This edition of “Petitions to watch” features cases up for consideration at the Justices' April 15 conference.  These are petitions raising issues that Tom has determined to 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.

Jones v. Keller

Docket: 10-804
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Supreme Court of North Carolina correctly held that the Due Process Clause permitted the state to continue to incarcerate prisoners even though they had been awarded sufficient sentence-reduction credits to mandate release; and (2) whether the Supreme Court of North Carolina correctly held that the Ex Post Facto Clause permitted the state to refuse to honor the sentence-reduction credits awarded to petitioners as prescribed by law at the time of petitioners' offenses.

Certiorari stage documents:

Midland Central Appraisal District v. BP America Production Co.

Docket: 10-890
Issue(s): Given a constantly present massive inventory of goods bound for interstate commerce, does the fact that individual units of those goods are "in transit" result in the goods being exempt from local taxation under the dormant Commerce Clause?

Certiorari stage documents:

Harrison Central Appraisal District v. The Peoples Gas, Light and Coke Co.

Docket: 10-896
Issue(s): Whether the dormant Commerce Clause prohibits a State from imposing a generally applicable, nondiscriminatory ad valorem tax on natural gas stored in the State but connected to an interstate pipeline system for out-of-state transport.

Certiorari stage documents:

McGill v. General Conference Corp. of Seventh-Day Adventists

Docket: 10-902
Issue(s): Whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to a private civil action (to which the United States is not a party) under a federal statute in federal court.

Certiorari stage documents:

Virginia v. Sebelius

Docket: 10-1014
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Commonwealth of Virginia has standing to challenge the minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which requires individuals to maintain a minimum level of health insurance or pay a penalty; (2) whether the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of Congress's Article I powers; (3) whether the minimum coverage provision is severable from all the remaining provisions of the law; and (4) whether the district court erred when it denied injunctive relief.

Certiorari stage documents:

Williams v. Renchenski

Docket: 10-1015
Issue(s): Does a prisoner never convicted of a sex offense have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in not attending an in-prison sex offender treatment program?

Certiorari stage documents:

The following petitions have been re-listed for the conference of April 15.  If any other paid petitions are re-distributed for this conference, we will add them below as soon as their re-distribution is noted on the docket.

Ryan v. Jones

Docket: 09-1314
Issue(s): (1) Whether a “non-neutral” mental health expert must be appointed to assist the defense at sentencing; (2) whether defense counsel performs deficiently by relying on the description of childhood abuse provided by the defendant and his mother and stepfather, and not additionally interviewing the defendant’s sibling regarding the same type of abuse; (3) whether a federal court errs by considering only new mitigation evidence, without considering rebuttal evidence and evidence of aggravating circumstances, in determining whether the additional mitigation evidence would have changed the sentencing decision; and (4) whether the Ninth Circuit erred by ruling that a district court, in considering ineffective assistance of counsel claims following an evidentiary hearing, should not evaluate the credibility of expert witnesses who testified at the hearing regarding evidence a petitioner claims should have been presented at sentencing.

Certiorari stage documents:

Judulang v. Holder (Granted )

Docket: 10-694
Issue(s): Whether a lawful permanent resident who was convicted by guilty plea of an offense that renders him deportable and excludable under differently phrased statutory subsections, but who did not depart and reenter the United States between his conviction and the commencement of removal proceedings, is categorically foreclosed from seeking discretionary relief from removal under former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Certiorari stage documents:

Johnson v. Holder

Docket: 10-730
Issue(s): (1) Whether this Court's holding in INS v. St. Cyr (2001) concerning the non-retroactivity of Congress's 1996 repeal of Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act is a matter of statutory interpretation that applies equally to all immigrants; and (2) whether Board of Immigration Appeals correctly applied the "statutory counterpart" rule for eligibility for § 212(c) relief.

Certiorari stage documents:

Kiyemba v. Obama

Docket: 10-775
Issue(s): Whether a judicial officer of the United States, having jurisdiction of the habeas corpus petition of an alien transported by the executive to, and held at, an offshore prison, has any judicial power to direct the prisoner's release.

Certiorari stage documents:

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline, Featured

Recommended Citation: Christa Culver, Petitions to watch | Conference of 04.15.11, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 13, 2011, 1:21 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/04/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-04-15-11/