UPDATE (Oct. 26, 2010; 11:30 a.m.): This post has been modified to include petitions that have been re-listed for the Conference of October 29.

This edition of "Petitions to watch" features cases up for consideration at the Justices' October 29 conference.  These are petitions raising issues that Tom has determined have a reasonable chance of being granted, although we post them here without consideration of whether they present appropriate vehicles in which to decide those issues.

Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. (Granted )

Docket: 09-1159
Issue(s): Whether a federal contractor university’s statutory right under the Bayh-Dole Act in inventions arising from federally funded research can be terminated unilaterally by an individual inventor through a separate agreement purporting to assign the inventor’s rights to a third party.

Certiorari stage documents:

CVSG Information:

Rosillo-Puga v. Holder

Docket: 09-1367
Issue(s): Whether the regulation 8 C.F.R. § 1003.23(b)(1) is invalid under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 because it denies immigrants who have departed the United States their statutory right to file a motion to reopen or reconsider an order of removability; and (2) whether the Tenth Circuit may deprive the immigration judge and Board of Immigration Appeals of discretionary authority to sua sponte reconsider or reopen removal proceedings by denying a petition for review based on reasons not articulated in either the judge’s or BIA’s orders denying the motion in the first instance.

Certiorari stage documents:

Mendiola v. Holder

Docket: 09-1378
Issue(s): Whether the regulation 8 C.F.R. § 1003.23(b)(1) is invalid under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 because it denies immigrants who have departed the United States their statutory right to file a motion to reopen or reconsider an order of removability; and (2) whether the Tenth Circuit may deprive the immigration judge and Board of Immigration Appeals of discretionary authority to sua sponte reconsider or reopen removal proceedings by denying a petition for review based on reasons not articulated in either the judge’s or BIA’s orders denying the motion in the first instance.

Certiorari stage documents:

Shelby v. United States

Docket: 09-1554
Issue(s): 1) Whether the Supreme Court's decision in Yeager v. United States raises a “colorable question” as to the correctness of the Fifth Circuit's decision it reversed or provides no “basis to conclude that” it “created an intervening change or ‘correction’ in the applicable law”; and 2) whether an appeal from the denial of double jeopardy relief following a judgment of acquittal may be not “colorable” so as to destroy appellate jurisdiction, or whether appellate jurisdiction is a function of the category of order appealed.

Certiorari stage documents:

Archstone Multifamily Series I Trust v. Niles Bolton Associates, Inc.

Docket: 10-103
Issue(s): Whether a federal statutory scheme that creates liability without regard to fault, that is silent with respect to the eventual allocation of liability among co-defendants, and that contains no express preemption provision impliedly preempts state-law claims for indemnification.

Certiorari stage documents:

Fox v. Vice (Granted )

Docket: 10-114
Issue(s): 1) Whether defendants can be awarded attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 in an action based on a dismissal of a claim, when the plaintiff has asserted other interrelated and non-frivolous claims; and 2) whether it is improper to award defendants all of the attorney's fees they incurred in an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, when the fees were spent defending non-frivolous claims that were intertwined with the frivolous claim.

Certiorari stage documents:

SpeechNow.org v. FEC

Docket: 10-145
Issue(s): Whether, under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, the federal government may require an unincorporated association that makes only independent expenditures to register and report as a political committee.

Certiorari stage documents:

Sprint Spectrum L.P. v. Hesse

Docket: 10-157
Issue(s): (1) Whether a federal court may review a state court judgment approving a class settlement where the state court did not explicitly address each specific claim that a class member might release as part of the settlement; and (2) whether a federal court may nullify state court rules, requiring class members to opt out of a proposed state class settlement, by permitting the class members to maintain a subsequent federal action asserting claims released by the state class settlement from which the class members chose not to exclude themselves.

Certiorari stage documents:

PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana (Granted )

Docket: 10-218
Issue(s): Whether the constitutional test for determining whether a section of a river is navigable for title purposes requires a trial court to determine, based on evidence, whether the relevant stretch of the river was navigable at the time the state joined the Union.

Certiorari stage documents:

CVSG Information:

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DISCLOSURE: Howe & Russell and Akin Gump represent parties in the two cases below; these cases are listed here without regard to their chances of being granted.

National Football League v. Williams

Note: The following petition was filed by Akin Gump.
Docket: 09-1380
Issue(s): Whether, when federal subject matter jurisdiction is not in question, defenses that require analysis of a collective-bargaining agreement may substantively preempt state-law claims under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, or whether such defenses are instead categorically irrelevant to preemption analysis.

Certiorari stage documents:

Allshouse v. Pennsylvania

Note: Goldstein, Howe & Russell represent the petitioner.
Docket: 09-1396
Issue(s): Whether a child's statements in an interview with a child protection agency worker investigating suspicions of past abuse are “testimonial” evidence subject to the demands of the Confrontation Clause under Crawford v. Washington (2004).

Certiorari stage documents:

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The following petitions have been re-listed for the conference of October 29.  If any other paid petitions are redistributed for this conference, we will add them below as soon as their redistribution is noted on the docket.

Wong v. Smith

Docket: 09-1031
Issue(s): Do 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) and this Court’s precedent permit federal habeas corpus relief on a claim that a state judge unconstitutionally “coerces” jurors to return a guilty verdict by identifying specific evidence in the case as important and instructing them to consider it?

Certiorari stage documents:

Beer v. United States

Docket: 09-1395
Issue(s): Whether the Compensation Clause of Article III prevents Congress from withholding the future judicial salary adjustments established by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989.

Certiorari stage documents:

Alderman v. United States

Docket: 09-1555
Issue(s): Whether Scarborough v. United States (1977) recognizes a distinct Commerce Clause authority, beyond the three categories recognized in United States v. Lopez (1995), United States v. Morrison (2000), and Gonzales v. Raich (2005), such that a federal statute which “cannot be justified as a regulation of the channels of commerce, as a protection of the instrumentalities of commerce, or as a regulation of intrastate activity that substantially affects interstate commerce,” may be sustained based on a “minimal nexus” between the activity regulated and interstate commerce.

Certiorari stage documents:

Stroud v. Blount

Docket: 09-1572
Issue(s): 1) Whether the lower court erred in affirming a $2.8 million punitive damages award under BMW v. Gore (1996) and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell (2003), where the court quantified the ratio of punitive to compensatory relief by counting attorneys' fees as compensatory damages; and 2) whether the lower court erred in rejecting the applicability of the Noerr-Pennington doctrine to petitioning of law enforcement officials.

Certiorari stage documents:

Allen v. Lawhorn

Docket: 10-24
Issue(s): Whether a state court’s determination that trial counsel’s waiver of a penalty-phase closing argument did not prejudice the defendant is “contrary to” Supreme Court precedent.

Certiorari stage documents:

Wilson v. Corcoran

Docket: 10-91
Issue(s): Whether a state capital defendant has a constitutional right to a sentencing decision that is not informed by facts that are neither elements of his crime or aggravated circumstances authorized by statute, and, if so, whether a federal court may grant habeas relief based on its own finding that the state trial court improperly considered non-statutory factors when imposing its sentence.

Certiorari stage documents:

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Anna Christensen, Petitions to watch | Conference of 10.29.10 (Updated), SCOTUSblog (Oct. 25, 2010, 12:15 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/10/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-10-29-10/