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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.; Decided 6.10.2021]
Holding: The decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit — holding that an offense with a mental state of recklessness may qualify as a “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act’s elements clause, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(i) — is reversed, and the case is remanded.
Jones v. Mississippi, No. 18-1259 [Arg: 11.03.20 Trans./Aud.; Decided 4.22.2021]
Holding: The Eighth Amendment does not require 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.
Niz-Chavez v. Garland, No. 19-863 [Arg: 11.09.20 Trans./Aud.; Decided 4.29.2021]
Holding: A notice to appear sufficient to trigger the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996’s stop-time rule is a single document containing all the information about an individual’s removal hearing specified in 8 U.S.C. § 1229(a)(1).
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.; Decided 6.3.2021]
Holding: An individual “exceeds authorized access” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2), when he accesses a computer with authorization but then obtains information located in particular areas of the computer — such as files, folders or databases — that are off-limits to him.
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.
Holding: A suit to enjoin IRS Notice 2016–66 does not trigger the Anti-Injunction Act even though a violation of the notice may result in a tax penalty.
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.; Decided 5.17.2021]
Holding: The jury-unanimity rule announced in Ramos v. Louisiana does not apply retroactively 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.
Holding: Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act does not authorize the commission to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement.
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.
Holding: Where defendant energy companies premised 28 U. S. C. § 1447(d) removal in part on the federal officer removal statute, Section 1442, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit erred in holding that it lacked jurisdiction to consider all grounds for removal rejected by the district court.
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.; Decided 6.1.2021]
Holding: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's rule in immigration disputes — that in the absence of an explicit adverse credibility determination by an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals, a reviewing court must treat a petitioning noncitizen’s testimony as credible and true — cannot be reconciled with the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Garland v. Alcaraz-Enriquez, No. 19-1156 [Arg: 2.23.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 6.1.2021]
Holding: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's rule in immigration disputes — that in the absence of an explicit adverse credibility determination by an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals, a reviewing court must treat a petitioning noncitizen’s testimony as credible and true — cannot be reconciled with the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
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.; Decided 4.22.2021]
Holding: Principles of issue exhaustion do not require Social Security disability claimants to argue at the agency level that the administrative law judges hearing their disability claims were unconstitutionally appointed.
Carr v. Saul, No. 19-1442 [Arg: 3.3.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 4.22.2021]
Holding: Principles of issue exhaustion do not require Social Security disability claimants to argue at the agency level that the administrative law judges hearing their disability claims were unconstitutionally appointed.

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.; Decided 6.1.2021]
Holding: A tribal police officer has authority to detain temporarily and to search a non-Native American traveling on a public right-of-way running through a reservation for potential violations of state or federal law.
Caniglia v. Strom, No. 20-157 [Arg: 3.24.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 5.17.2021]
Holding: Neither the holding nor logic of Cady v. Dombrowski justifies the removal of Edward Caniglia’s firearms from his home by police officers under a “community caretaking exception” to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.
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 Trans./Aud.; Decided 6.7.2021]
Holding: An individual who entered the United States unlawfully is not eligible to become a lawful permanent resident under 8 U.S.C. § 1255 even if the United States has granted the individual temporary protected status.
U.S. v. Gary, No. 20-444 [Arg: 4.20.2021 Trans./Aud.]
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 Trans./Aud.]
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.
Holding: Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 39 does not permit a district court to alter a court of appeals’ allocation of the costs listed in subdivision (e) of that rule.
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 Trans./Aud.; Decided 5.24.2021]
Holding: A settlement of environmental liabilities must resolve a specific liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 to give rise to a contribution action under that act.
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 Trans./Aud.; Decided 5.24.2021]
Holding: Each of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(d)’s statutory requirements for bringing a collateral attack on a prior deportation order is mandatory.
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 Trans./Aud.]
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.
Holding: The requirement under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) that a habeas petitioner be “in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court” is not met if the state judgment is simply a necessary predicate to a federal conviction.

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): Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit erred in concluding that the secretary of health and human services may not authorize demonstration projects to test requirements that are designed to promote the provision of health-care coverage by means of facilitating the transition of Medicaid beneficiaries to commercial coverage and improving their health.
Issue(s): Whether the approval by the secretary of health and human services of the Arkansas Works Amendment was lawful.
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.