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), which permanently prohibits nearly all felons—even those convicted of nonviolent crimes—from possessing firearms for self-defense, violates the Second Amendment, as applied to an individual convicted of willfully making a materially false statement on her tax returns.
20-808 Miles v. California (1) Whether a court reviewing a claim under Batson v. Kentucky may consider reasons distinguishing stricken jurors from those accepted by the prosecutor when the prosecutor did not cite the distinguishing reason in the trial court as a basis for the strike; and (2) whether, for purposes of comparative juror analysis, the jurors being compared must have expressed the same combination of responses in all material respects for the comparison to have significant probative value.
20-804 Houston Community College System v. Wilson Whether the First Amendment restricts the authority of an elected body to issue a censure resolution in response to a member’s speech.
20-782 Holloway v. Wilkinson Whether a lifetime firearms prohibition based on a nonviolent misdemeanor conviction violates the Second Amendment.
20-768 Serrano v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Whether, when the government seizes a vehicle for civil forfeiture, due process requires a prompt post-seizure hearing to test the legality of the seizure and continued detention of the vehicle pending the final forfeiture trial.
20-753 Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation v. Yakima County, Washington Whether the United States can change the scope of its re-assumption of Pub. L. 83-280 jurisdiction over crimes involving Indians in Indian Country years after the re-assumption became effective under 25 U.S.C. § 1323 without the Yakama Nation’s prior consent required by 25 U.S.C. § 1326.
20-748 PHI Air Medical, LLC v. Texas Mutual Insurance Co. (1) Whether the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 preempts a state workers’ compensation system that limits the prices an air-ambulance company can charge and collect for its air-transport services; and (2) whether the McCarran-Ferguson Act exempts such a system from ADA preemption.
20-746 South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom (1) Whether California Governor Gavin Newsom’s lockdown orders and reopening restrictions under the “Blueprint” framework, placing strict limitations, including closures, on all places of worship in California, violates South Bay’s First Amendment right to free exercise of religion; and (2) whether strict scrutiny is the proper standard of review for challenges to state and county restrictions upon free-exercise-of-religion rights during a pandemic, or whether Jacobson v. Massachusetts imposes extra limitations to the Supreme Court’s established line of free-exercise jurisprudence during a pandemic.
20-733 Rickmon v. U.S. Whether the sound of gunshots creates an emergency so that the “individualized suspicion” required by Terry v. Ohio attaches to anyone near the shots.
20-727 Facebook Inc. v. Davis Whether an internet content provider violates the Wiretap Act when a computer user’s web browser instructs the provider to display content on the webpage the user visits.
20-718 Reyes-Romero v. U.S. Whether, when a district court considers awarding attorney’s fees and costs to a prevailing criminal defendant, the Hyde Amendment inquiry into whether “the position of the United States was vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith” encompass actions of non-prosecutor government employees underlying the criminal case.
20-701 Calvert v. Texas (1) Whether the Constitution prevents a state from allowing a defendant to represent himself in a capital case when the defendant is mentally competent to waive counsel but is not mentally competent to conduct trial proceedings in his capital trial; (2) whether the Eighth Amendment prohibits the state of Texas from sentencing petitioner James Calvert to death on a finding of future dangerousness based in substantial part on graphic testimony and evidence about an attack on a prison official committed by another inmate in another prison at another time, having no connection to Calvert; and (3) whether the constitutional violation resulting from the trial court’s direction to administer a 50,000- volt electric shock to Calvert during his trial to “enforce decorum” because Calvert failed to stand when responding to a question from the court constitutes structural error.
20-690 Han v. U.S. Whether a court may consider factors other than the parties’ intent in determining whether a transfer of funds constitutes a non-taxable loan under the Internal Revenue Code.
20-685 Biden v. Sierra Club (1) Whether the Sierra Club has a cognizable cause of action to obtain review of the secretary of defense’s compliance with 10 U.S.C. § 2808 in reprioritizing appropriated but unobligated funds for the military construction projects involving border barriers being authorized; and (2) whether the secretary exceeded his statutory authority under Section 2808 in reprioritizing appropriated funds for the military construction projects following the president’s declaration of a national emergency requiring the use of the armed forces at the southern border.
20-637 Hemphill v. New York Whether, or under what circumstances, a criminal defendant, whose argumentation or introduction of evidence at trial “opens the door” to the admission of responsive evidence that would otherwise be barred by the rules of evidence, also forfeits his right to exclude evidence otherwise barred by the confrontation clause.
20-609 Gannett Co. v. Quatrone Whether a plaintiff adequately pleads breach of the duties of prudence and diversification solely by alleging that fiduciaries permitted participants in a defined contribution plan to choose, from an adequately diversified menu of investment options, to invest in an undiversified single-stock fund.
20-605 Wholean v. CSEA SEIU Local 2001 Whether there is a “good faith defense” to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that shields a defendant from damages liability for depriving citizens of their constitutional rights if the defendant acted under color of a law before it was held unconstitutional.
20-601 Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C. (1) Whether a state attorney general vested with the power to defend state law should be permitted to intervene after a federal court of appeals invalidates a state statute when no other state actor will defend the law; and (2) whether, if so, the Supreme Court should vacate the judgment below and remand for further consideration in light of June Medical Services, L.L.C. v. Russo.
20-579 Tabb v. U.S. (1) Whether courts may defer to Sentencing Guidelines commentary without first determining that the underlying guideline is genuinely ambiguous; and (2) whether the U.S. Sentencing Commission can use commentary to rewrite a guideline that applies to “prohibit[ions]” on the “distribution” of drugs to apply to conspiracies and attempts to distribute drugs.
20-559 Doe v. U.S. (1) Whether Feres v. United States, which held that the Federal Tort Claims Act broadly precludes claims for injuries “incident to service,” was wrongly decided and should be overruled; and (2) whether, alternatively, Feres should be limited so as not to bar tort claims brought by servicemembers injured by violations of military regulations, during recreational activities or while attending a service academy.
20-507 Mays v. Hines Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit’s decision — invalidating Anthony Hines' decades-old murder conviction and death sentence on the ground that a state court unreasonably applied Strickland v. Washington, when it concluded that Hines suffered no prejudice from any deficiencies in his counsel’s performance at the guilt and penalty phases of his capital trial — conflicts with the Supreme Court’s precedents governing claims of ineffective assistance of counsel under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.
20-489 Bess v. U.S. (1) Whether 10 U.S.C. § 825, which allows a military commander to hand select members to sit on a general court-martial panel, as applied in Pedro Bess’ case — in which an all-white panel convicted a Black defendant of sexual misconduct against a white woman — violates the Fifth Amendment; and (2) whether the lower court erred in declining to remand Bess' case for additional factfinding.
20-397 Wilkinson v. Portillo Martinez Whether the government must provide the written notice required to trigger the stop-time rule in a single document.
20-257 Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. v. Scott Whether a district court may consider factors other than the presence of a single material question of law or fact common to a group of employees when assessing whether the employees are “similarly situated” for purposes of the collective-action provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
20-251 Gipson v. Louisiana Whether the Supreme Court’s decision in Ramos v. Louisiana applies to cases on state collateral review, when the state follows the retroactivity framework established in Teague v. Lane.
20-83 Jones v. Kalbaugh (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit improperly focused on the knowledge and intentions of the suspect, rather than the facts knowable to the officers, in reversing the district court’s grant of qualified immunity in an excessive force case; and (2) whether the 10th Circuit analyzed clearly established law at too high a level of generality by relying on general statements of Fourth Amendment excessive force principles rather than identifying a case in which officers acting under similar circumstances were held to have violated the Fourth Amendment.
19-1194 Kuang v. Department of Defense (1) Whether courts can evade their constitutional and statutory duty to review military decisions under the so-called “Mindes test,” from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit's decision in Mindes v. Seamen, or whether claims seeking injunctive relief against the military are reviewable so long as they do not present a nonjusticiable political question or otherwise fall outside the court’s subject-matter jurisdiction; and (2) whether a Department of Defense policy that requires all legal permanent resident enlistees—but not their U.S.- citizen counterparts—to suffer unjustified delays before beginning their military careers is judicially reviewable.

Calls for the Views of the Solicitor General

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
22O154 New Hampshire v. Massachusetts Whether Massachusetts' tax rule — which subjects nonresident earned income received for services performed outside Massachusetts to the state’s income tax — is unconstitutional confiscation.
22O152 Montana and Wyoming v. Washington Whether Washington state’s denial of port access to ship Montana and Wyoming coal to foreign markets violates the commerce clause.
20-603 Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety Whether Congress has the power to authorize suits against nonconsenting states pursuant to its constitutional war powers.
20-493 Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas Whether the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act provides the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo with sovereign authority to regulate non-prohibited gaming activities on its lands (including bingo), as set forth in the plain language of Section 107(b), the act’s legislative history and the Supreme Court’s holding in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, or whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit’s decision affirming Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas (Ysleta I) correctly subjects the pueblo to all Texas gaming regulations.
20-402 Richardson v. Omaha School District Whether, for attorneys’ fees actions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, courts should borrow years-long state statutes of limitations because fees actions are analogous to independent lawsuits separate from the underlying merits of the IDEA administrative proceedings, or, in contrast, courts should borrow far shorter periods designed for judicial review of IDEA administrative merits decisions because fees actions are merely ancillary to the underlying educational dispute.
20-319 Comcast Corp. v. Viamedia Inc. (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit erred in holding that a refusal-to-deal claim under Section 2 of the Sherman Act may proceed despite the presence of valid business justifications for the refusal, in direct conflict with Verizon Communications Inc. v. Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko and decisions of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 9th, 10th and 11th Circuits; and (2) whether the 7th Circuit erred in allowing a plaintiff to avoid the limitations on a Section 2 refusal-to-deal claim by reframing it as some other form of anticompetitive conduct, such as tying, in direct conflict with Pacific Bell Telephone Co. v. Linkline Communications Inc. and decisions of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 9th and 10th Circuits.
20-219 Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller, P.L.L.C. Whether the compensatory damages available under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the statutes that incorporate its remedies for victims of discrimination, such as the Rehabilitation Act and the Affordable Care Act, include compensation for emotional distress.
20-28 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP v. Laurent Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit improperly combined parts of two separate remedial sections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, interpreting Section 502(a)(3) to permit reformation of a plan solely as a preparatory step to ultimate relief under Section 502(a)(1)(B) in the form of money damages.
20-8 Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas v. Robert R. McCormick Foundation (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit correctly held, in conflict with the decisions of four other U.S. courts of appeal and of the Supreme Court, that the presumption against preemption of state law does not apply to creditor-rights claims once federal bankruptcy law has been invoked; (2) whether the 2nd Circuit correctly held that laws allowing creditors to avoid certain fraudulent transfers, which long have existed in every state, are preempted because they are an obstacle to the “purposes and objectives” of 11 U.S.C. § 546(e), notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s unanimous holding in Merit Management Group, LP v. FTI Consulting Inc. that Section 546(e) does not have the purpose that the 2nd Circuit ascribed to it; and (3) whether, notwithstanding the holding in Merit that Section 546(e) does not exempt fraudulent transfers from avoidance merely because a financial institution acted as a conduit, the 2nd Circuit correctly held that Section 546(e) does exempt certain fraudulent transfers from avoidance if executed via a bank as a conduit, on the ground, left open in Merit, that the bank’s customer is itself a “financial institution.”
19-1401 Hughes v. Northwestern University Whether allegations that a defined-contribution retirement plan paid or charged its participants fees that substantially exceeded fees for alternative available investment products or services are sufficient to state a claim against plan fiduciaries for breach of the duty of prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1104(a)(1)(B).
19-648 CACI Premier Technology Inc. v. Al Shimari Whether an order denying a federal contractor’s claim of derivative sovereign immunity is an immediately appealable final order under the collateral-order doctrine. CVSG: 8/26/2020.