Issue: (1) For purposes of federal habeas review, has the U.S. Supreme Court clearly established the rule that due process prohibits a state court judge from taking into account his own religious beliefs in sentencing a defendant? (2) Did the state court judge violate petitioners’ due process rights when the judge told petitioners, following their guilty plea to the robbery at a church, that they had stolen God’s money intended for the establishment of a religious kingdom on earth and then sentenced each of them to 53 to 71 years? (3) Did the sentences of petitioners, who were adolescents without any serious prior record and did not harm anyone in the robbery, violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment?
Zubik v. Burwell Because both the Obama administration and the religious non-profits, colleges, and schools challenging the accommodation offered to those who object to complying with the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate confirm that contraceptive coverage could be provided to the challengers’ female employees, through the challengers’ insurance companies, without any notice from the challengers, the decisions of the courts of appeals rejecting the challenge are vacated and remanded. Given the gravity of the dispute and the substantial clarification and refinement in the positions of the parties, the parties on remand should be afforded an opportunity to arrive at an approach going forward that accommodates the challengers’ religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women covered by the challengers’ health plans receive full and equal health coverage, including contraceptive coverage.
Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Whether, when applying the “undue burden” standard of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Fifth Circuit erred in concluding that this standard permits Texas to enforce, in nearly all circumstances, laws that would cause a significant reduction in the availability of abortion services while failing to advance the State’s interest in promoting health - or any other valid interest.
Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins Because the Ninth Circuit failed to consider both aspects of the injury-in-fact requirements -- an injury in fact must be both concrete and particularized, but the Ninth Circuit's observations concerned only "particularization" -- its Article III standing analysis was incomplete.
Barr Pharmaceuticals, LLC v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County Whether, when a state court lacks personal jurisdiction over many cases against a defendant, and the state court combines those cases with other cases into a coordination proceeding, the Due Process Clause prohibits the state from deeming the personal-jurisdiction defense waived merely because the defendant participates in the coordination proceeding, absent a knowing, voluntary, and intentional waiver of the defense.
Fitch Ratings, Inc. v. First Community Bank, N.A. Whether the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is violated when a court, in the absence of specific or general jurisdiction, nevertheless exercises personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant under a theory of “conspiracy jurisdiction.”
PharMerica Corp. v. United States ex rel. Gadbois Whether, as the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits have held, courts must apply the first-to-file bar as of the time the follow-on case is filed and dismiss a copycat qui tam action brought when a related action is pending; or whether, as the First Circuit held, subsequent events can cure the first-to-file defect, such that a follow-on case may avoid the statutory bar simply by remaining on the docket until the first-filed action inevitably ends.