Editor's Note :

close editor's note Editor's Note :

The Supreme Court will release orders from the February 22 conference on Monday at 9:30 a.m. There is a possibility of opinions on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Monday the Supreme Court also hears oral argument in Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck; Amy Howe has our preview.

October Term 2007

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Merits cases (to be) decided during OT 2018
Ali v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, No. 06-9130 [Arg: 10.29.2007 Trans.; Decided 01.22.2008]

Issue(s):
Allison Engine v. US, No. 07-214 [Arg: 02.26.2008Justi Trans.; Decided 06.09.2008]

Issue(s):
Baze v. Rees, No. 07-5439 [Arg: 01.07.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.16.2008]

Issue(s):
Begay v. US, No. 06-11543 [Arg: 01.15.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.16.2008]

Issue(s):
NY Board of Education v. Tom F., No. 06-637 [Arg: 10.01.2007 Trans.; Decided 10.10.2007]

Issue(s):
Boulware v. US, No. 06-1509 [Arg: 01.08.2008 Trans.; Decided 03.03.2008]

Issue(s):
Boumediene/Al-Odah v. Bush, No. 06-1195 [Arg: 12.05.2007 Trans.; Decided 06.12.2008]

Issue(s):
Bridge v. Phoenix Bond & Indemnity, No. 07-210 [Arg: 04.14.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.09.2008]

Holding: A plaintiff asserting a claim under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act predicated on mail fraud need not show, either as an element of its claim or as a prerequisite to establishing proximate causation, that it relied on the defendant's alleged misrepresentations.
Burgess v. U.S., No. 06-11429 [Arg: 03.24.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 04.16.2008]

Holding: Because the term "felony drug offense" in Section 841(b)(1)(A) of the Controlled Substances Act is defined exclusively by Section 802(44) and does not incorporate Section 802(13)'s definition of "felony," a state drug offense punishable by more than one year qualifies as a "felony drug offense," even if state law classifies the offense as a misdemeanor.
CBOCS West v. Humphries, No. 06-1431 [Arg: 02.20.2008 Trans.; Decided 05.27.2008]

Issue(s):
Chamber of Commerce v. Brown, No. 06-939 [Arg: 03.19.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.19.2008]

Holding: Sections 16645.2 and 16645.7 of California’s Assembly Bill 1889 – which, among other things, prohibits employers that receive state grants or more than $10,000 in state program funds per year from using the funds “to assist, promote, or deter union organizing” – are pre-empted by the National Labor Relations Act.
Crawford v. Marion County Election Bd., No. 07-21 [Arg: 01.09.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.28.2008]

Issue(s):
CSX v. Ga. State Bd. of Equalization, No. 06-1287 [Arg: 11.05.2007 Trans.; Decided 12.04.2007]

Issue(s):
Cuellar v. US, No. 06-1456 [Arg: 02.25.2008 Trans.; Decided 06.02.2008]

Issue(s):
Dada v. Mukasey, No. 06-1181 [Arg: 01.07.2008 Trans.; Decided 06.16.2008]

Issue(s):
Danforth v. Minnesota, No. 06-8273 [Arg: 10.31.2007 Trans.; Decided 02.20.2008]

Issue(s):
Davis v. FEC, No. 07-320 [Arg: 04.22.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.26.2008]

Holding: (1) The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to hear Jeff Davis’ appeal; (2) Sections 319(a) and (b) of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 violate the First Amendment; and (3) because Section 319(a) is unconstitutional, Section 319(b)'s disclosure requirements, which were designed to implement the asymmetrical contribution limits, are as well.
Dept. of Revenue of Kentucky v. Davis, No. 06-666 [Arg: 11.05.2007 Trans.; Decided 05.19.2008]

Issue(s):
District of Columbia v. Heller, No. 07-290 [Arg: 03.18.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.26.2008]

Holding: (1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. (2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the amendment or state analogues. The court's opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. The holding in United States v. Miller that the sorts of weapons protected are those "in common use at the time" finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. (3) The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District of Columbia's total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of "arms" that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition -- in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family and property is most acute -- would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Dick Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the district must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.
Engquist v. Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, No. 07-474 [Arg: 04.21.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.09.2008]

Holding: The class-of-one theory of equal protection does not apply in the public employment context.
Exxon v. Baker, No. 07-219 [Arg: 02.27.2008 Trans.; Decided 06.25.2008]

Issue(s):
Federal Express v. Holowecki, No. 06-1322 [Arg: 11.06.2007 Trans.; Decided 02.27.2008]

Issue(s):
Florida Dept. of Revenue v. Piccadilly Cafeterias, No. 07-312 [Arg: 03.26.2008 Trans.; Decided 06.16.2008]

Holding: Because Section 1146(a) affords a stamp-tax exemption only to transfers made pursuant to a Chapter 11 plan to declare bankruptcy that has been confirmed, Piccadilly Cafeterias Inc. may not rely on that provision to avoid Florida's stamp taxes.
Gall v. US, No. 06-7949 [Arg: 10.02.2007 Trans.; Decided 12.10.2010]

Issue(s):
Giles v. California, No. 07-6053 [Arg: 04.22.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.25.2008]

Holding: The California Supreme Court's theory of forfeiture by wrongdoing is not an exception to the Sixth Amendment's confrontation requirement because it was not an exception established at the founding.
Gomez-Perez v. Potter, No. 06-1321 [Arg: 02.19.2008 Trans.; Decided 05.27.2008]

Issue(s):
Greenlaw v. U.S., No. 07-330 [Arg: 04.15.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.23.2008]

Holding: Absent a government appeal or cross-appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit could not, on its own initiative, order an increase in Michael Greenlaw's sentence.
Hall Street v. Mattel, No. 06-989 [Arg: 11.07.2007 Trans.; Decided 03.25.2008]

Issue(s):
Indiana v. Edwards, No. 07-208 [Arg: 03.26.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.19.2008]

Holding: The Constitution does not prohibit states from insisting upon representation by counsel for those competent enough to stand trial but who suffer from severe mental illness to the point where they are not competent to conduct trial proceedings by themselves.
Irizarry v. U.S., No. 06-7517 [Arg: 04.15.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.12.2008]

Holding: Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(h) does not apply to a variance from a recommended Federal Sentencing Guidelines range.
John R. Sand and Gravel v. US, No. 06-1164 [Arg: 11.06.2007 Trans.; Decided 01.08.2008]

Issue(s):
Kennedy v. Louisiana, No. 07-343 [Arg: 04.16.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.25.2008]

Holding: The Eighth Amendment bars Louisiana from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim's death.
Kentucky Retirement Systems v. EEOC, No. 06-1037 [Arg: 01.09.2008 Trans.; Decided 06.19.2008]

Issue(s):
Kimbrough v. US, No. 06-6330 [Arg: 10.02.2007 Trans.; Decided 12.10.2007]

Issue(s):
Klein & Co. Futures v. Bd. of Trade of NYC, No. 06-1265 [Arg: 10.29.2007 Trans.; Decided 12.28.2007]

Issue(s):
Knight v. CIR, No. 06-1286 [Arg: 11.27.2007 Trans.; Decided 01.16.2008]

Issue(s):
LaRue v. DeWolff, Boberg, No. 06-856 [Arg: 11.26.2007 Trans.; Decided 02.20.2008]

Issue(s):
Logan v. US, No. 06-6911 [Arg: 10.30.2007 Trans.; Decided 12.04.2007]

Issue(s):
Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, No. 06-1505 [Arg: 04.23.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.19.2008]

Holding: An employer defending a disparate-impact claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 bears both the burden of production and the burden of persuasion for the "reasonable factors other than age" affirmative defense under Section 623(f)(1).
Meadwestvaco v. Ill. Dept. of Revenue, No. 06-1413 [Arg: 01.16.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.15.2008]

Issue(s):
Medellin v. Texas, No. 06-984 [Arg: 10.10.2007 Trans.; Decided 03.25.2008]

Issue(s):
MetLife v. Glenn, No. 06-923 [Arg: 04.23.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.19.2008]

Holding: (1) Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. v. Bruch sets out four principles as to the appropriate standard of judicial review under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974; (2) a plan administrator's dual role of both evaluating and paying benefits claims creates the kind of conflict of interest referred to in Firestone; and (3) the significance of the conflict of interest factor will depend upon the circumstances of the particular case. There is nothing improper in the way the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit conducted its review.
Morgan Stanley Capital Group, et al. v. Public Utility 1, No. 06-1457 [Arg: 02.19.2008 Trans.; Decided 06.26.2008]

Issue(s):
Munaf v. Geren/Geren v. Omar, No. 06-1666 [Arg: 03.25.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.12.2008]

Holding: (1) The habeas statute extends to American citizens held overseas by American forces operating subject to an American chain of command. The government's argument that the federal courts lack jurisdiction over the detainees' habeas petitions in such circumstances because the American forces holding Shawqi Omar and Mohammad Munaf operate as part of a multinational force is rejected. The habeas statute, 28 U. S. C. § 2241(c)(1), applies to persons held "in custody under or by color of the authority of the United States." The disjunctive "or" in Section 2241(c)(1) makes clear that actual government custody suffices for jurisdiction, even if that custody could be viewed as "under . . . color of" another authority, such as the Multinational Force-Iraq. (2) Federal district courts, however, may not exercise their habeas jurisdiction to enjoin the United States from transferring individuals alleged to have committed crimes and detained within the territory of a foreign sovereign to that sovereign for criminal prosecution. Because Omar and Munaf state no claim in their habeas petitions for which relief can be granted, their habeas petitions should have been promptly dismissed, and no injunction should have been entered.
New Jersey v. Delaware, No. 134 Original [Arg: 11.27.2007 Trans.; Decided 03.31.2008]

Issue(s):
NY Board of Elections v. Lopez-Torres, No. 06-766 [Arg: 10.03.2007 Trans.; Decided 01.16.2008]

Issue(s):
Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle, No. 07-411 [Arg: 04.14.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.25.2008]

Holding: (1) Plains Commerce Bank has Article III standing to pursue this challenge; and (2) the tribal court did not have jurisdiction to adjudicate a discrimination claim concerning the non-Indian bank’s sale of its free land.
Preston v. Ferrer, No. 06-1463 [Arg: 01.14.2008 Trans.; Decided 02.20.2008]

Issue(s):
Quanta v. LG, No. 06-937 [Arg: 01.16.2008 Trans.; Decided 06.09.2008]

Issue(s):
Republic of the Philippines v. Pimentel, No. 06-1204 [Arg: 01.17.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.12.2008]

Holding: (1) Because Arelma and the Philippine National Bank also seek review of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, this court need not rule on the question whether the Republic of the Philippines and the commission established to recover property wrongfully taken by Ferdinand Marcos while he was president of the republic, having been dismissed from the suit, had the right to seek review of the decision that the suit could proceed in their absence. As a general matter any party may move to dismiss an action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19(b). Arelma and PNB have not lost standing to have the judgment vacated in its entirety on procedural grounds simply because they did not appeal, or petition for certiorari on, the underlying merits ruling denying them the interpleaded assets. (2) Rule 19 requires dismissal of the interpleader action.
Richlin Security Service v. Chertoff, No. 06-1717 [Arg: 03.19.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.02.2008]

Holding: A prevailing party that satisfies the Equal Access to Justice Act's other requirements may recover its paralegal fees from the government at prevailing market rates.
Riegel v. Medtronic, No. 06-179 [Arg: 12.04.2007 Trans.; Decided 02.20.2008]

Issue(s):
Riley v. Kennedy, No. 07-77 [Arg: 03.24.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 05.27.2008]

Holding: (1) Because the district court did not render its final judgment until May 1, 2007, Governor Bob Riley's May 18 notice of appeal was timely. Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, "any appeal" from the decision of a three-judge district court "shall lie to the Supreme Court," but the appeal must be filed within 60 days of a district court's entry of a final judgment. Yvonne Kennedy maintains that the district court's August 2006 order qualified as a final judgment, while the governor maintains that the district court's final judgment was the May 1 order vacating Juan Chastang's appointment to the Mobile County Commission. A final judgment "ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment." The August 2006 order declared that preclearance was required for the Stokes v. Noonan and Riley v. Kennedy decisions, but left unresolved Kennedy's demand for injunctive relief. An order resolving liability without addressing a plaintiff's requests for relief is not final. (2) For Section 5 purposes, the 1985 act never gained "force or effect." Therefore, Alabama's reinstatement of its prior practice of gubernatorial appointment did not rank as a "change" requiring preclearance.
Rothgery v. Gillespie County, No. 07-440 [Arg: 03.17.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.23.2008]

Holding: A criminal defendant's initial appearance before a magistrate, where he learns the charge against him and his liberty is subject to restriction, marks the initiation of adversary judicial proceedings that trigger attachment of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Attachment does not also require that a prosecutor (as distinct from a police officer) be aware of that initial proceeding or involved in its conduct.
Rowe v. NH Motor Transport, No. 06-457 [Arg: 11.28.2007 Trans.; Decided 02.20.2008]

Issue(s):
Snyder v. Louisiana, No. 06-10119 [Arg: 12.04.2007 Trans.; Decided 03.19.2008]

Issue(s):
Sprint Communications v. APCC Services, No. 07-552 [Arg: 04.21.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.23.2008]

Holding: An assignee of a legal claim for money owed has standing to pursue that claim in federal court, even when the assignee has promised to remit the proceeds of the litigation to the assignor.
Sprint/United Management v. Mendelsohn, No. 06-1221 [Arg: 12.03.2007 Trans.; Decided 02.26.2008]

Issue(s):
Stoneridge v. Scientific-Atlanta, No. 06-43 [Arg: 10.09.2007 Trans.; Decided 01.15.2008]

Issue(s):
Taylor v. Sturgell, No. 07-371 [Arg: 04.16.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.12.2008]

Holding: (1) The theory of preclusion by "virtual representation" is disapproved; the preclusive effects of a judgment in a federal-question case decided by a federal court should instead be determined according to the established grounds for nonparty preclusion; and (2) the case is remanded to allow the courts below the opportunity to determine whether the fifth ground for nonparty preclusion — preclusion because a nonparty to earlier litigation has brought suit as an agent of a party bound by the prior adjudication — applies to Brent Taylor's suit. But courts should be cautious about finding preclusion on the basis of agency.
US v. Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Company, No. 07-308 [Arg: 03.24.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 04.15.2008]

Holding: The plain language of 26 U. S. C. §§ 7422(a) and 6511 requires a taxpayer seeking a refund for a tax assessed in violation of the export clause of the Constitution, just as for any other unlawfully assessed tax, to file a timely administrative refund claim before bringing suit against the government.
US v. Ressam, No. 07-455 [Arg: 03.25.2008 Trans./Aud.; Decided 05.19.2008]

Holding: Since Ahmed Ressam was carrying explosives when he violated 18 U. S. C. § 1001 by feloniously making a false statement to a customs official, he was carrying them "during" the commission of that felony. The most natural reading of Section 844(h)(2) provides a sufficient basis for reversal. It is undisputed that the items in respondent's car were "explosives," and that he was "carr[ying]" those explosives when he knowingly made false statements to a customs official in violation of Section 1001. Dictionary definitions need not be consulted to arrive at the conclusion that he engaged in Section 844(h)(2)'s precise conduct. "[D]uring" denotes a temporal link. Because his carrying of explosives was contemporaneous with his Section 1001 violation, he carried them "during" that violation. The statute's history further supports the conclusion that Congress did not intend a relational requirement in Section 844(h) as presently written.
US v. Rodriquez, No. 06-1646 [Arg: 01.15.2008 Trans.; Decided 05.19.2008]

Issue(s):
US v. Santos, No. 06-1005 [Arg: 10.03.2007 Trans.; Decided 06.02.2008]

Issue(s):
US v. Williams, No. 06-694 [Arg: 10.30.2007 Trans.; Decided 05.19.2008]

Issue(s):
Virginia v. Moore, No. 06-1082 [Arg: 01.14.2008 Trans.; Decided 04.23.2008]

Issue(s):
Warner-Lambert v. Kent, No. 06-1498 [Arg: 02.25.2008 Trans.; Decided 03.03.2008]

Issue(s):
Wash. Grange v. Wash. Republican Party, No. 06-713 [Arg: 10.01.2007 Trans.; Decided 03.18.2008]

Issue(s):
Watson v. US, No. 06-571 [Arg: 10.09.2007 Trans.; Decided 12.10.2007]

Issue(s):
Term Snapshot
Awards