At its March 23, 2012 Conference, the Court will consider such issues as banning religious materials in public schools, entering a home to issue a criminal summons, attorney fees when the case becomes moot on appeal, and whether an issue can be precluded even if it was not “actually decided.”  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.

Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann (Granted )

Note: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents the City of Dallas as amicus curiae in this case.
Docket: 11-889
Issue(s): (1) Whether Congress’s approval of an interstate water compact that grants the contracting states “equal rights” to certain surface water and – using language present in almost all such compacts— provides that the compact shall not “be deemed . . . to interfere” with each state’s “appropriation, use, and control of water . . . not inconsistent with its obligations under this Compact,” manifests unmistakably clear congressional consent to state laws that expressly burden interstate commerce in water; and (2) whether a provision of a congressionally approved multi-state compact that is designed to ensure an equal share of water among the contracting states preempts protectionist state laws that obstruct other states from accessing the water to which they are entitled by the compact.

Certiorari stage documents:

American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles (Granted )

Docket: 11-798
Issue(s): Whether 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1), which provides that “a State [or] political subdivision . . . may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier . . . with respect to the transportation of property,” contains an unexpressed “market participant” exception and permits a municipal governmental entity to take action that conflicts with the express preemption clause, occurs in a market in which the municipal entity does not participate, and is unconnected with any interest in the efficient procurement of services.

Certiorari stage documents:

Nampa Classical Academy v. Goesling

Docket: 11-786
Issue(s): (1) Whether a state agency can ban the objective use of all materials it deems “religious” from public schools (including charter schools) and universities without First Amendment scrutiny. (2) Whether the state has either a valid educational interest or a mandate from the Establishment Clause to prohibit the objective use of all religious materials in a secular curriculum. (3) Whether “political subdivisions” are barred per se from suing their states in federal court regardless of their degree of independence or type of claim.

Certiorari stage documents:

Marina Point Development Co. v. Center for Biological Diversity

Docket: 11-782
Issue(s): Whether courts can properly award attorney’s fees and costs under fee-shifting statutes that limit such awards to “appropriate” circumstances when, as here, the matter becomes moot on appeal, the judgment of this district court is vacated and undone, and the plaintiff ultimately accomplishes nothing?

Certiorari stage documents:

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Campbell

Docket: 11-756
Issue(s): Whether the imposition of liability based on earlier litigation without any assurance that the earlier litigation actually decided the precluded issue violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Certiorari stage documents:

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Hall

Docket: 11-755
Issue(s): Whether the imposition of liability based on earlier litigation without any assurance that the earlier litigation actually decided the precluded issue violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Certiorari stage documents:

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Martin

Docket: 11-754
Issue(s): Whether the imposition of liability based on earlier litigation without any assurance that the earlier litigation actually decided the precluded issue violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Certiorari stage documents:

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Gray

Docket: 11-752
Issue(s): Whether the imposition of liability based on earlier litigation without any assurance that the earlier litigation actually decided the precluded issue violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Certiorari stage documents:

Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. Campbell

Docket: 11-741
Issue(s): Whether the Due Process Clause prohibits the use of issue preclusion to establish elements of a plaintiff’s claims where it cannot be shown that the issues being given preclusive effect were actually decided in a prior proceeding.

Certiorari stage documents:

Moore v. Guerrero

Docket: 11-677
Issue(s): (1) Whether, if a magistrate receives a sworn complaint, finds probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, but issues a criminal summons in lieu of an arrest warrant, the Fourth Amendment prohibits a police officer from serving the summons on the accused in the same manner as a warrant; and, if so, (2) whether such law was clearly established in November 2007, given that no federal court had ever issued such a ruling, and several state laws specifically allow criminal summonses to be served in the same manner as warrants; and, (3) if such law was not clearly established, whether petitioner-defendant Moore is entitled to qualified immunity from suits arising out of his service of a criminal summons.

Certiorari stage documents:

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The following petitions have been re-listed for the conference of March 23.  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.

Smith v. Fields

Docket: 11-561
Issue(s): (1) Whether the Seventh Circuit erred by upholding an injunction against a state law prohibiting the use of public funds to finance sexual reassignment surgery for inmates; and (2) whether the Eighth Amendment requires state prisons to treat gender identity disorder with hormone therapy to make an inmate look more like the opposite gender.

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:

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline

Recommended Citation: Matthew Bush, Petitions to watch | Conference of March 23, 2012, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 20, 2012, 7:00 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/03/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-march-23-2012/