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October Term 2021

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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.
Issue(s): Whether the state of New York's denial of petitioners' applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.
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

Issue(s): Whether, for purposes of calculating additional payment for hospitals that serve a “significantly disproportionate number of low-income patients,” the secretary of health and human services has permissibly included in a hospital’s Medicare fraction all of the hospital’s patient days of individuals who satisfy the requirements to be entitled to Medicare Part A benefits, regardless of whether Medicare paid the hospital for those particular days.
Issue(s): (1) Whether deference under Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council permits the Department of Health and Human Services to set reimbursement rates based on acquisition cost and vary such rates by hospital group if it has not collected adequate hospital acquisition cost survey data; and (2) whether petitioners’ suit challenging HHS’s adjustments is precluded by 42 U.S.C. § 1395l(t)(12).
Holding: Emotional distress damages are not recoverable in a private action to enforce either the Rehabilitation Act or the Affordable Care Act.
Issue(s): Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.
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.]
Issue(s): Whether 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(A)’s definition of “crime of violence” excludes attempted Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a).
Shinn v. Ramirez, No. 20-1009 [Arg: 12.8.2021 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether application of the equitable rule the Supreme Court announced in Martinez v. Ryan renders the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which precludes a federal court from considering evidence outside the state-court record when reviewing the merits of a claim for habeas relief if a prisoner or his attorney has failed to diligently develop the claim’s factual basis in state court, inapplicable to a federal court’s merits review of a claim for habeas relief.
Carson v. Makin, No. 20-1088 [Arg: 12.8.2021 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether a state violates the religion clauses or equal protection clause of the United States Constitution by prohibiting students participating in an otherwise generally available student-aid program from choosing to use their aid to attend schools that provide religious, or “sectarian,” instruction.

January Sitting

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.
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.
Issue(s): Whether the federal Medicaid Act provides for a state Medicaid program to recover reimbursement for Medicaid’s payment of a beneficiary’s past medical expenses by taking funds from the portion of the beneficiary’s tort recovery that compensates for future medical expenses.
Garland v. Gonzalez, No. 20-322 [Arg: 1.11.2022 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): (1) Whether an alien who is detained under 8 U.S.C. § 1231 is entitled by statute, after six months of detention, to a bond hearing at which the government must prove to an immigration judge that the alien is a flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2) whether, under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(f)(1), the courts below had jurisdiction to grant classwide injunctive relief.
Issue(s): Whether an alien who is detained under 8 U.S.C. § 1231 is entitled by statute, after six months of detention, to a bond hearing at which the government must prove to an immigration judge by clear and convincing evidence that the alien is 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.]
Issue(s): Whether, when deciding if it should “impose a reduced sentence” on an individual under Section 404(b) of the First Step Act of 2018, a district court must or may consider intervening legal and factual developments.

February Sitting

Denezpi v. U.S., No. 20-7622 [Arg: 02.22.2022 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether the Court of Indian Offenses of Ute Mountain Ute Agency is a federal agency such that Merle Denezpi’s conviction in that court barred his subsequent prosecution in a United States district court for a crime arising out of the same incident.
Issue(s): Whether the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act provides the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo with sovereign authority to regulate non-prohibited gaming activities on its lands (including bingo), as set forth in the plain language of Section 107(b), the act’s legislative history and the Supreme Court’s holding in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, or whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit’s decision affirming Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas (Ysleta I) correctly subjects the Pueblo to all Texas gaming regulations.
Issue(s): (1) Whether states with interests should be permitted to intervene to defend a rule when the United States ceases to defend.
Issue(s): Whether, in 42 U.S.C. § 7411(d), an ancillary provision of the Clean Air Act, Congress constitutionally authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to issue significant rules — including those capable of reshaping the nation’s electricity grids and unilaterally decarbonizing virtually any sector of the economy — without any limits on what the agency can require so long as it considers cost, nonair impacts and energy requirements.
Issue(s): (1) Whether a group health plan that provides uniform reimbursement of all dialysis treatments observe the prohibition provided by the Medicare Secondary Payer Act that group health plans may not “take into account” the fact that a plan participant with end stage renal disease is eligible for Medicare benefits; (2) whether a plan that provides the same dialysis benefits to all plan participants, and reimburses dialysis providers uniformly regardless of whether the patient has end stage renal disease, observe the prohibition under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act that a group health plan also may not “differentiate” between individuals with end stage renal disease and others “in the benefits it provides”; and (3) whether the Medicare Secondary Payer Act is a coordination-of-benefits measure designed to protect Medicare, not an antidiscrimination law designed to protect certain providers from alleged disparate impact of uniform treatment.
Ruan v. U.S., No. 20-1410 [Arg: 03.1.2022 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): Whether a physician alleged to have prescribed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice may be convicted of unlawful distribution under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) without regard to whether, in good faith, he “reasonably believed” or “subjectively intended” that his prescriptions fall within that course of professional practice.
Egbert v. Boule, No. 21-147 [Arg: 03.02.2022 Trans./Aud.]
Issue(s): (1) Whether a cause of action exists under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics for First Amendment retaliation claims; and (2) whether a cause of action exists under Bivens for claims against federal officers engaged in immigration-related functions for allegedly violating a plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights.

March Sitting

Morgan v. Sundance, No. 21-328 [Arg: 03.21.2022]
Issue(s): Whether the arbitration-specific requirement that the proponent of a contractual waiver defense prove prejudice violates the Supreme Court’s instruction in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion that lower courts must “place arbitration agreements on an equal footing with other contracts."
Issue(s): (1) Whether a state agent authorized by state law to defend the state’s interest in litigation must overcome a presumption of adequate representation to intervene as of right in a case in which a state official is a defendant; (2) whether a district court’s determination of adequate representation in ruling on a motion to intervene as of right is reviewed de novo or for abuse of discretion; and (3) whether petitioners Philip Berger, the president pro tempore of the state senate, and Timothy Moore, the speaker of the state house of representatives, are entitled to intervene as of right in this litigation.
Golan v. Saada, No. 20-1034 [Arg: 03.22.2022]
Issue(s): Whether, upon finding that return to the country of habitual residence places a child at grave risk, a district court is required to consider ameliorative measures that would facilitate the return of the child notwithstanding the grave risk finding.
Issue(s): Whether 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a), which permits litigants to invoke the authority of United States courts 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, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 5th and 7th Circuits have held.
Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon, No. 21-309 [Arg: 03.28.2022]
Issue(s): Whether workers who load or unload goods from vehicles that travel in interstate commerce, but do not physically transport such goods themselves, are interstate “transportation workers” exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act.
Holding: The judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit is affirmed by an equally divided court.
Issue(s): Whether Congress has the power to authorize suits against nonconsenting states pursuant to its constitutional war powers.
Viking River Cruises v. Moriana, No. 20-1573 [Arg: 03.30.2022]
Issue(s): Whether the Federal Arbitration Act requires enforcement of a bilateral arbitration agreement providing that an employee cannot raise representative claims, including under the California Private Attorneys General Act.

April Sitting

Siegel v. Fitzgerald, No. 21-441 [Arg: 04.18.2022]
Issue(s): Whether the Bankruptcy Judgeship Act violates the uniformity requirement of the Constitution's bankruptcy clause by increasing quarterly fees solely in districts under the U.S. Trustee program, not in those under the Bankruptcy Administrator program.
U.S. v. Washington, No. 21-404 [Arg: 04.18.2022]
Issue(s): Whether a state workers’ compensation law that applies exclusively to federal contract workers who perform services at a specified federal facility is barred by principles of intergovernmental immunity, or is instead authorized by 40 U.S.C. § 3172(a), which permits the application of state workers’ compensation laws to federal facilities “in the same way and to the same extent as if the premises were under the exclusive jurisdiction of the State.”
Kemp v. U.S., No. 21-5726 [Arg: 04.19.2022]
Issue(s): Whether Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1) authorizes relief based on a district court’s error of law.
George v. McDonough, No. 21-234 [Arg: 04.19.2022]
Issue(s): Whether, when the Department of Veterans Affairs denies a veteran’s claim for benefits in reliance on an agency interpretation that is later deemed invalid under the plain text of the statutory provisions in effect at the time of the denial, that is the kind of “clear and unmistakable error” that the veteran may invoke to challenge VA’s decision.
Vega v. Tekoh, No. 21-499 [Arg: 04.20.2022]
Issue(s): Whether a plaintiff may state a claim for relief against a law enforcement officer under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based simply on an officer’s failure to provide the warnings prescribed in Miranda v. Arizona.
Nance v. Ward, No. 21-439 [Arg: 04.25.2022]
Issue(s): (1) Whether an inmate’s as-applied method-of-execution challenge must be raised in a habeas petition instead of through a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action if the inmate pleads an alternative method of execution not currently authorized by state law; and (2) whether, if such a challenge must be raised in habeas, it constitutes a successive petition when the challenge would not have been ripe at the time of the inmate’s first habeas petition.
Issue(s): (1) Whether a public-school employee who says a brief, quiet prayer by himself while at school and visible to students is engaged in government speech that lacks any First Amendment protection; and (2) whether, assuming that such religious expression is private and protected by the free speech and free exercise clauses, the establishment clause nevertheless compels public schools to prohibit it.
Shoop v. Twyford, No. 21-511 [Arg: 04.26.2022]
Issue(s): (1) Whether federal courts may use the All Writs Act to order the transportation of state prisoners for reasons not enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c); and (2) whether, before a court grants an order allowing a habeas petitioner to develop new evidence, it must determine whether the evidence could aid the petitioner in proving his entitlement to habeas relief, and whether the evidence may permissibly be considered by a habeas court.
Biden v. Texas, No. 21-954 [Arg: 04.26.2022]
Issue(s): (1) Whether 8 U.S.C. § 1225 requires the Department of Homeland Security to continue implementing the Migrant Protection Protocols, a former policy under which certain noncitizens arriving at the southwest border were returned to Mexico during their immigration proceedings; and (2) whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit erred by concluding that the secretary of homeland security’s new decision terminating MPP had no legal effect.
Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, No. 21-429 [Arg: 04.27.2022]
Issue(s): Whether a state has authority to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes 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.