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Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court of the United States

By Austin Songer
Supreme Court of the United States Cases

Seasons will include all arguments that occur from October 01st to September 30th.

- Arguments will be posted every weekend.
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SIDEBAR - Copyright and State Sovereign Immunity - The Allen v. Cooper Decision
On March 23, 2020, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Allen v. Cooper, concluding that Congress lacked the authority to enact the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA), which purported to abrogate state sovereign immunity in copyright infringement actions. The CRCA, which sought to remedy alleged state copyright infringement, provides that any “State, and any [State] instrumentality, officer, or employee” shall be liable for copyright infringement “in the same manner and to the same extent as any nongovernmental entity.” In Allen, the Supreme Court held that the CRCA was not a valid exercise of Congress’s constitutional powers under Article I or Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, although the opinion leaves open the possibility that a narrower congressional abrogation of state sovereign immunity for copyright suits might be constitutional. The immediate practical effect of the decision is that copyright holders cannot sue state governments for copyright infringement without their consent. The decision’s broader significance lies in clarifying the limitations on Congress’s power to provide remedies for state constitutional violations. This Sidebar will review the law of state sovereign immunity, the dispute in Allen v. Cooper, the Court’s opinion, and the implications for Congress.
August 01, 2020
Case: 19-518 Colorado Dept. of State v. Baca (2020-May-13)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Like most States, Colorado requires its presidential electors to follow the will of its voters when casting their Electoral College ballots for President. In the 2016 Electoral College, one of Colorado's electors violated Colorado law by attempting to cast his presidential ballot for a candidate other than the one he pledged to vote for. Colorado removed him as an elector, declined to accept his ballot, and replaced him with an alternate elector who properly cast her ballot for the winner of the State's popular vote, consistent with Colorado law. The removed elector later sued Colorado for nominal damages. The questions presented are: Whether a presidential elector who is prevented by their appointing State from casting an Electoral College ballot that violates state law lacks standing to sue their appointing State because they hold no constitutionally protected right to exercise discretion. Does Article II or the Twelfth Amendment forbid a State from requiring its presidential electors to follow the State's popular vote when casting their Electoral College ballots.
May 31, 2020
Case: 19-465 Chiafalo v. Washington (2020-May-13)
QUESTION PRESENTED: A Washington State law threatens a fine for presidential electors who vote contrary to how the law directs. RCW 29A.56.340 (2016). Petitioners are three 2016 presidential electors who were fined under this provision solely because they failed to vote as the law directs, namely for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who won a majority of the popular vote in the State. The question presented is whether enforcement of this law is unconstitutional because: a State has no power to legally enforce how a presidential elector casts his or her ballot; and a State penalizing an elector for exercising his or her constitutional discretion to vote violates the First Amendment.
May 31, 2020
Case: 19-635 Trump v. Vance (2020-May-12)
QUESTION PRESENTED: The District Attorney for the County of New York is conducting a criminal investigation that, by his own admission, targets the President of the United States for possible indictment and prosecution during his term in office. As part of that investigation, he served a grand-jury subpoena on a custodian of the President's personal records, demanding production of nearly ten years' worth of the President's financial papers and his tax returns. That subpoena is the combination-almost a wordfor-word copy-of two subpoenas issued by committees of Congress for these same papers. The Second Circuit rejected the President's claim of immunity and ordered compliance with the subpoena. The question presented is:  Whether this subpoena violates Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.
May 31, 2020
Case: 19-715 Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP [and Trump V. Deutsche Bank AG] (2020-May-12)
19-715 TRUMP V. MAZARS USA, LLP The Committee on Oversight and Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives has issued a subpoena to the accountant for President Trump and several of his business entities. The subpoena demands private financial records belonging to the President. The D.C. Circuit upheld the subpoena as having a legitimate legislative purpose and being within the statutory authority of the Committee. The question presented is: Whether the Committee has the constitutional and statutory authority to issue this subpoena. 19-760 TRUMP V. DEUTSCHE BANK AG The Question Presented is: Whether three committees of the House of Representatives had the constitutional and statutory authority to issue subpoenas to third-party custodians for the personal records of the sitting President of the United States.
May 31, 2020
Case: 19-267 Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru [ST. JAMES SCHOOL V. BIEL] (2020-May-11)
19-267 OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE SCHOOL V. MORRISSEY-BERRU The First Amendment's Religion Clauses forbid government interference in a religious group's selection of its ministerial employees. The federal courts of appeals and state courts of last resort have long agreed that the key to determining ministerial status is whether an employee performed important religious functions. This Court's unanimous 2012 ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC was consistent with that existing analytical consensus, and other circuits and states since 2012 have continued to rely on it. Yet the Ninth Circuit has now twice ruled that, under Hosanna-Tabor, important religious functions alone can never suffice-those functions must always be accompanied by considerations such as a religious title or religious training in order to demonstrate ministerial status. The question presented is: Whether the Religion Clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, where the employee carried out important religious functions 19-348 ST. JAMES SCHOOL V. BIEL The First Amendment's Religion Clauses forbid government interference in a religious group's selection of its ministerial employees. The federal courts of appeals and state courts of last resort have long agreed that the key to determining ministerial status is whether an employee performed important religious functions. This Court's unanimous 2012 ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC was consistent with that existing analytical consensus, and other circuits and states since 2012 have continued to rely on it. Yet the Ninth Circuit has now twice ruled that, under Hosanna-Tabor, important religious functions alone can never suffice-those functions must always be accompanied by considerations such as a religious title or religious training in order to demonstrate ministerial status. The question presented is: Whether the Religion Clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, where the employee carried out important religious functions.
May 31, 2020
Case: 18-9526 McGirt v. Oklahoma (2020-May-11)
May 31, 2020
Case: 19-631 Barr v. American Assn. of Political Consultants, Inc. (2020-May-06)
QUESTION PRESENTED: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), Pub. L. No. 102-243, 105 Stat. 2394, generally prohibits the use of any "automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice" to "make any call" to "any telephone number assigned to a * * * cellular telephone service." 47 U.S.C. 227(b)(1)(A)(iii) (Supp. V 2017). The TCPA excepts from that automated-call restriction any "call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party." Ibid. In 2015, Congress amended the TCPA to create an additional exception for calls "made solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States." Ibid. Respondents wish to use an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice to make calls to the cell phones of potential or registered voters to solicit political donations and to advise on political and governmental issues. First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8-10, 12. The court of appeals held that the government-debt exception to the TCPA’s automated-call restriction violates the First Amendment. The court further held that the proper remedy was to sever the government-debt exception, leaving the basic automated-call restriction in place. The question presented is as follows: Whether the government-debt exception to the TCPA's automated-call restriction violates the First Amendment, and whether the proper remedy for any constitutional violation is to sever the exception from the remainder of the statute.
May 31, 2020
19-431 LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR V. PENNSYLVANIA Since 2011, federal courts have repeatedly considered whether forcing religious objectors to provide health plans that include contraceptive coverage violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Over and over again, this Court has reviewed these cases on an emergency basis or on the merits. Yet it has never definitively resolved the RFRA dispute. In 2016, an eight-Justice Court in Zubik v. Burwell did not reach the RFRA question and instead remanded for the parties to try to reach a resolution, on the evident assumption that the executive branch possessed the power to provide broader accommodations and/or exemptions. After months of negotiations (and an intervening election), the agencies finally agreed to promulgate new rules providing a broader exemption, seemingly bringing an end to this long-running dispute. Those new rules were challenged, however, by several states, resulting in a nationwide injunction on the theory that RFRA and the Affordable Care Act not only do not require, but do not even allow, the religious exemption rules. That nationwide injunction has stagnated other cases, and it conflicts with the judgments of many courts that have issued final orders affirmatively requiring comparable exemptions under RFRA. The rights of religious objectorsincluding the Little Sisters' right to defend an exemption-remain very much at issue. The questions presented are: Whether a litigant who is directly protected by an administrative rule and has been allowed to intervene to defend it lacks standing to appeal a decision invalidating the rule if the litigant is also protected by an injunction from a different court? Whether the federal government lawfully exempted religious objectors from the regulatory requirement to provide health plans that include contraceptive coverage? 19-454 TRUMP V. PENNSYLVANIA The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), 42 U.S.C. 18001 et seq., requires many group health plans and health-insurance issuers that offer group or individual health coverage to provide coverage for preventive services, including women's preventive care, without cost-sharing. See 42 U.S.C. 300gg-13(a). Guidelines and regulations implementing that requirement promulgated in 2011 by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury mandated that such entities cover contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The mandate exempted churches, and subsequent rulemaking established an accommodation for certain other entities with religious objections to providing contraceptive coverage. In October 2017, the agencies promulgated interim final rules expanding the exemption to a broad range of entities with sincere religious or moral objections to providing contraceptive coverage. In November 2018, after considering comments solicited on the interim rules, the agencies promulgated final rules expanding the exemption. The questions presented are as follows: Whether the agencies had statutory authority under the ACA and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq., to expand the conscience exemption to the contraceptive-coverage mandate. Whether the agencies' decision to forgo notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing the interim final rules rendered the final rules-which were issued after notice and comment-invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq., 701 et seq. Whether the court of appeals erred in affirming a nationwide preliminary injunction barring implementation of the final rules.
May 31, 2020
Case: 19-177 Agency for Int’l Development v. Alliance for Open Society Int’l, Inc. (2020-May-05)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Respondents are United States-based organizations that receive federal funds to fight HIV/AIDS abroad. In Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., 570 U.S. 205 (2013), this Court held that the First Amendment bars enforcement of Congress's directive that respondents "have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking" as a condition of accepting those funds. 22 U.S.C. 7631(f).  The question presented is whether the First Amendment further bars enforcement of that directive with respect to legally distinct foreign entities operating overseas that are affiliated with respondents.
May 31, 2020
Case: 19-46 Patent and Trademark Office v. B.V. (2020-May-04)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq., generic terms may not be registered as trademarks.  The question presented is as follows:  Whether the addition by an online business of a generic top-level domain (".com") to an otherwise generic term can create a protectable trademark.
May 31, 2020
Case: 18-1323 June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo (2020-March-04)
CONSOLIDATED WITH 18-1460 AND A TOTAL OF ONE HOUR IS ALLOTTED FOR ORAL ARGUMENT Case: 18-1323 QUESTION PRESENTED: In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct. 2292 (2016), this Court held that a state law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital was unconstitutional because it imposed an undue burden on women seeking abortions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld an admitting privileges law in Louisiana that is identical to the one this Court struck down. This presents the following issue: Whether the Fifth Circuit's decision upholding Louisiana's law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital conflicts with this Court's binding precedent in Whole Woman's Health. Case: 18-1460 QUESTION PRESENTED: Can abortion providers be presumed to have third-party standing to challenge health and safety regulations on behalf of their patients absent a "close" relationship with their patients and a "hindrance" to their patients' ability to sue on their own behalf? Are objections to prudential standing waivable (per the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Federal Circuits) or non-waivable (per the D.C., Second, and Sixth Circuits)?
March 08, 2020
Case: 18-1501 Liu v. SEC (2020-March-03)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the Securities and Exchange Commission may seek and obtain disgorgement from a court as "equitable relief" for a securities law violation even though this Court has determined that such disgorgement is a penalty.
March 08, 2020
Case: 19-7 Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2020-March-03)
March 08, 2020
Case: 19-161 Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam (2020-March-02)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Respondent is an inadmissible alien who was apprehended almost immediately after illegally crossing the U.S. border and was placed into expedited removal proceedings. See 8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(l). An asylum officer conducted a credible-fear interview and found that respondent lacked a credible fear of persecution on a protected ground or a credible fear of torture. Upon de novo review, an immigration judge reached the same conclusions and respondent's expedited-removal order became final. Respondent then filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which the district court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because it did not raise the kinds of habeas challenges to expedited-removal orders that are permitted under 8 U.S.C. 1252(e)(2). The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Section 1252(e)(2) violated the Suspension Clause, U.S. Const. Art. I, § 9, Cl. 2, as applied to respondent. The question presented is  whether, as applied to respondent, Section 1252(e)(2) is unconstitutional under the Suspension Clause.
March 08, 2020
Case: 18-1432 Nasrallah v. Barr (2020-March-02)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Because of the United States' inviolable obligation not to deport individuals to countries in which they are likely to be subject to torture, individuals who are statutorily ineligible for asylum may request withholding (or deferral) of removal. Such relief is, as courts repeatedly note, a fundamental bulwark to ensure that the government's decision to deport an individual does not result in torture or death. The courts of appeals have deeply and intractably divided as to whether 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C) divests them of jurisdiction to review factual findings underlying the administrative agency's decision to deny a request for withholding (or deferral) of removal relief. The United States has expressly acknowledged the conflict among the circuits, and it has previously acquiesced to certiorari on this question. This case, unlike those before it, cleanly presents the question for review. The question presented is:  Whether, notwithstanding Section 1252(a)(2)(C), the courts of appeals possess jurisdiction to review factual findings underlying denials of withholding (and deferral) of removal relief.
March 08, 2020
Case: 18-8369 Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez (2020-Feb-26)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  A dismissal of a civil action without prejudice for failure to state a claim, is it or is it not a strike under 28 U.S.C. 1915(g)? Courts have held that, unless otherwise specified, a dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is presumed to be both a judgment on the merits and to be rendered with prejudice, is this true or false? “A district court's dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is, of course, with prejudice unless it specifically orders dismissal without prejudice, is this true or false? " [l]n the absence of a clear statement to the contrary, a dismissal pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) is presumed to be with prejudice." The Fourth Circuit Court decided a dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim did not count as a strike under 28 U.S.C.S. 1915(g), but the Tenth Circuit Court decided that a dismissal without prejudice do count as a strike under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995( PLRA)and/or 28 U.S.C.S. 1915(g), which court is right and, is this a legal conflict between these two courts? Would this statement of the Tenth Circuit be legally right or wrong, A dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) satisfy the plain text of 1915(g) and therefore will count as a strike, without making an y legal interpretation of this provision, inquiry, or analysis thereof in regard to congress intent or purpose? When Congress directly incorporates language with an established legal meaning into a statute, we may infer that Congress intended the language to take on its established meaning. United States v. Langley, 62 F. 3d 602, 605 (4th Cir. 1995) ("It is firmly entrenched that Congress is presumed to enact legislation with knowledge of the law; that is with the knowledge of the interpretation that courts have given to an existing statute."); see also Miles v. Apex Marine Corp., 498 U. S. 19, 32, 111 S. Ct. 317, 112 L. Ed. 2d 275 (1990) (" We assume that Congress is aware of existing law when it passes legislation."). Is it the Court task here to determine whether Congress intended an action or appeal "that was dismissed on the grounds that it…fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted" to count as a strike under 28 U.S. C. 1915(g) if that dismissal was specifically designated to be "without prejudice?" The dismissal for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) (6) is a "judgment on the merits and, the type of prior dismissal for failure to state a claim contemplated by subsection 1915(g) is one that constituted an adjudication on the merits and prejudiced the filing of a subsequent complaint with the same allegations, is this true or false? Is it true, a dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim "does not" fall within the plain and unambiguous meaning of 191S(g)'s·unqualified phrase "dismissed ... [for] fail[ure] to state a claim"? If true, As a result, a dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim does not count as a strike, is this true or false? In any Circuit Court, will it be immaterial to the strikes analysis [whether] the dismissal was without prejudice, as opposed to with prejudice? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit stated, " [i}n this circuit, it is immaterial ( Not material; not pertinent; of no consequence) to the strikes analysis [whether] the dismissal was without prejudice," as opposed to with prejudice. Immaterial issue. An issue which occurs where a material allegation in the pleadings is not answered, but an issue is taken on some point which will not determine the merits of the case, so that the court must be at a loss to determine for which of the parties to give judgment. Garland v. Davis (US) 4 How 131, 146, 11 L Ed 907, 914.
February 29, 2020
Case: 19-67 United States v. Sineneng-Smith (2020-Feb-25)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the federal criminal prohibition against encouraging or inducing illegal immigration for commercial advantage or private financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(l)(A)(iv) and (B)(i), is facially unconstitutional.
February 29, 2020
Case: 17-1268 Opati v. Republic of Sudan (2020-Feb-24)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  The questions presented are: Whether a party which knowingly and intentionally twice defaults, acts to delay and not in good faith, and affirmatively elects not to contest a nonjurisdictional legal issue before judgment may nevertheless demonstrate "extraordinary" and "exceptional" circumstances warranting appellate review of the forfeited nonjurisdictional legal issue post-judgment.  Whether, consistent with this Court's decision in Republic of Austria v. Altmann,  541 U.S. 677 (2004), the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act applies retroactively; thereby permitting recovery of punitive damages under 28 U.S.C. § l605A(c) against foreign states for terrorist activities occurring prior to the passage of the current version of the statute.
February 29, 2020
Case: 18-1584 United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Ass'n (2020-Feb-24)
Case: 18-1584 U.S. FOREST SERVICE V. COWPASTURE RIVER ASSN QUESTION PRESENTED: The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Appalachian Trail) is more than 2000 miles long, extending from Maine to Georgia, with approximately 1000 miles of the Trail crossing through lands within national forests. The National Trails System Act provides that the Appalachian Trail "shall be administered primarily as a footpath by the Secretary of the Interior," 16 U.S.C. 1244(a)(l), and clarifies that "[n]othing contained in [the Act] shall be deemed to transfer among Federal agencies any management responsibilities established under any other law for federally administered lands," 16 U.S.C. 1246(a)(l)(A). Under the Mineral Leasing Act, 30 U.S.C. 181 et seq., the United States Forest Service (Forest Service) has authority to grant certain rights-of-way through lands in the National Forest System, but no federal agency has authority under that statute to grant equivalent rights-of-way through lands in the National Park System. See 30 U.S.C. 185. The question presented is: Whether the Forest Service has authority to grant rights-of-way under the Mineral Leasing Act through lands traversed by the Appalachian Trail within national forests. Case: 18-1587   ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE,  LLC V. COWPASTURE RIVER ASSN. QUESTION PRESENTED: The Mineral Leasing Act ("MLA'') authorizes federal agencies to grant pipeline rights-of-way over federal lands within their jurisdiction. Exercising that authority, the U.S. Forest Service granted Atlantic Coast Pipeline a right-of-way to cross small portions of the George Washington National Forest, including a 0.1-mile stretch that is approximately 700 feet beneath, and without surface impacts to, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. While more than 50 pipelines presently cross under that footpath pursuant to similar rights-of-way, the Fourth Circuit concluded in the decision below that the Forest Service-indeed, every federal agency-lacks the power to grant rights-of-way to cross beneath the Trail pursuant to the MLA, rendering the footpath a 2,200-mile barrier separating resource-rich areas to its west from consumers to its east. The court reached that result by deeming more than 1,000 miles of land traversed by the Trail under the control of various federal, state and private entities instead to be considered lands in the National Park System, which, unlike other federal lands, are not subject to rights-of-way under the MLA. In doing so, the court not only rejected the federal government's long- settled views, but has called into question dozens of existing rightsof-way under the Trail and upset petitioner's massive investments in a pipeline designed to get natural gas to Virginia and North Carolina for the benefit of millions of people. The question presented is:  Whether the Forest Service has the authority under the MLA and National Trails System Act to grant rights-of-way through national forest lands that the Appalachian Trail traverses.
February 29, 2020
18-1195 Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue (2020-Jan-22)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Does it violate the Religion Clauses or Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution to invalidate a generally available and religiously neutral student- aid program simply because the program affords students the choice of attending religious schools?
January 26, 2020
18-1048 GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS, Corp. v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC (2020-Jan-21)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the "New York Convention") permits a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement to compel arbitration based on the doctrine of equitable estoppel.
January 26, 2020
18-6662 Shular v. United States (2020-Jan-21)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the determination of a "serious drug offense" under the Armed Career Criminal Act requires the same categorical approach used in the determination of a "violent felony'' under the Act?
January 26, 2020
Case: 18-882 Babb v. Wilkie (2020-JAN-15)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Federal employees' rights are determined under statutes which require that "all personnel actions effecting employees or applicants for employment ... in executive agencies as defined in Title 5 ... shall be made free from any discrimination ... " See 42 U.S.C.§ 2000e-16(a) (race, color, religion, sex, or national origin) (emphasis added); 29 U.S.C. § 633a(a) (age). This Court, in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, 570 U.S. 338 (2013) and Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., 557 U.S. 167 (2009), interpreted the private-sector statutory language "because" in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a), and ''because of' in 29 U.S.C. § 623(a)(1), respectively, as requiring a private-sector plaintiff to prove but-for causation. The question presented is: Whether "shall be made free from any discrimination" permits federal-sector personnel actions that are not made free from any discrimination or retaliation, as long as discrimination or retaliation is not the but-for cause of the personnel action, or rather prohibits personnel actions where discrimination and retaliation is a factor.  A subsidiary question is whether Title VII bans retaliation in federal employment.
January 18, 2020
Case: 18-1233 Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc. (2020-JAN-14)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether, under section 35 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), willful infringement is a prerequisite for an award of an infringer's profits for a violation of section 43(a), id. § 1125(a).
January 18, 2020
Case: 18-1059 Kelly v. United States (2020-JAN-14)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Does a public official "defraud" the government of its property by advancing a "public policy reason" for an official decision that is not her subjective "real reason" for making the decision?
January 18, 2020
Case: 17-1712 Thole v. U. S. Bank, N. A. (2020-JAN-13)
QUESTION PRESENTED: This case presents two independent, substantial legal issues that have divided the courts of appeals regarding when an ERISA plan participant may invoke the remedies Congress explicitly authorized to police fiduciary misconduct and protect federally guaranteed benefits.  Petitioners are participants in a pension plan managed by respondents. After respondents' fiduciary breaches caused $750 million in losses to the plan, petitioners sued, seeking injunctive relief under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(3) and restoration of the plan's losses under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(2). The Eighth Circuit affirmed dismissal of both claims because petitioners had not yet suffered any individual financial harm-the plan did not (yet) face a risk of default.  In so holding, the Eighth Circuit departed from holdings of other circuits under both Sections 1132(a)(3) and 1132(a)(2), and rejected the long-held position of the Department of Labor, which has repeatedly urged the courts of appeals to let these claims proceed. The questions presented are: May an ERISA plan participant or beneficiary seek injunctive relief against fiduciary misconduct under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(3) without demonstrating individual financial loss or the imminent risk thereof?  May an ERISA plan participant or beneficiary seek restoration of plan losses caused by fiduciary breach under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(2) without demonstrating individual financial loss or the imminent risk thereof?
January 17, 2020
Case: 18-1086 Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. v. Marcel Fashions Group, Inc. (2020-JAN-13)
QUESTION PRESENTED: In serial litigation between two parties, time­ tested principles of claim preclusion and issue preclusion govern when parties may ­and may not­ litigate issues that were, or could have been, litigated in a prior case. This Court has held that, in a subsequent case between the same parties involving different claims from those litigated in the earlier case, the defendant is free to raise defenses that were not litigated in the earlier case, even though they could have been. The Federal Circuit, Eleventh Circuit, and Ninth Circuit have all held the same in recent years. Their reasoning is straightforward: Claim preclusion does not bar such defenses, because the claims in the second case arise from different transactions and occurrences from the first case, and issue preclusion does not bar them either, because they were never actually litigated. The Second Circuit, however, has now held the opposite. Under the Second Circuit's "defense preclusion" rule, defendants are barred from raising such defenses even if the plaintiff’s claims are distinct from those asserted in the prior case and the defenses were never actually litigated. The question presented is:  Whether, when a plaintiff asserts new claims, federal preclusion principles can bar a defendant from raising defenses that were not actually litigated and resolved in any prior case between the parties.
January 17, 2020
Case: 18-1109 McKinney v. Arizona (2019-DEC-11)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the Arizona Supreme Court was required to apply current law when weighing mitigating and aggravating evidence to determine whether a death sentence is warranted.  Whether the correction of error under Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104 (1982), requires resentencing
December 13, 2019
Case: 18-935 Monasky v. Taglieri (2019-DEC-11)
QUESTION PRESENTED Michelle Monasky, a U.S. citizen married to Domenico Taglieri, an Italian citizen, claimed that Taglieri had repeatedly assaulted her before and during her pregnancy. Monasky returned to the United States with their two-month-old daughter, and Taglieri asked an Italian court to terminate Monasky’s parental rights. The Italian court ruled in Taglieri’s favor ex parte (without an appearance by Monasky). Taglieri then asked a federal court to require that Monasky return the baby to Italy. The court granted Taglieri’s petition, finding that Italy was the baby’s habitual residence. Both the Sixth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court denied Monasky’s motion for a stay pending appeal, so Monasky returned their daughter to Italy. A panel of the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, and then the Sixth Circuit agreed to a rehearing en banc. The International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 22 U.S.C. § 9001 et seq. implements the Hague Convention in the United States, and the law defines wrongful removal as taking a child in violation of custodial rights “under the law of the State in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal.” To determine the child’s habitual residence, a court must look “to the place in which the child has become ‘acclimatized,’ or as a back-up inquiry, “shared parental intent.” Because the child, at two months of age, was too young to acclimate to a country, the relevant inquiry is the parents’ shared intent. The district court is in the best position to make such an inquiry, and, finding no clear error in the district court’s finding as to habitual residence, the Sixth Circuit (en banc) affirmed. QUESTIONS: What is the proper standard of review of a district court’s determination of habitual residence under the Hague Convention—de novo, a deferential version of de novo, or for clear error? When an infant is too young to acclimate to her surroundings, is a subjective agreement between the infant‘s parents is necessary to establish her habitual residence under the Hague Convention?
December 13, 2019
Case: 18-7739 Holguin-Hernandez v. United States (2019-DEC-10)
Facts of the case Gonzalo Holguin was convicted for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, in violation of federal law, and sentenced to 24 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Holguin was again arrested for possession and intent to distribute, and after that arrest the government filed a petition to revoke the supervised release term. Before the revocation hearing occurred, Holguin pleaded guilty to the second set of charges. At the revocation hearing, the district court explained the allegations of the revocation petition to Holguin and asked how he pleaded. Holguin answered “True.” Holguin’s attorney argued for a concurrent sentence on the revocation, but the court a 12-month consecutive sentence instead. Holguin appealed the reasonableness of his sentence, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed, finding Holguin had failed to make a formal objection after the announcement of his sentence. QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether a formal objection after pronouncement of sentence is necessary to invoke appellate reasonableness review of the length of a defendant's sentence.
December 13, 2019
Case: 18-1023 Maine Community Health Options v. United States (2019-DEC-10)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Given the "cardinal rule" disfavoring implied repeals-which applies with "especial force" to appropriations acts and requires that repeal not be found unless  the later enactment is "irreconcilable" with the former-can an appropriations rider whose text bars the agency's use of certain funds to pay a statutory obligation, but does not repeal or amend the statutory obligation, and is thus not inconsistent with it, nonetheless be held to impliedly repeal the obligation by elevating the perceived "intent" of the rider (drawn from unilluminating legislative history) above its text, and the text of the underlying statute? Where the federal government has an unambiguous statutory payment obligation, under a program involving reciprocal commitments by the government and a private company participating in the program, does the presumption against retroactivity apply to the interpretation of an appropriations rider that is claimed to have impliedly repealed the government's obligation? CONSOLIDATED WITH 18-1028 AND 18-1038, AND A TOTAL OF ONE HOUR IS ALLOTTED FOR ORAL ARGUMENT.
December 13, 2019
Case: 18-916 Thryv, Inc. v. Click-To-Call Technologies, LP (2019-DEC-09)
QUESTION PRESENTED: The America Invents Act created "inter partes review" ("IPR"), an agency procedure for challenging a patent before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB"). The statute has two provisions relevant here, each of which was interpreted by a divided Federal Circuit sitting en banc. First, 35 U.8.C. § 315(b) provides that "[a]n inter partes review may not be instituted if the petition requesting the proceeding is filed more than 1 year after the date on which the petitioner ... is served with a complaint alleging infringement of the patent." Second, § 314(d) provides that "[t]he determination by the Director whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable." In a recent case, the en banc Federal Circuit held (with four dissenters) that, notwithstanding§ 314(d), a PTAB decision to institute an IPR after finding that the § 315(b) time bar did not apply was appealable. The panel applied that ruling in this case. Then, the en banc Federal Circuit, again divided (with two dissenters), held in this case that service of a patent infringement complaint that is later dismissed without prejudice triggers the§ 315(b) time bar. The questions presented are: Whether 35 U.8.C. § 314(d) permits appeal of the PTAB's decision to institute an inter partes review upon finding that§ 315(b)'s time bar did not apply. Whether 35 U.8.C. § 315(b) bars institution of an inter partes review when the previously served patent infringement complaint, filed more than one year before the IPR petition, had been dismissed without prejudice.
December 13, 2019
Case: 18-776 Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr and 18-1015 OVALLES V. BARR (2019-DEC-09)
QUESTION PRESENTED: 18-776 The deadline to file a statutory motion to reopen under 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(7) is subject to equitable tolling; all the courts of appeals are in agreement. But they are in conflict as to whether they have jurisdiction to review an agency's denial of a request for equitable tolling made by someone subject to the "criminal alien bar" pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C).  The Fifth and Fourth circuit say review of equitable tolling is a "question of fact" precluded from review under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C). In contrast, the Ninth circuit says equitable tolling is a "mixed question," i.e., "a question of law," which falls under the jurisdictional savings clause under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D ).  Therefore, the question presented is:  Is a request for equitable tolling, as it applies to statutory motions to reopen, judicially reviewable as a "question of law?" 18-1015 Following this Court's judgment in Mata v. Lynch, 135 S. Ct. 2150 (2015), the Fifth Circuit joined all of its sister circuits in holding that the statutory deadline for filing a motion to reopen a removal order is subject to equitable tolling. Lugo-Resendez v. Lynch, 831 F 3d 337 (CA5 2016). In so doing, the Fifth Circuit adopted this Courts standard for equitable tolling from Menominee Indian Tribe of Wis. v. United States, 136 S. Ct 750 (2016).  Thereafter, the Fifth Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the merits of whether a movant (with criminal removability) pursued their rights diligently, thus further dividing a split between the courts of appeals. Penalva v. Sessions, 884 F 3d 521 (CA5 2018). The question presented here is: Whether the application of a legal standard to an undisputed set of facts is a question of law, or a pure question of fact that may be barred from judicial review. Or, more specifically:  Whether the criminal alien bar, 8 U.S.C. §1252(a)(2)(C), tempered by §1252(a)(2)(D), prohibits a court from reviewing an agency decision finding that a movant lacked diligence for equitable tolling purposes, notwithstanding the lack of a factual dispute.
December 13, 2019
Case: 18-6943 Banister v. Davis (2019-Dec-04)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Question One: In Gonzalez V. Crosby this Court held that a Rule 60(b) motion that either adds new habeas claim or attacks the court's previous resolution of the habeas claims, should be treated as a successive habeas petition under AEDPA's §2244. Does Gonzalez extend to post-judgment motions filed under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? a. If so, should a timely filed Rule 59(e) motion toll the the time to file a notice of appeal under Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 4(a)(4)(A)(iv)? Question Two: Whether a pro se petitioner must be warned and given an opportunity to withdraw a post-judgment motion which has been recharacterized as a successive habeas petition if that recharacterization will effect his ability to file a timely notice of appeal? Argument Transcript:
December 06, 2019
Case: 18-1116 Intel Corp. Investment Policy Comm. v. Sulyma (2019-Dec-04)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether the three-year limitations period in Section 413(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1113(2), which runs from "the earliest date on which the plaintiff had actual knowledge of the breach or violation," bars suit where all of the relevant information was disclosed to the plaintiff by the defendants more than three years before the plaintiff filed the complaint, but the plaintiff chose not to read or could not recall having read the information.
December 06, 2019
Case: 17-1498 Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian (2019-Dec-03)
QUESTION PRESENTED: In a divided decision that conflicts with decisions of federal courts of appeals nationwide, the Supreme Court of Montana held that landowners can pursue common-law claims for "restoration" requiring environmental cleanups at Superfund sites that directly conflict with EPA-ordered cleanups at these sites. The Montana court reached that result for one of the largest, oldest, and most expensive Superfund sites in the country, the Anaconda Smelter site. The court ignored EPA's views that the Superfund statute-the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)-barred the restoration claims and that plaintiffs' preferred remedies would hurt the environment. The state court's holding throws remediation efforts at Anaconda and other massive sites into chaos and opens the door for thousands of private individuals to select and impose their own remedies at CERCLA sites at a potential cost of many millions of dollars per site. The questions presented are: Whether a common-law claim for restoration seeking cleanup remedies that conflict with EPA-ordered remedies is a "challenge" to EPA's cleanup jurisdictionally barred by § 113 of CERCLA.  Whether a landowner at a Superfund site is a "potentially responsible party" that must seek EPA's approval under CERCLA § 122(e)(6) before engaging in remedial action, even if EPA has never ordered the landowner to pay for a cleanup.  Whether CERCLA preempts state common-law claims for restoration that seek cleanup remedies that conflict with EPA-ordered remedies.
December 06, 2019
Case: 18-1269 Rodriguez v. FDIC (2019-Dec-03)
QUESTION PRESENTED: The Internal Revenue Code permits affiliated corporate groups-consisting of a parent corporation and its subsidiaries-to file a consolidated income tax return. 26 U.S.C. §§ 1501, 1504(a). When the Internal Revenue Service issues a tax refund to an affiliated group, that refund is made "directly to and in the name of” the parent corporation, even if the refund arises in whole or in part from the losses of a corporate subsidiary. 26 C.F.R. § 1.1502-77(c), (d)(5). Three Circuits, including the court below, have adopted a federal common law rule known as the "Bob Richards rule," under which a tax refund paid to an affiliated group is presumed to belong to the corporate subsidiary whose losses gave rise to the refund unless the parties clearly agree otherwise. Four Circuits reject that rule, and instead determine ownership of a tax refund based on applicable state law. The question presented is:  Whether courts should determine ownership of a tax refund paid to an affiliated group based on the federal common law "Bob Richards rule," as three Circuits hold, or based on the law of the relevant State, as four Circuits hold.
December 06, 2019
Case: 18-1150 Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc.(2019-Dec-02)
QUESTION PRESENTED: This Court has held, as a matter of "public policy," that judicial opinions are not copyrightable. Banks v. Manchester, 128 U.S. 244, 253-254 (1888). Lower courts have extended that holding to state statutes. See, e.g., John G. Danielson, Inc. v. Winchester-Conant Props., Inc., 322 F.3d 26, 38 (1st Cir. 2003). But the rule that "government edicts” cannot be copyrighted has "proven difficult to apply when the material in question does not fall neatly into the categories of statutes or judicial opinions." Ibid. The question presented is: Whether the government edicts doctrine extends to-and thus renders uncopyrightable-works that lack the force of law, such as the annotations in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated.
December 06, 2019
Case: 18-280 New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. City of New York (2019-Dec-02)
PRESENTED QUESTION: New York City prohibits its residents from possessing a handgun without a license, and the only license the City makes available to most residents allows its holder to possess her handgun only in her home or en route to one of seven shooting ranges within the city. The City thus bans its residents from transporting a handgun to any place outside city limits-even if the handgun is unloaded and locked in a container separate from its ammunition, and even if the owner seeks to transport it only to a second home for the core constitutionally protected purpose of self-defense, or to a more convenient out-of-city shooting range to hone its safe and effective use. The City asserts that its transport ban promotes public safety by limiting the presence of handguns on city streets. But the City put forth no empirical evidence that transporting an unloaded handgun, locked in a container separate from its ammunition, poses a meaningful risk to public safety. Moreover, even if there were such a risk, the City's restriction poses greater safety risks by encouraging residents who are leaving town to leave their handguns behind in vacant homes, and it serves only to increase the frequency of handgun transport within city limits by forcing many residents to use an incity range rather than more convenient ranges elsewhere. The question presented is:  Whether the City's ban on transporting a licensed, locked, and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside city limits is consistent with the Second Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the constitutional right to travel.
December 06, 2019
Case: 18-938 Ritzen Group, Inc. v. Jackson Masonry, LLC (2019-Nov-13)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether an order denying a motion for relief from the automatic stay is a final order under 28 U.S.C. § 158(a) (1). In diverting from this Court's prior precedent, and in conflict with the First and Third Circuit Courts of Appeal, the Sixth Circuit ruled that an order denying relief from the automatic stay is per se final. Argument Transcript:
November 16, 2019
Case: 18-1171 Comcast Corp. v. National Ass. of African American-Owned Media (2019-Nov-13)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Entertainment Studios Networks ("ESN") owns several television networks that it sought to have carried on Comcast's cable system. Comcast and ESN met multiple times to discuss a potential deal, but Comcast ultimately declined to carry ESN's networks. ESN's response was to sue Comcast, claiming that Comcast's decision was based on an outlandish racist conspiracy between Comcast, the NAACP, and other civilrights groups and leaders to disadvantage wholly African American-owned networks in violation of 42U.S.C. § 1981.  The district court dismissed ESN's complaint three times, but the Ninth Circuit reversed. The court first ruled that Section 1981 does not require but-for causation, thereby exacerbating a conflict with the decisions of five other courts of appeals. It then held that ESN's claim was plausible despite the alternative explanations for Comcast's conduct on the face of the complaint, and the complaint's failure to allege facts showing that the other companies with which Comcast contracted were similarly situated to ESN. The questions presented are:  Does a claim of race discrimination under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 fail in the absence of but-for causation?  Can a plaintiff state a plausible claim for relief if the complaint does not allege facts tending to exclude obvious alternative explanations for the challenged conduct and does not allege facts to support all elements of the claim? Argument Transcript:
November 16, 2019
Case: 17-1678 Hernández v. Mesa (2019-Nov-12)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether, when plaintiffs plausibly allege that a rogue federal law enforcement officer violated clearly established Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights for which there is no alternative legal remedy, the federal courts can and should recognize a damages claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)? If not, whether the Westfall Act violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment insofar as it preempts state-law tort suits for damages against rogue federal law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their employment for which there is no alternative legal remedy. Argument Transcript:
November 16, 2019
Case: 18-587 Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of Univ. of Cal. (2019-Nov-12)
QUESTION PRESENTED: This dispute concerns the policy of immigration enforcement discretion known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In 2016, this Court affirmed, by an equally divided Court, a decision of the Fifth Circuit holding that two related Department of Homeland Security (DHS) discretionary enforcement policies, including an expansion of the DACA policy, were likely unlawful and should be enjoined. See United States v. Texas, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (per curiam). In September 2017, DHS determined that the original DACA policy was unlawful and would likely be struck down by the courts on the same grounds as the related policies. DHS thus instituted an orderly wind-down of the DACA policy.  The questions presented are as follows: Whether DHS's decision to wind down the DACA policy is judicially reviewable Whether DHS's decision to wind down the DACA policy is lawful. Argument Transcript:
November 16, 2019
Case: 18-1165 - Retirement Plans Comm. of IBM v. Jander (2019-Nov-06)
QUESTION PRESENTED: In Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, this Court unanimously held that to state a claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA''), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., for breach of the fiduciary duty of prudence based on inside information, a plaintiff must "plausibly allege[] that a prudent fiduciary in the defendant's position could not have concluded that [an alternative action] would do more harm than good to the fund." 573 U.S. 409, 429-30 (2014); accord Amgen Inc. v. Harris, 136 S. Ct. 758 (2016). The Court designed this "context specific" standard to deter the kind of meritless suits lower courts had eliminated through a presumption of prudence (which the Court rejected) and to "readily divide the plausible sheep from the meritless goats" at the pleading stage. 573 U.S. at 425. In the decision below, the Court of Appeals subverted that pleading standard and opened a circuit split by relying on boilerplate allegations that the harm of an eventual disclosure of an alleged fraud typically increases the longer the fraud continues. Those allegations "always" can be, and routinely are, pleaded in support of a Fifth Third claim. Other courts of appeals have rejected the same allegations as insufficient as a matter of law, in order to avoid undermining the pleading standard imposed by Fifth Third and Amgen and to deter meritless ERISA suits.  The question presented is: Whether Fifth Third's "more harm than good" pleading standard can be satisfied by generalized allegations that the harm of an inevitable disclosure of an alleged fraud generally increases over time.
November 16, 2019
Case: 18-556 - Kansas v. Glover (2019-Nov-04)
QUESTION PRESENTED: A Kansas officer ran a registration check on a pickup truck and learned that the registered owner's license had been revoked. Suspecting that the owner was unlawfully driving, the officer stopped the truck, confirmed that the owner was driving, and issued the owner a citation for being a habitual violator of Kansas traffic laws. The Kansas Supreme Court, breaking with 12 state supreme courts and 4 federal circuits, held the stop violated the Fourth Amendment.  The question presented is whether, for purposes of an investigative stop under the Fourth Amendment, it is reasonable for an officer to suspect that the registered owner of a vehicle is the one driving the vehicle absent any information to the contrary.
November 16, 2019
Case: 18-565 - CITGO Asphalt Refining Co. v. Frescati Shipping Co. (2019-Nov-05)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether under federal maritime law a safe berth clause in a voyage charter contract is a guarantee of a ship's safety, as the Third Circuit below and the Second Circuit have held, or a duty of due diligence, as the Fifth Circuit has held.
November 16, 2019
Case: 18-877 - Allen v. Cooper (2019-Nov-05)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether Congress validly abrogated state sovereign immunity via the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act, Pub. L. No. 101-553, 104 Stat. 2749 (1990), in providing remedies for authors of original expression whose federal copyrights are infringed by States.
November 16, 2019
Case: 18-260 County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (2019-Nov-06)
QUESTION PRESENTED: In the Clean Water Act (CWA), Congress differentiated between point source and nonpoint source pollution in controlling pollution of navigable waters. The CWA regulates point source pollution through permits, while nonpoint source pollution is controlled through federal oversight of state management programs and other non-CWA programs.  This Court and several courts of appeals have read the CWA's line dividing point source and nonpoint source pollution to turn on whether pollutants are delivered to navigable waters by a point source.  Parting with those cases, the Ninth Circuit concluded that point source pollution also includes pollutants that reach navigable waters by nonpoint sources so long as the pollutants can be "traced" in more than "de minimis" amounts to a point source. This holding expands CWA permitting to millions of sources previously regulated as nonpoint source pollution. The questions presented are:  Whether the CWA requires a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater.  Whether the County of Maui had fair notice that a CWA permit was required for its underground injection control wells that operated without such a permit for nearly 40 years.
November 16, 2019
Case: 18-725 - Barton v. Barr (2019-Nov-04)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether a lawfully admitted permanent resident who is not seeking admission to the United States can be "render[ed] ... inadmissible" for the purposes of the stop-time rule, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(l).
November 16, 2019
Case: 18-217 Mathena v. Malvo (2019-10-16)
QUESTION PRESENTED: In Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), this Court held that "mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on 'cruel and unusual punishments.'" Id. at 465. Four years later, in Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S. Ct. 718 (2016), the Court held that "Miller announced a substantive rule of constitutional law" that, under Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), must be given "retroactive effect" in cases where direct review was complete when Miller was decided. Montgomery, 136 S. Ct. at 736.  The question presented is:  Did the Fourth Circuit err in concluding-in direct conflict with Virginia's highest court and other courts-that a decision of this Court (Montgomery) addressing whether a new constitutional rule announced in an earlier decision (Miller) applies retroactively on collateral review may properly be interpreted as modifying and substantively expanding the very rule whose retroactivity was in question? Argument Transcript:
October 21, 2019
Case: 18-328 Rotkiske v. Klemm (2019-10-16)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether the "discovery rule" applies to toll the one (1) year statute of limitations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq., as the Fourth and Ninth Circuits have held but the Third Circuit (sua sponte en banc) has held contrarily. Argument Transcript:
October 21, 2019
Case: 17-834 Kansas v. Garcia (2019-10-16)
QUESTION PRESENTED: In 1986, Congress enacted the Immigration Reform and Control Act CIRCA (IRCA). IRCA made it illegal to employ unauthorized aliens, established an employment eligibility verification system, and created various civil and criminal penalties against employers who violate the law. 8 U.S.C. § 1324a. Regulations implementing IRCA created a "Form I-9" that employers are required to have all prospective employees complete-citizens and aliens alike.  IRCA contains an "express preemption provision, which in most instances bars States from imposing penalties on employers of unauthorized aliens," Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. 387, 406 (2012), but IRCA "is silent about whether additional penalties may be imposed against the employees themselves." Id. IRCA also provides that "[the Form I-9] and any information contained in or appended to such form, may not be used for purposes other than enforcement of [chapter 12 of Title 8] and sections 1001, 1028, 1546, and 1621 of Title 18." 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(b)(5).  Here, Respondents used other peoples' social security numbers to complete documents, including a Form I-9, a federal W-4 tax form, a state K-4 tax form, and an apartment lease. Kansas prosecuted Respondents for identity theft and making false writings without using the Form I-9, but the Kansas Supreme Court held that IRCA expressly barred these state prosecutions. This petition presents two questions, depending on the answer to the first question:  Whether IRCA expressly preempts the States from using any information entered on or appended to a federal Form I-9, including common information such as name, date of birth, and social security number, in a prosecution of any person (citizen or alien) when that same, commonly used information also appears in non-IRCA documents, such as state tax forms, leases, and credit applications. If IRCA bars the States from using all such information for any purpose, whether Congress has the constitutional power to so broadly preempt the States from exercising their traditional police powers to prosecute state law crimes. Argument Transcript:
October 21, 2019
Case: 18-1334 Financial Oversight and Management Bd. for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment, LLC (2019-10-15)
QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether the Appointments Clause governs the appointment of members of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. CONSOLIDATED WITH 18-1475, 18-1496, 18-1514 AND 18-1521, AND WILL BE SET FOR ARGUMENT IN THE SECOND WEEK OF THE OCTOBER 2019 ARGUMENT SESSION. Argument Transcript:
October 21, 2019
Case: R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC (10/08/19)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the word "sex" in Title VII's prohibition on discrimination "because of ... sex," 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a)(l), meant "gender identity" and included "transgender status" when Congress enacted Title VII in 1964.  Whether Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989), prohibits employers from applying sex-specific policies according to their employees' sex rather than their gender identity. GRANTED LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: WHETHER TITLE VII PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST TRANSGENDER PEOPLE BASED ON (1) THEIR STATUS AS TRANSGENDER OR (2) SEX STEREOTYPING UNDER PRICE WATERHOUSE v. HOPKINS, 490 U. S. 228 (1989). Argument Transcript:
October 11, 2019
Case: Bostock v. Clayton County (10/08/19)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether discrimination against an employee because of sexual orientation constitutes prohibited employment discrimination "because of... sex" within the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42U.S.C. § 2000e-2. CONSOLIDATED WITH 17-1623 FOR ONE HOUR ORAL ARGUMENT. Argument Transcript:
October 11, 2019
Case: Ramos v. Louisiana (10/07/19)
October 11, 2019
Case: Peter v. NantKwest, Inc. (10/07/19)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  When the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denies a patent application, the Patent Act gives the unsuccessful applicant two avenues for seeking judicial review of the agency's decision. The applicant may appeal directly to the Federal Circuit, 35 U.S.C. 141, which "shall review the decision from which an appeal is taken on the record before the [USPTO],” 35 U.S.C. 144. Alternatively, the applicant may bring a civil action against the Director of the USPTO in district court, where the applicant may present additional evidence. 35 U.S.C. 145. If the applicant elects to bring such an action, "[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings shall be paid by the applicant." Ibid. The question presented is as follows:  Whether the phrase "[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings" in 35 U.S.C. 145 encompasses the personnel expenses the USPTO incurs when its employees, including attorneys, defend the agency in Section 145 litigation. Argument Transcript:
October 11, 2019
Case: Kahler v. Kansas (10/07/19)
QUESTION PRESENTED:  Do the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments permit a state to abolish the insanity defense? Transcript to Argument:
October 11, 2019