Breaking News

October Term 2021

View this list sorted by case name.

October Sitting

Mississippi v. Tennessee, No. 22O143 [Arg: 10.4.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 11.22.2021]
Holding: The waters of the Middle Claiborne Aquifer are subject to the judicial remedy of equitable apportionment; Mississippi’s complaint is dismissed without leave to amend.
Wooden v. U.S., No. 20-5279 [Arg: 10.4.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 03.07.2022]
Holding: William Dale Wooden’s ten burglary offenses arising from a single criminal episode did not occur on different “occasions” and thus count as only one prior conviction under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
Brown v. Davenport, No. 20-826 [Arg: 10.5.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 04.21.2022]
Holding: When a state court has ruled on the merits of a state prisoner’s claim, a federal court cannot grant habeas relief without applying both the test the Supreme Court outlined in Brecht v. Abrahamson and the one Congress prescribed in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit erred in granting habeas relief to Ervine Davenport based solely on its assessment that he could satisfy the Brecht standard.
Hemphill v. New York, No. 20-637 [Arg: 10.5.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 01.20.2022]
Holding: The trial court’s admission—over Hemphill’s objection—of the plea allocution transcript of an unavailable witness violated Hemphill’s Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him.
U.S. v. Zubaydah, No. 20-827 [Arg: 10.6.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 03.03.2022]
Holding: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s judgment that the district court erred in dismissing Zubaydah’s discovery request on the basis of the state secrets privilege is reversed, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss Zubaydah’s current discovery application.
Thompson v. Clark, No. 20-659 [Arg: 10.12.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 04.04.2022]
Holding: Larry Thompson’s showing that his criminal prosecution ended without a conviction satisfies the requirement to demonstrate a favorable termination of a criminal prosecution in a Fourth Amendment claim under Section 1983 for malicious prosecution; an affirmative indication of innocence is not needed.
Holding: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit erred in denying the Kentucky attorney general’s motion to intervene on the commonwealth’s behalf in litigation concerning Kentucky House Bill 454.
Babcock v. Kijakazi, No. 20-480 [Arg: 10.13.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 01.13.2022]
Holding: Civil-service pension payments based on employment as a dual-status military technician are not payments based on “service as a member of a uniformed service” under 42 U.S.C. § 415(a)(7)(A)(III).
U.S. v. Tsarnaev, No. 20-443 [Arg: 10.13.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 03.04.2022]
Holding: The judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit vacating Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capital sentences is reversed.

November Sitting

U.S. v. Texas, No. 21-588 [Arg: 11.1.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 12.10.2021]
Holding: The writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted and the application to vacate stay presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the court is denied.
Holding: A pre-enforcement challenge under the federal Constitution to Texas Senate Bill 8 — the Texas Heartbeat Act — may proceed past the motion to dismiss stage against certain of the named defendants but not others; the order of the district court is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded.
Badgerow v. Walters, No. 20-1143 [Arg: 11.2.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 03.31.2022]
Holding: Federal jurisdiction in a petition to compel arbitration under Section 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act is determined by “looking through” the petition to the jurisdictional basis of the “underlying substantive controversy,” Vaden v. Discover Bank, but that approach does not apply to petitions to confirm or vacate arbitral awards under Sections 9 and 10 of the FAA.
Holding: Respondent David Wilson does not possess an actionable First Amendment claim arising from his purely verbal censure by the Board of Trustees of the Houston Community College System.
Holding: New York’s proper-cause requirement for obtaining an unrestricted license to carry a concealed firearm violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Holding: Lack of either factual or legal knowledge can excuse an inaccuracy in a copyright registration under 17 U.S.C. § 411(b)(1)(A)’s safe harbor.
Holding: Section 1806(f) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 — providing a procedure under which a trial-level court or other authority may consider the legality of electronic surveillance conducted under FISA and order specified forms of relief — does not displace the state secrets privilege.
Ramirez v. Collier, No. 21-5592 [Arg: 11.9.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 03.24.2022]
Holding: Petitioner John Ramirez is likely to succeed on his claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act because Texas’ restrictions on religious touch and audible prayer in the execution chamber burden religious exercise and are not the least restrictive means of furthering the state’s compelling interests.
U.S. v. Vaello-Madero, No. 20-303 [Arg: 11.9.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 4.21.2022]
Holding: The Constitution does not require Congress to extend Supplemental Security Income benefits to residents of Puerto Rico.
Holding: The distinction between on-premises signs and off-premises signs in the city of Austin’s sign code is facially content-neutral under the First Amendment.

December Sitting

Holding: For purposes of calculating the Medicare fraction — one of two fractions the Medicare program uses to adjust the rates paid to hospitals that serve a higher-than-usual percentage of low-income patients — those individuals “entitled to [Medicare Part A] benefits” are all those qualifying for the program, regardless of whether they receive Medicare payments for part or all of a hospital stay.
Holding: The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 does not preclude judicial review of the reimbursement rates set by the Department of Health and Human Services for certain outpatient prescription drugs that hospitals provide to Medicare patients; in this case, because HHS did not conduct a survey of hospitals’ acquisition costs in 2018 and 2019, its decision to vary reimbursement rates only for 340B hospitals in those years was unlawful.
Holding: Emotional distress damages are not recoverable in a private action to enforce either the Rehabilitation Act or the Affordable Care Act.
Holding: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey are overruled; the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
Patel v. Garland, No. 20-979 [Arg: 12.6.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 05.16.2022]
Holding: Federal courts lack jurisdiction to review facts found as part of any judgment relating to the granting of discretionary relief in immigration proceedings enumerated under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2).
Holding: Determining whether plan participants state plausible claims against plan fiduciaries for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s duty of prudence requires a context-specific inquiry of the fiduciaries’ continuing duty to monitor investments and to remove imprudent ones as articulated in Tibble v. Edison International, 575 U.S. 523; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit erred in relying on the participants’ ultimate choice over their investments to excuse allegedly imprudent decisions by respondents.
U.S. v. Taylor, No. 20-1459 [Arg: 12.7.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.21.2022]
Holding: Attempted Hobbs Act robbery does not qualify as a “crime of violence” under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(A) because no element of the offense requires proof that the defendant used, attempted to use, or threatened to use force.
Carson v. Makin, No. 20-1088 [Arg: 12.8.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.21.2022]
Holding: Maine’s “nonsectarian” requirement for otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments to parents who live in school districts that do not operate a secondary school of their own violates the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.
Shinn v. Ramirez, No. 20-1009 [Arg: 12.8.2021 Trans./Aud.; Decided 05.23.2022]
Holding: Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2), a federal habeas court may not conduct an evidentiary hearing or otherwise consider evidence beyond the state court record based on the ineffective assistance of state postconviction counsel.

January Sitting

Holding: The court grants the applications to stay the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s challenged rule mandating that employers with at least 100 employees require covered workers to receive a COVID–19 vaccine.
Biden v. Missouri, No. 21A240 [Arg: 1.7.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 01.13.2022]
Holding: The court grants the applications to stay the two injunctions barring the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ regulation requiring facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against COVID–19.
Gallardo v. Marstiller, No. 20-1263 [Arg: 1.10.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.06.2022]
Holding: The Medicaid Act permits a state to seek reimbursement from settlement payments allocated for future medical care.
Garland v. Gonzalez, No. 20-322 [Arg: 1.11.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.13.2022]
Holding: 8 U.S.C. § 1252(f)(1) — which generally strips lower courts of “jurisdiction or authority” to “enjoin or restrain the operation of” certain provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act — deprived the district courts of jurisdiction in these cases to entertain respondents’ requests for class-wide injunctive relief.
Johnson v. Arteaga-Martinez, No. 19-896 [Arg: 1.11.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.13.2022]
Holding: 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(6) does not require the government to provide noncitizens detained for six months with bond hearings in which the government bears the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that a noncitizen poses a flight risk or a danger to the community.
Holding: The 30-day time limit to file a petition for review of a collection due process determination under 26 U.S.C. § 6330(d)(1) is a non-jurisdictional deadline subject to equitable tolling.
Holding: Because Boston’s flag-raising program did not constitute government speech, Boston’s refusal to let petitioners fly their flag violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment.
Holding: In a suit raising non-federal claims against a foreign state or instrumentality under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a court should determine the substantive law by using the same choice-of-law rule applicable in a similar suit against a private party.
Holding: Section 304 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 — which limits the amount of post-election contributions that may be used to repay a candidate who lends money to his own campaign — unconstitutionally burdens core political speech.
Concepcion v. U.S., No. 20-1650 [Arg: 1.19.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.27.2022]
Holding: Section 404(b) of the First Step Act of 2018 allows district courts to consider intervening changes of law or fact in exercising their discretion to reduce a sentence.

February Sitting

Denezpi v. U.S., No. 20-7622 [Arg: 02.22.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.13.2022]
Holding: The double jeopardy clause does not bar successive prosecutions of distinct offenses arising from a single act, even if a single sovereign prosecutes them.
Holding: The federal legislation at issue — the Ysleta del Sur and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act — bans as a matter of federal law on tribal lands only those gaming activities also banned in Texas.
Holding: The writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted.
Holding: Congress did not grant the Environmental Protection Agency in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the agency took in the Clean Power Plan.
Holding: The Medicare Secondary Payer statute does not authorize disparate-impact liability, and the Marietta Plan’s coverage terms for outpatient dialysis do not violate 42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b)(1)(C) because those terms apply uniformly to all covered individuals.
Ruan v. U.S., No. 20-1410 [Arg: 03.1.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.27.2022]
Holding: For the crime of prescribing controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841, the mens rea “knowingly or intentionally” applies to the statute’s “except as authorized” clause.
Egbert v. Boule, No. 21-147 [Arg: 03.02.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.08.2022]
Holding: The authority of a court to imply a cause of action under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics does not extend to either Robert Boule’s Fourth Amendment excessive-force claim or his First Amendment retaliation claim.

March Sitting

Morgan v. Sundance, No. 21-328 [Arg: 03.21.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 05.23.2022]
Holding: Federal courts may not adopt an arbitration-specific rule conditioning a waiver of the right to arbitrate on a showing of prejudice.
Holding: The speaker of the North Carolina State House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the North Carolina State Senate are entitled to intervene in this litigation challenging North Carolina’s voter-ID law.
Golan v. Saada, No. 20-1034 [Arg: 03.22.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.15.2022]
Holding: A court is not categorically required to examine all possible ameliorative measures before denying a Hague Convention petition for return of a child to a foreign country once the court has found that return would expose the child to a grave risk of harm.
Holding: Although 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a) permits a district court to order discovery “for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal,” only a governmental or intergovernmental adjudicative body may qualify as such a tribunal, and the arbitration panels in these cases are not such adjudicative bodies.
Holding: Airplane cargo loaders and ramp supervisors who, like petitioner Latrice Saxon, frequently load and unload airplane cargo belong to a “class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce” exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act's coverage.
Holding: The judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit is affirmed by an equally divided court.
Holding: By ratifying the Constitution, the states agreed their sovereignty would yield to the national power to raise and support the Armed Forces; Congress may exercise this power to authorize private damages suits against non-consenting states, as in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.
Holding: The Federal Arbitration Act preempts a rule of California law that invalidates contractual waivers of the right to assert representative claims under PAGA — the California Private Attorneys General Act — insofar as that rule precludes division of PAGA actions into individual and non-individual claims through an agreement to arbitrate.

April Sitting

Siegel v. Fitzgerald, No. 21-441 [Arg: 04.18.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.06.2022]
Holding: Congress’ enactment of a significant fee increase that exempted debtors in two states violated the uniformity requirement of the bankruptcy clause.
U.S. v. Washington, No. 21-404 [Arg: 04.18.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.21.2022]
Holding: Washington’s workers’ compensation law is unconstitutional under the supremacy clause because it facially discriminates against the federal government and does not fall within the scope of the federal waiver of immunity contained in 40 U.S.C. § 3172.
Kemp v. U.S., No. 21-5726 [Arg: 04.19.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.13.2022]
Holding: The term “mistake” in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1) includes a judge’s errors of law; because Dexter Kemp’s motion alleged such an error, it was cognizable under Rule 60(b)(1) and untimely under Rule 60(c)’s one-year limitations period.
George v. McDonough, No. 21-234 [Arg: 04.19.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.15.2022]
Holding: The invalidation of a Department of Veterans Affairs regulation after a veteran’s benefits decision becomes final cannot support a claim for collateral relief permitting revision of that decision based on “clear and unmistakable error” under 38 U.S.C. §§ 5109A and 7111.
Vega v. Tekoh, No. 21-499 [Arg: 04.20.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.23.2022]
Holding: A violation of the prophylactic rules described in Miranda v. Arizona does not provide a basis for a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Nance v. Ward, No. 21-439 [Arg: 04.25.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.23.2022]
Holding: Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is the procedural vehicle appropriate for a prisoner’s method-of-execution claim even if an order granting the relief requested would necessitate a change in state law.
Holding: The free exercise and free speech clauses of the First Amendment protect an individual engaging in a personal religious observance from government reprisal; the Constitution neither mandates nor permits the government to suppress such religious expression.
Biden v. Texas, No. 21-954 [Arg: 04.26.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.30.2022]
Holding: The government’s rescission of Migrant Protection Protocols did not violate Section 1225 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the then-Secretary of Homeland Security’s Oct. 29 memoranda constituted valid final agency action.
Shoop v. Twyford, No. 21-511 [Arg: 04.26.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.21.2022]
Holding: A transportation order that allows a prisoner to search for new evidence — in this case an order compelling the state to transport Raymond Twyford to a medical facility for neurological testing — is not “necessary or appropriate in aid of” a federal court’s adjudication of a habeas corpus action when the prisoner has not shown that the desired evidence would be admissible in connection with a particular claim for relief.
Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, No. 21-429 [Arg: 04.27.2022 Trans./Aud.; Decided 06.29.2022]
Holding: The federal government and the state have concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian country.

Decided without oral argument

Holding: Officer Rivas-Villegas is entitled to qualified immunity in this excessive force action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s holding that circuit precedent “put him on notice that his conduct constituted excessive force” is reversed.
Holding: Officers Girdner and Vick are entitled to qualified immunity in this excessive force action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit’s contrary holding is not based on a single precedent finding a Fourth Amendment violation under similar circumstances.

Cases dismissed from merits docket

Issue(s): (1) Whether the Department of Health and Human Services' rule for the Title X family planning program — which prohibits and compels certain pregnancy-related speech between a Title X provider and her patient, proscribing abortion-related information but requiring information about non-abortion options — is arbitrary and capricious; (2) whether the rule violates the Title X appropriations act, which requires that “all pregnancy counseling” under Title X “shall be nondirective”; and (3) whether the rule violates Section 1554 of the Affordable Care Act, which requires that HHS “shall not promulgate any regulation” that harms patient care in any one of six ways, including by “interfer[ing] with communications” between a patient and her provider.
Issue(s): (1) Whether entities that are not subject to the public-charge ground of inadmissibility contained in Immigration and Nationality Act, and which seek to expand benefits usage by aliens who are potentially subject to that provision, are proper parties to challenge the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's final rule interpreting the statutory term “public charge” and establishing a framework by which DHS personnel are to assess whether an alien is likely to become a public charge; and (2) whether the final rule is likely contrary to law or arbitrary and capricious.
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Department of Health and Human Services' rule, which prohibits Title X projects from providing referrals for abortion as a method of family planning, falls within the agency’s statutory authority; and (2) whether the rule is the product of reasoned decisionmaking.
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Department of Health and Human Services' final rule — which prohibits Title X providers from communicating certain abortion-related information to their patients and requires physical separation of Title X-funded care from healthcare facilities that provide abortion services or certain abortion-related information — violates appropriations statutes requiring that “all pregnancy counseling” in the Title X program “shall be nondirective”; (2) whether the final rule violates Section 1554 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits HHS from promulgating “any regulation” that creates “unreasonable barriers” to obtaining appropriate medical care, impedes “timely access” to such care, interferes with patient-provider communications “regarding a full range of treatment options,” restricts providers from disclosing “all relevant information to patients making health care decisions,” or violates providers’ ethical standards; and (3) whether the final rule is arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, including by failing to respond adequately to concerns that (a) the rule requires medical professionals to violate medical ethics and (b) the counseling restrictions and physical-separation requirement impose significant costs and impair access to care.
Issue(s): 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.
Issue(s): Whether Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — and by extension Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which incorporates the “enforcement mechanisms” of other federal antidiscrimination statutes — provides a disparate-impact cause of action for plaintiffs alleging disability discrimination.
Issue(s): Whether the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act’s discovery-stay provision applies to a private action under the Securities Act of 1933 in state or federal court, or solely to a private action in federal court.