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October Term 2020

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October Sitting

Texas v. New Mexico, No. 22O65 [Arg: 10.5.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 12.14.2020]
Holding: Texas’ motion to review the Pecos River Master’s determination – that New Mexico was entitled to a delivery credit for evaporated water stored at Texas’ request under the Pecos River Compact – is denied.
Carney v. Adams, No. 19-309 [Arg: 10.5.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 12.10.2020]
Holding: Because Adams has not shown that he was “able and ready” to apply for a judicial vacancy in the imminent future, he has failed to show a “personal,” “concrete” and “imminent” injury necessary for Article III standing.
Tanzin v. Tanvir, No. 19-71 [Arg: 10.6.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 12.10.2020]
Holding: The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993’s express remedies provision, 42 U. S. C. §2000bb–1(c), permits litigants, when appropriate, to obtain money damages against federal officials in their individual capacities for violating litigants' right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment.
Holding: Arkansas’ Act 900 is not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
Holding: The connection between plaintiffs’ product-liability claims arising from car accidents occurring in each plaintiff’s state of residence and Ford’s activities in those states is sufficient to support specific jurisdiction in the respective state courts, even though the automobiles involved in the accidents were manufactured and sold elsewhere.
Holding: Google’s limited copying of the Java SE Application Programming Interface allowed programmers to put their accrued talents to work in a transformative program and constituted a fair use of that material under copyright law.
Holding: The connection between plaintiffs’ product-liability claims arising from car accidents occurring in each plaintiff’s state of residence and Ford’s activities in those states is sufficient to support specific jurisdiction in the respective state courts, even though the automobiles involved in the accidents were manufactured and sold elsewhere.
U.S. v. Briggs, No. 19-108 [Arg: 10.13.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 12.10.2020]
Holding: The prosecutions of three military service members for rape were timely under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
U.S. v. Collins, No. 19-184 [Arg: 10.13.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 12.10.2020]
Holding: The prosecutions of three military service members for rape were timely under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Holding: The mere retention of estate property after the filing of a bankruptcy petition does not violate 11 U.S.C. § 362(a)(3), which operates as a “stay” of “any act” to “exercise control” over the property of the estate.
Torres v. Madrid, No. 19-292 [Arg: 10.14.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 3.25.2021]
Holding: The application of physical force to the body of a person with intent to restrain is a seizure even if the person does not submit and is not subdued.
Pereida v. Wilkinson, No. 19-438 [Arg: 10.14.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 3.4.2021]
Holding: A nonpermanent resident seeking to cancel a lawful removal order fails to carry his burden of showing that he has not been convicted of a disqualifying offense when the statutory conviction on his record is ambiguous regarding whether a disqualifying offense formed the basis of his conviction.

November Sitting

Holding: The deliberative process privilege gives protection from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act to in-house draft biological opinions that are both predecisional and deliberative, even if the drafts reflect the agencies’ last views about a proposal.
Holding: The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board’s refusal to reopen a former railroad worker's prior benefits determination is subject to judicial review.
Borden v. U.S., No. 19-5410 [Arg: 11.03.20 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether the “use of force” clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act encompasses crimes with a mens rea of mere recklessness.
Issue(s): Whether the Eighth Amendment requires the sentencing authority to make a finding that a juvenile is permanently incorrigible before imposing a sentence of life without parole.
Issue(s): Whether free exercise plaintiffs can only succeed by proving a particular type of discrimination claim — namely that the government would allow the same conduct by someone who held different religious views — as two circuits have held, or whether courts must consider other evidence that a law is not neutral and generally applicable, as six circuits have held; (2) whether Employment Division v. Smith should be revisited; and (3) whether the government violates the First Amendment by conditioning a religious agency’s ability to participate in the foster care system on taking actions and making statements that directly contradict the agency’s religious beliefs.
Issue(s): Whether, to serve notice in accordance with 8 U.S.C. § 1229(a) and trigger the stop-time rule, the government must serve a specific document that includes all the information identified in Section 1229(a), or whether the government can serve that information over the course of as many documents and as much time as it chooses.
Brownback v. King, No. 19-546 [Arg: 11.09.20 Trans./Aud.; Decided 2.25.2021]
Holding: The district court's dismissal of King's claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act triggered the "judgment bar" in 28 U.S.C. § 2676 that precludes him from raising separate claims under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents on appeal.
Texas v. California, No. 19-1019 [Arg: 11.10.20 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): (1) Whether the unconstitutional individual mandate to purchase minimum essential coverage is severable from the remainder of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; and (2) whether the district court properly declared the ACA invalid in its entirety and unenforceable anywhere.
California v. Texas, No. 19-840 [Arg: 11.10.20 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): (1) Whether the individual and state plaintiffs in this case have established Article III standing to challenge the minimum-coverage provision in Section 5000A(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); (2) whether reducing the amount specified in Section 5000A(c) to zero rendered the minimum-coverage provision unconstitutional; and (3) if so, whether the minimum-coverage provision is severable from the rest of the ACA.

December Sitting

Van Buren v. U.S., No. 19-783 [Arg: 11.30.2020 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether a person who is authorized to access information on a computer for certain purposes violates Section 1030(a)(2) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act if he accesses the same information for an improper purpose.
Trump v. New York, No. 20-366 [Arg: 11.30.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 12.18.2020]
Holding: Because the challengers have not shown standing and because the claims presented are not ripe for adjudication, the district court’s judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.
Issue(s): Whether the Anti-Injunction Act’s bar on lawsuits for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of taxes also bars challenges to unlawful regulatory mandates issued by administrative agencies that are not taxes.
Nestlé USA v. Doe I, No. 19-416 [Arg: 12.1.2020 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): (1) Whether an aiding and abetting claim against a domestic corporation brought under the Alien Tort Statute may overcome the extraterritoriality bar where the claim is based on allegations of general corporate activity in the United States and where the plaintiffs cannot trace the alleged harms, which occurred abroad at the hands of unidentified foreign actors, to that activity; and (2) whether the judiciary has the authority under the Alien Tort Statute to impose liability on domestic corporations.
Cargill v. Doe I, No. 19-453 [Arg: 12.1.2020 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): (1) Whether the presumption against extraterritorial application of the Alien Tort Statute is displaced by allegations that a U.S. company generally conducted oversight of its foreign operations at its headquarters and made operational and financial decisions there, even though the conduct alleged to violate international law occurred in – and the plaintiffs suffered their injuries in – a foreign country; and (2) whether a domestic corporation is subject to liability in a private action under the Alien Tort Statute.
Edwards v. Vannoy, No. 19-5807 [Arg: 12.2.2020 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether the Supreme Court’s decision in Ramos v. Louisiana applies retroactively to cases on federal collateral review.
Republic of Hungary v. Simon, No. 18-1447 [Arg: 12.7.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 2.3.2021]
Holding: Judgment vacated and case remanded to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for further proceedings consistent with Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp.
Holding: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s expropriation exception, 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(3), incorporates the domestic takings rule, which recognizes that a foreign sovereign’s taking of its own nationals’ property is not a violation of international law.
Facebook Inc. v. Duguid, No. 19-511 [Arg: 12.8.2020 Trans./Aud.; Decided 4.1.2021]
Holding: To qualify as an “automatic telephone dialing system” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, a device must have the capacity either to store, or to produce, a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator.
Yellen v. Collins, No. 19-563 [Arg: 12.9.2020 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): (1) Whether the statute’s anti-injunction clause, which precludes courts from taking any action that would “restrain or affect the exercise of powers or functions of the Agency as a conservator,” 12 U.S.C. 4617(f), precludes a federal court from setting aside the Third Amendment. 2. Whether the statute’s succession clause—under which FHFA, as conservator, inherits the shareholders’ rights to bring derivative actions on behalf of the enterprises—precludes the shareholders from challenging the Third Amendment.
Collins v. Yellen, No. 19-422 [Arg: 12.9.2020 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s structure violates the separation of powers; and (2) whether the courts must set aside a final agency action that FHFA took when it was unconstitutionally structured and strike down the statutory provisions that make FHFA independent.

January Sitting

Issue(s): Whether the detention of an alien who is subject to a reinstated removal order and who is pursuing withholding or deferral of removal is governed by 8 U.S.C. § 1231, or instead by 8 U.S.C. § 1226.
Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, No. 19-968 [Arg: 1.12.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 3.8.2021]
Holding: A request for nominal damages satisfies the redressability element necessary for Article III standing where a plaintiff’s claim is based on a completed violation of a legal right.
Issue(s): Whether Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, by authorizing “injunction[s],” also authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to demand monetary relief such as restitution—and if so, the scope of the limits or requirements for such relief.
Holding: The Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 decision to repeal or modify three of its media ownership rules was not arbitrary or capricious for purposes of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Issue(s): Whether 28 U.S.C. 1447(d) permits a court of appeals to review any issue encompassed in a district court’s order remanding a removed case to state court when the removing defendant premised removal in part on the federal-officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1442, or the civil-rights removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1443.
Holding: The Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 decision to repeal or modify three of its media ownership rules was not arbitrary or capricious for purposes of the Administrative Procedure Act.

February Sitting

Florida v. Georgia, No. 22o142 [Arg: 2.22.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 4.1.2021]
Holding: Florida failed to establish that Georgia’s overconsumption of interstate waters was either a substantial factor contributing to, or the sole cause of, Florida’s injuries.
Garland v. Dai, No. 19-1155 [Arg: 2.23.2021 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): (1) Whether a court of appeals may conclusively presume that an asylum applicant’s testimony is credible and true whenever an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals adjudicates an application without making an explicit adverse credibility determination; and (2) whether the court of appeals violated the remand rule as set forth in INS v. Ventura when it determined in the first instance that the respondent, Ming Dai, was eligible for asylum and entitled to withholding of removal.
Issue(s): Whether a court of appeals may conclusively presume an applicant’s testimony is credible and true whenever an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals adjudicates a withholding-of-removal application without making an explicit adverse credibility determination.
Lange v. California, No. 20-18 [Arg: 2.24.2021 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether the pursuit of a person whom a police officer has probable cause to believe has committed a misdemeanor categorically qualifies as an exigent circumstance sufficient to allow the officer to enter a home without a warrant.
Issue(s): (1) Whether, for purposes of the Constitution’s appointments clause, administrative patent judges of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are principal officers who must be appointed by the president with the Senate’s advice and consent, or “inferior Officers” whose appointment Congress has permissibly vested in a department head; and (2) whether, if administrative patent judges are principal officers, the court of appeals properly cured any appointments clause defect in the current statutory scheme prospectively by severing the application of 5 U.S.C. § 7513(a) to those judges.
Issue(s): (1) Whether, for purposes of the Constitution’s appointments clause, administrative patent judges of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are principal officers who must be appointed by the president with the Senate’s advice and consent, or “inferior Officers” whose appointment Congress has permissibly vested in a department head; and (2) whether, if administrative patent judges are principal officers, the court of appeals properly cured any appointments clause defect in the current statutory scheme prospectively by severing the application of 5 U.S.C. § 7513(a) to those judges.
Issue(s): (1) Whether, for purposes of the Constitution’s appointments clause, administrative patent judges of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are principal officers who must be appointed by the president with the Senate’s advice and consent, or “inferior Officers” whose appointment Congress has permissibly vested in a department head; and (2) whether, if administrative patent judges are principal officers, the court of appeals properly cured any appointments clause defect in the current statutory scheme prospectively by severing the application of 5 U.S.C. § 7513(a) to those judges.
Issue(s): (1) Whether Arizona’s out-of-precinct policy, which does not count provisional ballots cast in person on Election Day outside of the voter’s designated precinct, violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; and (2) whether Arizona’s ballot-collection law, which permits only certain persons (i.e., family and household members, caregivers, mail carriers and elections officials) to handle another person’s completed early ballot, violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act or the 15th Amendment.
Issue(s): (1) Whether Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act compels states to authorize any voting practice that would be used disproportionately by racial minorities, even if existing voting procedures are race-neutral and offer all voters an equal opportunity to vote; and (2) whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit correctly held that Arizona’s ballot-harvesting prohibition was tainted by discriminatory intent even though the legislators were admittedly driven by partisan interests and by supposedly “unfounded” concerns about voter fraud.
Davis v. Saul, No. 20-105 [Arg: 3.3.2021 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether a claimant seeking disability benefits under the Social Security Act forfeits an appointments-clause challenge to the appointment of an administrative law judge by failing to present that challenge during administrative proceedings.
Carr v. Saul, No. 19-1442 [Arg: 3.3.2021 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether a claimant seeking disability benefits under the Social Security Act forfeits an appointments-clause challenge to the appointment of an administrative law judge by failing to present that challenge during administrative proceedings.

March Sitting

Issue(s): Whether the uncompensated appropriation of an easement that is limited in time effects a per se physical taking under the Fifth Amendment.
U.S. v. Cooley, No. 19-1414 [Arg: 3.23.2021 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether the lower courts erred in suppressing evidence on the theory that a police officer of an Indian tribe lacked authority to temporarily detain and search the respondent, Joshua James Cooley, a non-Indian, on a public right-of-way within a reservation based on a potential violation of state or federal law.
Caniglia v. Strom, No. 20-157 [Arg: 3.24.2021 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether the “community caretaking” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement extends to the home.
Issue(s): (1) Whether a defendant in a securities class action may rebut the presumption of classwide reliance recognized in Basic Inc. v. Levinson by pointing to the generic nature of the alleged misstatements in showing that the statements had no impact on the price of the security, even though that evidence is also relevant to the substantive element of materiality; and (2) whether a defendant seeking to rebut the Basic presumption has only a burden of production or also the ultimate burden of persuasion.
Issue(s): Whether either Article III or Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 permits a damages class action when the vast majority of the class suffered no actual injury, let alone an injury anything like what the class representative suffered.
Issue(s): Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erroneously held, in conflict with decisions of other circuits and general antitrust principles, that the National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility rules regarding compensation of student-athletes violate federal antitrust law.
Issue(s): Whether the Sherman Act authorizes a court to subject the product-defining rules of a joint venture to full Rule of Reason review, and to hold those rules unlawful if, in the court’s view, they are not the least restrictive means that could have been used to accomplish their procompetitive goal.

April Sitting

Issue(s): Whether Alaska Native regional and village corporations are “Indian tribes” under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act and therefore are eligible for emergency-relief funds under Title V of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Issue(s): Whether Alaska Native regional and village corporations established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act are “Indian Tribe[s]” for purposes of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Sanchez v. Mayorkas, No. 20-315 [Arg: 4.19.2021]
Issue(s): Whether, under 8 U.S.C. § 1254a(f)(4), a grant of temporary protected status authorizes eligible noncitizens to obtain lawful-permanent-resident status under 8 U.S.C. § 1255.
U.S. v. Gary, No. 20-444 [Arg: 4.20.2021]
Issue(s): Whether a defendant who pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) and 924(a), is automatically entitled to plain-error relief if the district court did not advise him that one element of that offense is knowledge of his status as a felon, regardless of whether he can show that the district court’s error affected the outcome of the proceedings.
Greer v. U.S., No. 19-8709 [Arg: 4.20.2021]
Issue(s): Whether, when applying plain-error review based on an intervening United States Supreme Court decision, Rehaif v. United States, a circuit court of appeals may review matters outside the trial record to determine whether the error affected a defendant’s substantial rights or impacted the fairness, integrity or public reputation of the trial.
Issue(s): Whether a defendant in a patent infringement action who assigned the patent, or is in privity with an assignor of the patent, may have a defense of invalidity heard on the merits.
Issue(s): Whether, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit alone has held, district courts “lack[] discretion to deny or reduce” appellate costs deemed “taxable” in district court under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 39(e).
Issue(s): (1) Whether exacting scrutiny or strict scrutiny applies to disclosure requirements that burden nonelectoral, expressive association rights; and (2) whether California’s disclosure requirement violates charities’ and their donors’ freedom of association and speech facially or as applied to the Thomas More Law Center.
Guam v. U.S., No. 20-382 [Arg: 4.26.2021]
Issue(s): (1) Whether a settlement that is not under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act can trigger a contribution claim under CERCLA Section 113(f)(3)(B); and (2) whether a settlement that expressly disclaims any liability determination and leaves the settling party exposed to future liability can trigger a contribution claim under CERCLA Section 113(f)(3)(B).
Issue(s): Whether the exacting scrutiny the Supreme Court has long required of laws that abridge the freedoms of speech and association outside the election context – as called for by NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson and its progeny – can be satisfied absent any showing that a blanket governmental demand for the individual identities and addresses of major donors to private nonprofit organizations is narrowly tailored to an asserted law-enforcement interest.
U.S. v. Palomar-Santiago, No. 20-437 [Arg: 4.27.2021]
Issue(s): Whether a defendant, charged with unlawful reentry into the United States following removal, automatically satisfies the prerequisites to asserting the invalidity of the original removal order as an affirmative defense solely by showing that he was removed for a crime that would not be considered a removable offense under current circuit law, even if he cannot independently demonstrate administrative exhaustion or deprivation of the opportunity for judicial review.
Issue(s): Whether, in order to qualify for a hardship exemption under Section 7545(o)(9)(B)(i) of the Renewable Fuel Standards, a small refinery needs to receive uninterrupted, continuous hardship exemptions for every year since 2011.
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Natural Gas Act delegates to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certificate-holders the authority to exercise the federal government’s eminent-domain power to condemn land in which a state claims an interest; and (2) whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit properly exercised jurisdiction over this case.
Issue(s): Whether Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which holds that public school officials may regulate speech that would materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school, applies to student speech that occurs off campus.

May Sitting

Terry v. U.S., No. 20-5904 [Arg: 5.4.2021]
Issue(s): Whether pre-August 3, 2010, crack offenders sentenced under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C) have a “covered offense” under Section 404 of the First Step Act.

Decided without oral argument

Holding: Under the unusual circumstances of this case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit should not have ventured into such an uncertain area of state tort law without first using state certification procedures to seek guidance from the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Holding: Because any reasonable correctional officer should have realized that Trent Taylor’s conditions of confinement offended the Eighth Amendment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit erred in granting the officers qualified immunity.
Holding: A decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit granting post-conviction relief to a man on Arizona's death row for his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel violated the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.
Mays v. Hines, No. 20-507 [ Decided 3.29.2021]
Holding: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit erred in revisiting on federal habeas review the decision of a Tennessee court supported by ample evidence that did not exceed the possibility of fairminded disagreement supporting that court’s conclusion.

Cases Not (Yet) Set for Argument

Issue(s): (1) Whether the Department of Homeland Security policy known as the Migrant Protection Protocols is a lawful implementation of the statutory authority conferred by 8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(2)(C); (2) whether MPP is consistent with any applicable and enforceable non-refoulement obligations; (3) whether MPP is exempt from the Administrative Procedure Act requirement of notice-and-comment rulemaking; and (4) whether the district court’s universal preliminary injunction is impermissibly overbroad.
Issue(s): Whether an impeachment trial before a legislative body is a “judicial proceeding” under Rule 6(e)(3)(E)(i) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Issue(s): (1) Whether respondents have a cognizable cause of action to obtain review of the acting secretary of defense’s compliance with a proviso in Section 8005 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act that the secretary’s authority to transfer funds internally between DOD appropriations accounts “may not be used unless for higher priority items, based on unforeseen military requirements, than those for which originally appropriated and in no case where the item for which funds are requested has been denied by the Congress”; and (2) whether in 2019 the acting secretary exceeded his statutory authority under Section 8005 by transferring approximately $2.5 billion in response to a request from the Department of Homeland Security for counterdrug assistance under 10 U.S.C. 284, including in the form of construction of fences along the southern border of the United States.

Cases dismissed from merits docket

Holding: Certiorari dismissed as improvidently granted.