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October Term 2021

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Merits cases (to be) decided during OT 2021

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).
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.
Babcock v. Kijakazi, No. 20-480 [Arg: 10.13.2021]
Issue(s): Whether a civil service pension received for federal civilian employment as a “military technician (dual status)” is “a payment based wholly on service as a member of a uniformed service” for the purposes of the Social Security Act’s windfall elimination provision.
Badgerow v. Walters, No. 20-1143 [Arg: 11.2.2021]
Issue(s): Whether federal courts have subject-matter jurisdiction to confirm or vacate an arbitration award under Sections 9 and 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act when the only basis for jurisdiction is that the underlying dispute involved a federal question.
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 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): Whether the 30-day time limit to file a petition for review in the Tax Court of a notice of determination from the commissioner of internal revenue in 26 U.S.C. § 6330(d)(1) is a jurisdictional requirement or a claim-processing rule subject to equitable tolling.
Brown v. Davenport, No. 20-826 [Arg: 10.5.2021]
Issue(s): Whether a federal habeas court may grant relief based solely on its conclusion that the test from Brecht v. Abrahamson is satisfied, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held, or whether the court must also find that the state court’s application of Chapman v. California was unreasonable under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits have held.
Issue(s): Whether a state attorney general vested with the power to defend state law should be permitted to intervene after a federal court of appeals invalidates a state statute when no other state actor will defend the law.
Carson v. Makin, No. 20-1088 [Arg: 12.8.2021]
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.
Issue(s): Whether a federal court hearing state law claims brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act must apply the forum state’s choice-of-law rules to determine what substantive law governs the claims at issue, or whether it may apply federal common law.
Issue(s): Whether the Austin city code’s distinction between on-premise signs, which may be digitized, and off-premise signs, which may not, is a facially unconstitutional content-based regulation under Reed v. Town of Gilbert.
Holding: Officers Girdner and Vick are entitled to qualified immunity in this excessive force action brought under 42 U. S. C. §1983; the 10th Circuit’s contrary holding is not based on a single precedent finding a Fourth Amendment violation under similar circumstances.
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.
Issue(s): Whether the compensatory damages available under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the statutes that incorporate its remedies for victims of discrimination, such as the Rehabilitation Act and the Affordable Care Act, include compensation for emotional distress.
CVS Pharmacy Inc. v. Doe, No. 20-1374 [Arg: 12.7.2021]
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 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): (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): Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.
Issue(s): Whether Section 1806(f) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 displaces the state-secrets privilege and authorizes a district court to resolve, in camera and ex parte, the merits of a lawsuit challenging the lawfulness of government surveillance by considering the privileged evidence.
Issue(s): (1) Whether appellees have standing to challenge the statutory loan-repayment limit of 52 U.S.C. 30116(j); and (2) whether the loan-repayment limit violates the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment.
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.
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.
Hemphill v. New York, No. 20-637 [Arg: 10.5.2021]
Issue(s): Whether, or under what circumstances, a criminal defendant, whose argumentation or introduction of evidence at trial “opens the door” to the admission of responsive evidence that would otherwise be barred by the rules of evidence, also forfeits his right to exclude evidence otherwise barred by the confrontation clause.
Issue(s): Whether the First Amendment restricts the authority of an elected body to issue a censure resolution in response to a member’s speech.
Issue(s): Whether allegations that a defined-contribution retirement plan paid or charged its participants fees that substantially exceeded fees for alternative available investment products or services are sufficient to state a claim against plan fiduciaries for breach of the duty of prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1104(a)(1)(B).
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.
Mississippi v. Tennessee, No. 22O143 [Arg: 10.4.2021]
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Court will grant Mississippi leave to file an original action to seek relief from respondents’ use of a pumping operation to take approximately 252 billion gallons of high-quality groundwater; (2) whether Mississippi has sole sovereign authority over and control of groundwater naturally stored within its borders, including in sandstone within Mississippi’s borders; and (3) whether Mississippi is entitled to damages, injunctive, and other equitable relief for the Mississippi intrastate groundwater intentionally and forcibly taken by respondents. CVSG: 5/12/2015.
Issue(s): Whether the state of New York's denial of petitioners' applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.
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.
Patel v. Garland, No. 20-979 [Arg: 12.6.2021]
Issue(s): Whether 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B)(i) preserves the jurisdiction of federal courts to review a nondiscretionary determination that a noncitizen is ineligible for certain types of discretionary relief.
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.
Ramirez v. Collier, No. 21-5592 [Arg: 11.9.2021]
Issue(s): (1) Whether, consistent with the free exercise clause and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, Texas’ decision to allow Ramirez’s pastor to enter the execution chamber, but forbidding the pastor from laying his hands on his parishioner as he dies, substantially burden the exercise of his religion, so as to require Texas to justify the deprivation as the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling governmental interest; and (2) whether, considering the free exercise clause and RLUIPA, Texas’ decision to allow Ramirez’s pastor to enter the execution chamber, but forbidding the pastor from singing prayers, saying prayers or scripture, or whispering prayers or scripture, substantially burden the exercise of his religion, so as to require Texas to justify the deprivation as the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling governmental interest.
Holding: Officer Rivas-Villegas is entitled to qualified immunity in this excessive force action brought under 42 U. S. C. §1983; the 9th Circuit’s holding that circuit precedent “put him on notice that his conduct constituted excessive force” is reversed.
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 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.
Issue(s): (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit’s failure to apply the Supreme Court’s forum doctrine to the First Amendment challenge of a private religious organization that was denied access to briefly display its flag on a city flagpole, pursuant to a city policy expressly designating the flagpole a public forum open to all applicants, with hundreds of approvals and no denials, conflicts with the Supreme Court’s precedents holding that speech restrictions based on religious viewpoint or content violate the First Amendment or are otherwise subject to strict scrutiny and that the establishment clause is not a defense to censorship of private speech in a public forum open to all comers; (2) whether the 1st Circuit’s classifying as government speech the brief display of a private religious organization’s flag on a city flagpole, pursuant to a city policy expressly designating the flagpole a public forum open to all applicants, with hundreds of approvals and no denials, unconstitutionally expands the government speech doctrine, in direct conflict with the court’s decisions in Matal v. Tam, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. and Pleasant Grove City v. Summum; and (3) whether the 1st Circuit’s finding that the requirement for perfunctory city approval of a proposed brief display of a private religious organization’s flag on a city flagpole, pursuant to a city policy expressly designating the flagpole a public forum open to all applicants with hundreds of approvals and no denials, transforms the religious organization’s private speech into government speech, conflicts with the Supreme Court’s precedent in Matal v. Tam, and circuit court precedents in New Hope Family Services, Inc. v. Poole, Wandering Dago, Inc. v. Destito, Eagle Point Education Association v. Jackson County School District and Robb v. Hungerbeeler.
Thompson v. Clark, No. 20-659 [Arg: 10.12.2021]
Issue(s): Whether the rule that a plaintiff must await favorable termination before bringing a Section 1983 action alleging unreasonable seizure pursuant to legal process requires the plaintiff to show that the criminal proceeding against him has “formally ended in a manner not inconsistent with his innocence,” as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit decided in Laskar v. Hurd, or that the proceeding “ended in a manner that affirmatively indicates his innocence,” as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit decided in Lanning v. City of Glens Falls.
Issue(s): Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred in breaking with its own prior precedent and the findings of other circuits and the Copyright Office in holding that 17 U.S.C. § 411 requires referral to the Copyright Office where there is no indicia of fraud or material error as to the work at issue in the subject copyright registration.
U.S. v. Taylor, No. 20-1459 [Arg: 12.7.2021]
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).
U.S. v. Texas, No. 21-588 [Arg: 11.1.2021]
Issue(s): Whether the United States may bring suit in federal court and obtain injunctive or declaratory relief against the state, state court judges, state court clerks, other state officials, or all private parties to prohibit Texas Senate Bill 8 from being enforced.
U.S. v. Tsarnaev, No. 20-443 [Arg: 10.13.2021]
Issue(s): (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit erred in concluding that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capital sentences must be vacated on the ground that the district court, during its 21-day voir dire, did not ask each prospective juror for a specific accounting of the pretrial media coverage that he or she had read, heard or seen about Tsarnaev’s case; and (2) whether the district court committed reversible error at the penalty phase of Tsarnaev’s trial by excluding evidence that Tsarnaev’s older brother was allegedly involved in different crimes two years before the offenses for which Tsarnaev was convicted.
U.S. v. Vaello-Madero, No. 20-303 [Arg: 11.9.2021]
Issue(s): Whether Congress violated the equal-protection component of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment by establishing Supplemental Security Income — a program that provides benefits to needy aged, blind and disabled individuals — in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and in the Northern Mariana Islands pursuant to a negotiated covenant, but not extending it to Puerto Rico.
U.S. v. Zubaydah, No. 20-827 [Arg: 10.6.2021]
Issue(s): Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred when it rejected the United States’ assertion of the state-secrets privilege based on the court’s own assessment of potential harms to the national security, and required discovery to proceed further under 28 U.S.C. 1782(a) against former Central Intelligence Agency contractors on matters concerning alleged clandestine CIA activities.
Issue(s): Whether a state can insulate from federal-court review a law that prohibits the exercise of a constitutional right by delegating to the general public the authority to enforce that prohibition through civil actions.
Wooden v. U.S., No. 20-5279 [Arg: 10.4.2021]
Issue(s): Whether offenses that were committed as part of a single criminal spree, but sequentially in time, were “committed on occasions different from one another” for purposes of a sentencing enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
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. CVSG: 8/25/2021