At its March 16, 2012 Conference, the Court will consider such issues as the First Amendment and sexual abuse in churches, a city’s standing to sue its parent state, whether a dog sniff can establish probable cause, the free speech of religious student groups, and a death row inmate’s ability to stay habeas proceedings.  This edition of “Petitions to watch” features 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.  The full list of our “Petitions to watch” for the March 2 and March 16 Conferences can be found here.  Any cases that are relisted following the March 2 Conference will be added to this list once that information is available.

City of Hugo, Oklahoma v. Buchannan

Docket: 11-852
Issue(s): Whether a political subdivision has standing, in a suit against its parent state, to press (i) exclusively statutory claims; (ii) exclusively “structural” claims (constitutional or statutory); or (iii) no claim at all, so that petitioners may challenge (or not) a state law on the ground that it exceeds the state’s power under the dormant Commerce Clause.

Certiorari stage documents:

John Doe AP v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis

Docket: 11-840
Issue(s): Whether the First Amendment shields religious organizations from accountability for negligence and negligent supervision and retention of their employees who sexually abuse children.

Certiorari stage documents:

Florida v. Harris (Granted )

Docket: 11-817
Issue(s): Whether an alert by a well-trained narcotics detection dog certified to detect illegal contraband is insufficient to establish probable cause for the search of a vehicle.

Certiorari stage documents:

Alpha Delta Chi-Delta Chapter v. Reed

Docket: 11-744
Issue(s): (1) Whether a university violates the free speech and free association rights of religious student organizations by denying them access to a speech forum because they require their members and leaders to agree with the groups’ religious beliefs, while at the same time granting access to nonreligious groups that require their members and leaders to agree with the groups’ nonreligious beliefs; and (2) whether a university violates the Free Exercise Clause by expressly targeting religious student groups for exclusion from a student organization speech forum and by burdening their religious practice pursuant to a policy that is neither neutral nor generally applicable.

Certiorari stage documents:

County of Erie v. Cash

Docket: 11-613
Issue(s): Does imposing municipal liability for a single incident of sexual assault on an inmate by a jail guard contravene the rigorous deliberate indifference and pattern and practice requirements of Connick v. Thompson (2011), Board of County Commissioners of Bryan County v. Brown (1997), and Monell v. Department of Social Services (1978)?

Certiorari stage documents:

Ramirez-Villalpando v. Holder

Docket: 11-415
Issue(s): Whether an abstract of judgment, which is prepared by a court clerk for sentencing purposes after a defendant’s guilty plea and without the defendant’s input, qualifies as a conclusive record made or used in adjudicating guilt that may be relied upon to determine whether a prior conviction qualifi es as an aggravated felony under Shepard v. United States (2005).

Certiorari stage documents:

Segal v. United States

Docket: 11-343
Issue(s): (1) Whether the intent to defraud, under the mail and wire fraud statutes, requires an intent to cause harm; (2) whether mail and wire fraud may be premised on misstatements to parties other than the alleged victims of the fraud, without evidence that the victims knew of the misstatements or would have found them material; and (3) whether the breach of a fiduciary or legal duty imposed by state law can form the basis for a federal mail or wire fraud prosecution.

Certiorari stage documents:

Ryan v. Gonzales (Granted )

Docket: 10-930
Issue(s): Does 18 U.S.C. § 3599(a)(2), “which provides that an indigent capital state inmate pursuing federal habeas relief "shall be entitled to the appointment of one or more attorneys," entitle a death row inmate to stay the federal habeas proceedings he initiated if he is not competent to assist counsel?

Certiorari stage documents:


Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Matthew Bush, Petitions to watch | Conference of March 16, 2012, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 2, 2012, 12:45 PM),