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?
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.
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?
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.
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).
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?
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?
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.
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
Facts of the case
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.
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?
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.
Whether a formal objection after pronouncement of sentence is necessary to invoke appellate reasonableness review of the length of a defendant's sentence.
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.
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.
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?"
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-938_k536.pdf
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-1171_ljgm.pdf
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/17-1678_21p3.pdf
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-587_1bn2.pdf
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-217_k5fl.pdf
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-328_l6gn.pdf
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/17-834_jifl.pdf
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-1334_dc8f.pdf
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-107_c18e.pdf
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/17-1618_7k47.pdf
Whether the Fourteenth Amendment fully incorporates the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a unanimous verdict?
THE MOTION OF PETITIONER FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL IS GRANTED, AND G. BEN COHEN, ESQ., OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, IS APPOINTED TO SERVE AS COUNSEL FOR PETITIONER IN THIS CASE.
Argument Transcript: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-5924_4gcj.pdf
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: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-801_7kh7.pdf
Do the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments permit a state to abolish the insanity defense?
Transcript to Argument: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2019/18-6135_5h26.pdf