Petitions We’re Watching

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Petitions for Conference of 04.18.2014

Docket Case Page Issue(s) CVSG
13-998 Hammond v. Kmart Corporation Whether 42 U.S.C. § 1981 prohibits a retail establishment from treating a customer in a racially discriminatory manner while the establishment is entering into and performing a contract with the customer, where the discrimination does not prevent the customer from completing the transaction. N/A
13-975 T-Mobile South, LLC v. City of Roswell Whether a document from a state or local government stating that an application has been denied, but providing no reasons whatsoever for the denial, can satisfy the Communications Act's “in writing” requirement. N/A
13-862 Thomas v. Nugent (1) Whether it was clearly established in 2008 that a police officer violates the Fourth Amendment when he uses a Taser to electroshock a person eight times, where that person is already handcuffed and poses no threat to anyone’s safety and no risk of flight but does not comply with the officer’s orders to stand up; (2) whether, on a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party bears the burden of disproving the moving party’s affirmative defense of qualified immunity; and (3) whether a court of appeals has subject-matter jurisdiction to hear an interlocutory appeal of a district court’s decision that there is a genuine dispute over factual issues, where the district court does not decide any legal issue. N/A
13-852 Federal National Mortgage Association v. Sundquist Whether a state can restrict a national bank’s exercise of its fiduciary powers in connection with real property in that state if the bank is authorized to act as a fiduciary by the Comptroller of the Currency and not prohibited from doing so by the (different) state in which the bank is “located” under 12 U.S.C. § 92a and 12 C.F.R. § 9.7. N/A
13-842 Exxon Mobil Corporation v. City of New York (1) Whether a claim is ripe when it is predicated on a plaintiff’s potential future injury and mere good faith intent to take steps in fifteen to twenty years that could, depending on a chain of uncertain events, cause the plaintiff to suffer an actual injury some day in the future; and (2) whether the federal oxygenate mandate in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 7545, preempts a state-law tort award that imposes retroactive liability on a manufacturer for using the safest, feasible means available at the time for complying with that mandate. N/A
13-841 Scott v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 79 (1) Whether a state may, consistent with the Fourth Amendment, condition government employment on an employee or job applicant’s consent to suspicionless drug testing; and (2) whether suspicionless drug testing of all government employees and job applicants is reasonable under the “special needs” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant and probable cause requirements. N/A
13-838 Native Wholesale Supply Company v. Idaho (1) Whether under circumstances in which a state is admittedly precluded from regulating an Indian it is also precluded from regulating a corporation wholly owned by an Indian and organized under the laws of a federally recognized tribe; (2) whether, under a state law that purports to give the attorney general power to "approve" all cigarettes before they may be imported into Idaho, the State of Idaho can prohibit an Indian-owned business on the Coeur d'Alene reservation from importing into that reservation cigarettes that are sold "FOB Seneca Nation" by a company wholly owned by a member of the Seneca Nation and licensed by the Seneca Nation to carry on such trade; (3) whether the State of Idaho's cigarette-sale statutes are preempted to the extent that they are enforced in a manner that prohibits Native Wholesale Supply Company ("NWS") from trading with Warpath Inc. ("Warpath"); and (4) whether the State of Idaho can constitutionally exercise personal jurisdiction over NWS, an Indian-chartered entity located on Seneca Nation of Indians Land, situated within the geographic boundaries of the State of New York, where NWS sells the tobacco products "FOB Seneca Nation" to Warpath, and the products are then transported to Warpath's place of business on the Coeur d'Alene reservation. N/A
13-827 Drake v. Jerejian (1) Whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense; and (2) whether state officials violate the Second Amendment by requiring that individuals wishing to exercise their right to carry a handgun for self-defense first prove a “justifiable need” for doing so. N/A
13-815 Simmons v. Sabine River Authority of Louisiana Whether the Federal Power Act (FPA) preempts petitioners' property damage tort and takings claims caused by the operation of the licensee of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensed dam project, where the provisions of the FPA have explicitly saved and reserved such claims to the property owners. N/A
13-806 Arizona v. Valle del Sol (1) Whether respondents have Article III standing and have established the requisite imminent risk of irreparable harm to obtain an injunction of Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2929, which makes it unlawful for a person to knowingly “(1) transport or move or attempt to transport or move the alien in Arizona in furtherance of the alien’s unlawful presence in the United States; (2) conceal, harbor, or shield or attempt to conceal, harbor, or shield the alien from detection in Arizona; or (3) encourage or induce the alien to come to or live in Arizona”; (2) if respondents have standing, whether Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2929 is void for vagueness even though its meaning is commonly understood; and (3) whether the court of appeals erred in finding that states are precluded from enacting any law that restricts a person from furthering or exploiting another’s unlawful presence in the United States. N/A
13-744 Natale v. U.S. Whether a medical professional can be convicted of “knowingly and willfully” making a false statement in medical records or reports under 18 U.S.C. § 1035 when the district court failed to instruct the jury that a guilty verdict requires proof of an intent to deceive. N/A
13-731 Morris v. George Whether the court of appeals was correct when it held that it was "categorically precluded" from reviewing the record as a whole to determine whether plaintiff's version of events, which the district court held sufficient to defeat qualified immunity, was blatantly contradicted by the record such that no reasonable jury could believe it; and (2) whether, if the court of appeals was required to review the record as whole to determine whether plaintiff's version of events was blatantly contradicted by the record such that the defendant deputies were entitled to qualified immunity, a video or audio recording (such as in Scott v. Harris) is the only evidence that is sufficient to overcome conflicting version of events. N/A
13-705 Keiran v. Home Capital Whether, to exercise the right to rescind a mortgage loan under the Truth in Lending Act, it is sufficient for a consumer to notify the creditor in writing within three years of obtaining the loan (as the Third and Fourth Circuits have held, and as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has concluded), or whether the consumer must also file suit within that three-year period (as the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits have held). N/A
13-684 Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans Whether a borrower exercises his right to rescind a transaction in satisfaction of the requirements of the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1635, by “notifying the creditor” in writing within three years of the consummation of the transaction, as the Third, Fourth, and Eleventh Circuits have held, or must instead file a lawsuit within three years of the consummation of the transaction, as the First, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits have held. N/A
13-638 Hussain v. Obama (1) Whether the court of appeals failed to apply the governing preponderance of the evidence standard in affirming the denial of petitioner's habeas corpus petition, thus denying him the meaningful review mandated by Boumediene v. Bush; and (2) whether the court of appeals improperly shifted the burden of proof to petitioner to disprove affiliation with al Qaeda or the Taliban at the time of his capture. N/A
13-637 Derr v. Maryland Whether the Sixth Amendment permits the state’s expert witness to present to a jury the results of forensic tests that she neither performed nor witnessed as substantive evidence to support her conclusion that petitioner was the source of DNA evidence, when the state does not call the analysts who performed the tests as witnesses or show that they are unavailable and previously subject to cross-examination. N/A
13-628 Zivotofsky v. Kerry Whether a federal statute that directs the Secretary of State, on request, to record the birthplace of an American citizen born in Jerusalem as born in "Israel" on a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and on a United States passport is unconstitutional on the ground that the statute "impermissibly infringes on the President's exercise of the recognition power reposing exclusively in him." N/A
13-604 Heien v. North Carolina Whether a police officer’s mistake of law can provide the individualized suspicion that the Fourth Amendment requires to justify a traffic stop. N/A
13-551 Tolan v. Cotton Whether courts deciding qualified immunity in Fourth Amendment cases should consider the factual reasonableness of the search or seizure when applying the second, “clearly established” prong of the test. N/A
12-1472 Ryan v. Hurles Whether, under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), state court adjudications are per se unreasonable and not entitled to deference under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2) merely because the state court does not conduct an evidentiary hearing. N/A

Petitions for Conference of 04.25.2014

Docket Case Page Issue(s) CVSG
13-1010 M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett (1) Whether, when construing collective bargaining agreements in Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) cases, courts should presume that silence concerning the duration of retiree health-care benefits means the parties intended those benefits to vest (and therefore continue indefinitely), as the Sixth Circuit holds; or should require a clear statement that health-care benefits are intended to survive the termination of the collective bargaining agreement, as the Third Circuit holds; or should require at least some language in the agreement that can reasonably support an interpretation that health-care benefits should continue indefinitely, as the Second and Seventh Circuits hold; (2) whether, as the Sixth Circuit has held in conflict with the Second, Third, and Seventh Circuits, different rules of construction should apply when determining whether health-care benefits have vested in pure ERISA plans versus collectively bargained plans. N/A
13-888 Amgen Inc. v. Harris (1) Whether the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that respondents, in seeking to prove their claims under ERISA, could invoke the presumption of class-wide reliance approved by this Court for securities claims in Basic Inc. v. Levinson; (2) whether the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that a fiduciary of a company’s employee-retirement plan must act — with respect to publicly-traded securities — on non-public information about the company in order to avoid liability under ERISA; and (3) whether the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that the “presumption of prudence,” which protects ERISA fiduciaries from liability in certain circumstances, applies only if the relevant retirement-plan language requires or encourages a fiduciary to invest in the employer’s own stock. N/A
13-873 US Foods v. Catholic Healthcare West (1) Whether contract-expectation damages are a permissible remedy in a civil RICO action based on alleged fraud, and if so, whether such damages are available even where any expectation was created only by the alleged fraudulent conduct; (2) whether but-for causation in a civil RICO class action may be satisfied by a class-wide presumption of reliance on alleged fraudulent conduct in the absence of any individualized proof that any member of the class actually relied on that conduct; and (3) whether a nationwide class asserting state-law claims under multiple state laws may be certified under Rule 23(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the absence of any showing that the state laws at issue are uniformly interpreted and applied. N/A
13-693 Whitley v. Hanna (1) Whether a victim raped by a police officer acting under color of law can bring a § 1983 substantive due process claim against state and local law enforcement officers and officials who, in the course of their investigation of her attacker, made the deliberate decision to build their prosecution case by allowing the victim to be repeatedly assaulted; (2) whether, under the deliberate indifference standard, law enforcement officers and officials are excused for knowing and intentional violations of a victim's constitutional rights in the course of investigating a state actor if the violations were committed as part of a plan to secure a conviction; and (3) whether knowingly allowing a sexual assault by a state actor is justifiable by any governmental interest. N/A
13-677 Beard v. Aguilar Whether the Ninth Circuit’s grant of habeas relief in this case violated 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). N/A
13-632 James v. U.S. Whether forensic pathology reports are testimonial for purposes of the Confrontation Clause. N/A

Petitions Not Set for Conference

Docket Case Page Issue(s) CVSG
13-1193 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Walker Whether either full faith and credit principles or due process permits generic findings from the decertified Engle class action—findings the Florida Supreme Court deemed “useless” for issue preclusion purposes—to be used to excuse thousands of plaintiffs in follow-on cases from proving essential elements of their claims? N/A
13-1187 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Brown Whether the generic findings from the decertified Engle class action—findings the Florida Supreme Court deemed “useless” for issue preclusion purposes—can be used to excuse thousands of plaintiffs in follow-on cases from proving essential elements of their claims without violating defendants’ due process rights. N/A
13-1118 Debord v. Mercy Health System of Kansas Whether section 704(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits retaliation against a worker because of the worker’s statements: (1) only when the statements are made to the worker’s own employer or to federal or state anti-discrimination agencies (the rule in the Tenth and Fourth Circuits), or (2) also when the worker’s statements are made to any other person (the rule in the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Circuits). N/A
13-1095 Gupta v. McGahey Whether, under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g), warrantless searches and seizures and unconstitutional arrests and detentions are “decisions” or “actions” taken by the Attorney General to “commence removal proceedings.” N/A
13-1061 Mount Soledad Memorial Association v. Trunk Whether the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial violates the Establishment Clause because it contains a memorial cross among numerous other religious and secular symbols of patriotism and sacrifice. N/A
13-1052 Nickols v. Mortgage Bankers Association Whether agencies subject to the Administrative Procedure Act are categorically prohibited from revising their interpretative rules unless such revisions are made through notice-and-comment rulemaking. N/A
13-1051 Accenture, L.L.P. v. Wellogix Whether Federal Rule of Evidence 702 requires a court, and not the jury, to decide whether expert testimony is “based on sufficient facts or data” and “reliably applie[s] . . . principles and methods to the facts of the case,” and to set aside a jury verdict that rests on expert testimony that fails to meet these fundamental requirements. N/A
13-1041 Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association Whether a federal agency must engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act before it can significantly alter an interpretive rule that articulates an interpretation of an agency regulation. N/A
13-1038 Cunningham v. Pennsylvania Whether the substantive holding in Miller v. Alabama, that a juvenile convicted of a homicide offense cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole under the Eighth Amendment unless there is consideration of individual mitigating circumstances, applies on collateral review to petitioner. N/A
13-1037 WFC Holdings Corporation v. U.S. Whether an objectively profitable transaction can be disregarded for tax purposes under the judge-made economic substance doctrine because it was structured to achieve income tax deductions authorized by the plain language of the Internal Revenue Code. N/A
13-1013 GenOn Power Midwest, L.P. v. Bell Whether the Clean Air Act, which provides a comprehensive system for the regulation of air pollution in the United States and leaves “no room for a parallel track,” American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, preempts state common law nuisance claims that would impose emissions restrictions different from those adopted pursuant to the Act and expose companies operating in compliance with all applicable emissions standards under the Act to liability for their emissions. N/A
13-1009 Risen v. U.S. (1) Whether journalists have a qualified First Amendment privilege when subpoenaed to reveal the identity of confidential sources in a federal criminal trial; and (2) whether a federal common law privilege should be recognized under Federal Rule of Evidence 501 to provide protection to journalists who are subpoenaed to reveal the identity of their confidential sources in a federal criminal trial. N/A
13-991 Exchange Bondholder Group v. NML Capital, Ltd. (1) Whether, where a foreign nation has refused to make payments to holders of its defaulted debt instruments, a federal court can coerce payment by issuing an injunction preventing a non-party trustee from paying non-party holders of the sovereign’s non-defaulted debt instruments unless the sovereign also satisfies in full the claims of the defaulted debt holders, thereby imposing otherwise non-existent conditions on the payment rights of the non-parties and creating a grave risk of default; (2) whether the Fifth Amendment’s prohibitions against government deprivations and takings of private property solely for the purpose of conferring a private benefit bar a federal court from granting equitable relief that conditions the payment rights of the non-party, nondefaulted debt holders on the sovereign’s payment of overdue sums to parties who are holders of the defaulted debt; and (3) whether non-party holders of debt instruments have standing to appeal the district court’s entry of an order that prohibits payments on those specific debt instruments — and no others — until the debtor has satisfied unrelated overdue payments on other debt instruments. N/A
13-990 Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd. (1) Whether this Court should certify to the New York Court of Appeals this question: Whether a foreign sovereign is in breach of a pari passu clause when it makes periodic interest payments on performing debt without also paying on its defaulted debt; and (2) whether a district court can enter an injunction coercing a foreign sovereign into paying money damages, without regard to whether payment would be made with assets that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act makes immune from “attachment arrest and execution,” 28 U.S.C. §§ 1609–1611. N/A
13-983 Elonis v. U.S. Whether, consistent with the First Amendment and Virginia v. Black, conviction of threatening another person under 18 U.S.C. § 875(c) requires proof of the defendant's subjective intent to threaten, as required by the Ninth Circuit and the supreme courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont; or whether it is enough to show that a “reasonable person” would regard the statement as threatening, as held by other federal courts of appeals and state courts of last resort. N/A
13-980 Sweeney v. National Collegiate Athletic Association Whether the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) violates the anti-commandeering principle of the Tenth Amendment by prohibiting states from authorizing sports wagering under state law. N/A
13-979 New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (1) Whether the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act’s (PASPA) prohibition on state licensing or authorization of sports wagering exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress and violates both the Tenth Amendment and structural principles of federalism; and (2) Whether PASPA’s discrimination in favor of Nevada and other exempted States violates the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty. N/A
13-967 Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (1) Whether the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act’s (“PASPA”) prohibition on state licensing or authorization of sports wagering commandeers the regulatory authority of the States, in violation of the Tenth Amendment; and (2) whether PASPA’s discrimination in favor of Nevada and other exempted States violates the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty. N/A
13-963 Missouri v. McNeal Whether, contrary to Strickland v. Washington—which stated that a reviewing court must presume that the jury followed the law in rendering its verdict—a claim of Strickland prejudice can be predicated upon the possibility that the jury might not have followed the law in finding the defendant guilty of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. N/A
13-959 Stone v. Bear, Stearns & Co. (1) Whether an arbitrator’s failure to disclose facts creating a reasonable impression of partiality warrants vacating an arbitration award pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 10(a)(2), or whether an arbitration award should stand despite an arbitrator’s failure to disclose conflicts of interest unless a reasonable person would have to conclude that the arbitrator was partial to one party to the arbitration; and (2) whether a party waives a challenge to an arbitrator’s failure to disclose conflicts of interest only if it knows of the conflicts and fails to raise them during the arbitration, or whether a party waives such a challenge unless it fully investigates the arbitrator’s undisclosed conflicts, and objects to the arbitrator’s participation, during the arbitration. N/A
13-956 Teva Pharmaceuticals USA v. Superior Court of California, Orange County Whether the California Court of Appeal erred when it deepened an acknowledged circuit split and held—contrary to this Court's decisions in Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee, and PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing; the decisions of the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits in Morris v. PLIVA, Inc., and Guarino v. Wyeth, LLC; and the plain language of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”)—that federal law does not preempt state tort claims predicated on allegations that a generic drug manufacturer violated the FDCA by failing to immediately implement or otherwise disseminate notice of labeling changes that the United States Food and Drug Administration had approved for use on a generic drug product's brand-name equivalent. N/A
13-955 Knight v. Thompson Whether the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1(a), requires that prison officials actually consider and demonstrate a sufficient basis for rejecting widely accepted accommodations to traditional religious practices as part of their burden of proving that they have chosen the “least restrictive means” of furthering their asserted governmental interests. N/A
13-950 Peri & Sons Farms v. Rivera (1) Whether, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are responsible for reimbursing foreign workers’ preemployment travel and immigration expenses; and (2) whether deference is owed to the Department of Labor’s interpretation of the FLSA and its regulations. N/A
13-947 Caret v. The University of Utah (1) Whether the Federal Circuit correctly held that a dispute between two States over ownership of patent rights may be adjudicated in a federal district court, despite this Court's exclusive jurisdiction over suits between States, as long as (A) the plaintiff-State sues only officials of the other State in their official capacity, and (B) the district court determines that the case does not implicate the core sovereign interests of the two States; and (2) whether a State can utilize the Ex parte Young doctrine to circumvent this Court's original and exclusive jurisdiction over controversies between States by amending its complaint to drop the defendant-State and add in its place state officials against whom the plaintiff-State seeks no relief, where the dispute concerns which State is the owner of disputed patent rights. N/A
13-946 Lopez v. Smith Whether the Ninth Circuit failed to apply the deferential standard of review required by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) when it granted federal habeas relief from a state murder conviction on the ground that the prosecutor's request for an aiding-and-abetting instruction at the jury-instruction conference violated a putative constitutional right to prior notice of the government's theory of prosecution - a right that has been recognized in the court of appeals' own precedents, but not established by any holding of this Court. N/A
13-941 Aracoma Coal Company v. U.S. Whether an otherwise unconstitutional tax imposed upon the sale of goods in the stream of export commerce can be saved from invalidation under the Export Clause of the United States Constitution, Art. I § 9, cl. 5, by recharacterizing it as a deferred tax on manufacturing. N/A
13-934 Edmonson v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Company Whether, when an ERISA plan permits the use of retained asset accounts to settle life-insurance claims but leaves discretion to the insurer to determine the interest rates and other features of those accounts, the insurer ceases to act as a fiduciary when it creates the account (as the Second and Third Circuits have held) or its subsequent discretionary acts remain subject to ERISA’s protections (as the First Circuit has held). N/A
13-916 Allstate Insurance Company v. Jacobsen (1) Whether the Due Process Clause precludes state courts from certifying a class action for injunctive and declaratory relief that the class representative cannot seek in an individual capacity; (2) whether the Due Process Clause precludes state courts from certifying a no-opt-out class action to provide the predicate for later individual awards of compensatory and punitive damages; and (3) whether the Due Process Clause precludes state courts from certifying class claims on the premise that individual defenses will be removed from consideration. N/A
13-913 Janvey v. Alguire Whether a federal equity receiver has standing to assert claims on behalf of the receivership's creditors generally. N/A
13-902 Tembenis v. Sebelius Whether the right to receive compensation provided by a provision of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-15(a)(3)(B), is extinguished when the injured vaccinee dies before a decision awarding such compensation is rendered? N/A
13-901 Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1) Whether Calderon v. Thompson bars a circuit court from reconsidering an issue after the time in which to seek rehearing in the circuit court and certiorari in this Court has passed, and where this Court relied on the finality of the circuit court decision in exercising its jurisdiction; (2) whether a multi-jurisdiction municipal stormwater permit issued under the Clean Water Act can be construed to impose liability on a co-permittee without evidence that the co-permittee discharged pollutants in violation of the permit, where federal regulations provide that each co-permittee is only responsible for its own discharges and where the monitoring specified in the permit measures pollutants discharged by multiple upstream sources without any means to measure the contribution of any individual co-permittee. N/A
13-899 Family Dollar Stores v. Scott (1) Whether the Fourth Circuit contravened Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes by holding that discretionary decisions by hundreds of supervisors can serve as the basis for a nationwide class action because "Wal-Mart is limited to the exercise of discretion by lower-level employees, as opposed to upper-level, top-management personnel;" and (2) whether a court of appeals may exercise "pendent appellate jurisdiction" to review an unappealable interlocutory ruling that requires the court to decide legal and factual issues distinct from the ruling over which it has jurisdiction and unrelated to the power of the district court to enter the appealable order. N/A
13-897 Brown v. Shaw Whether, in a claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, a state appellate court’s holding that an omitted state law issue ultimately lacked merit precludes a federal habeas court from later finding either deficient performance or prejudice relating to that omission under the standards of Strickland v. Washington, and 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). N/A
13-877 Acebo-Leyva v. Holder (1) Whether discretionary relief under § 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act remains available to individuals who were eligible for such relief at the time of their convictions and exercised their right to trial, rather than pleading guilty; and (2) whether the court of appeals had jurisdiction to review petitioner's claim for deferred removal under the Convention Against Torture. N/A
13-868 Ryan v. Detrich (1) Whether the Ninth Circuit improperly held that Martinez v. Ryan provides a “more lenient rule . . . for excusing procedural default” than does Coleman v. Thompson, and encompasses both cause and prejudice to excuse the procedural default of a habeas claim; and (2) whether the Ninth Circuit improperly removed the prejudice prong from an analysis of ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel as provided in Martinez and Strickland v. Washington. N/A
13-856 Sonic-Calabasas A v. Moreno (1) Whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts a California rule that would condition enforcement of arbitration agreements upon a pre-arbitration, judicial determination that the arbitration agreement, as applied, provides for judicially imposed standards for accessibility, informality, and affordability unique to certain statutory claims notwithstanding the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent prior decisions in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (precluding states from requiring arbitration procedures inconsistent with the FAA, even if based on public policy considerations) and American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant (“the FAA’s command to enforce arbitration agreements trumps any interest in ensuring the prosecution of low-value claims”); and (2) whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts California efforts to invent and apply a new unconscionability test (“unreasonably one-sided”), in lieu of the unconscionability test generally applicable in California (“shocks the conscience”), notwithstanding the plain language of Section 2 of the FAA that limits defenses to arbitration agreement enforcement to “such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract” and precludes defenses to arbitration enforcement that apply uniquely to arbitration agreements. N/A
13-817 Kellogg Brown & Root Services v. Harris (1) Whether the political question doctrine bars state-law tort claims against a battlefield support contractor operating in an active war zone when adjudication of those claims would necessarily require examining sensitive military judgments; (2) whether the Federal Tort Claims Act's “combatant-activities exception,” 28 U.S.C. § 2680(j), preempts state-law tort claims against a battlefield support contractor that arise out of the U.S. military's combatant activities in a theater of combat. N/A
13-761 Galloway v. Mississippi (1) Whether the Mississippi Supreme Court erred in holding that the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment permits a forensic analyst to inform the jury of the results of forensic testing of DNA evidence that she did not participate in or observe, so long as she is “familiar with each step of the complex testing process conducted by” the non-testifying expert and “conducted her own [comparison] analysis” of the DNA profiles generated by the non-testifying expert; (2) whether the court below erred in holding that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments permit the exclusion from a capital trial of a defendant’s proffered evidence of the harsh and suffering prison conditions he would face if the jury elected a sentence of life imprisonment instead of execution, where such evidence rebuts the argument that the death penalty is needed to hold the defendant accountable, rebuts the state’s suggestion of future dangerousness, and is constitutionally relevant mitigation evidence; and (3) whether a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s requirement that jurors be permitted to form a reasoned moral response to the defendant’s background, character, and crime may be excused as harmless error, as the court below and some United States courts of appeals have found, or whether such constitutional error must require automatic reversal of the death sentence, as other United States courts of appeals have held. N/A
13-742 Droganes v. U.S. Whether a court has the inherent authority to impose monetary sanctions against the government despite the doctrine of sovereign immunity, when the government acts in bad faith by making misrepresentations to the court and by violating and ignoring the terms of an otherwise valid and enforceable court order. N/A
13-720 Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises Whether this Court should overrule Brulotte v. Thys Co., which held that “a patentee’s use of a royalty agreement that projects beyond the expiration date of the patent is unlawful per se.” N/A
13-697 Madrigal-Barcenas v. Holder Whether the plain text of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states that a noncitizen is ineligible for cancellation of removal if he has been convicted of an offense “relating to a controlled substance," requires that a drug paraphernalia conviction involve or relate to a controlled substance that is actually listed in the federal schedules of controlled substances in order to render a noncitizen ineligible for cancellation of removal. N/A
13-641 Person v. U.S. Whether under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33(b)(1), a district court may consider as newly-discovered evidence (1) only evidence that was not known by the movant before trial, as is the standard in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and D.C. Circuits, or (2) either unknown or unavailable evidence, as is permissible in the First, Second, Sixth and Eighth Circuits. N/A
13-504 Brewington v. North Carolina Whether the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment permits a forensic analyst who did not observe or participate in any of the forensic testing at issue to tell the jury the conclusions that another analyst set forth in a testimonial forensic report – so long as the testifying analyst offers an “independent opinion” that, based on reviewing the other analyst’s report and notes, she agrees with other analyst’s conclusions. N/A
13-254 Runyon v. U.S. (1) Whether, in order to demonstrate that evidentiary errors in a capital sentencing proceeding were harmless, the government must establish that the errors did not affect the verdict of the jury that actually heard the case or whether the government may instead meet its burden by demonstrating that such errors would not have affected a hypothetical, reasonable jury; and (2) whether, under the cumulative error doctrine, a reviewing court must reverse if the government cannot establish that preserved errors are harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, or is reversal required only if the errors “so fatally infect[ed] the trial that they violated the trial’s fundamental fairness.” N/A

Calls for the Views of the Solicitor General

Docket Case Page Issue(s) CVSG
22o142 Florida v. Georgia Whether Florida is entitled to equitable apportionment of the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin and appropriate injunctive relief against Georgia to sustain an adequate flow of fresh water into the Apalachicola Region. 03/03/2014
13-791 Moores v. Hildes Whether a plaintiff may state a claim under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, which provides for strict liability “on account of” defective registration statements, where he made an irrevocable investment decision to acquire his securities before a registration statement covering the issuance of those securities existed. 03/24/2014
13-787 Missouri ex rel. KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Co. v. Missouri Public Service Commission Whether the filed rate doctrine and Supremacy Clause permit a state public service commission to “trap” federally approved costs with a utility by recognizing the prudency of obtaining electric power from a plant in another state, but then barring the utility from recovering the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-approved transmission costs of importing that power. 3/10/2014
13-662 Bank of America, N.A. v. Rose Whether, when Congress has not authorized private enforcement of a federal statute and has foreclosed indirect enforcement, a state law that borrows other statutes as predicates for liability may be used to privately enforce that federal statute, based on a savings clause that permits states to enact their own laws relating to the specific subject of the federal legislation. 03/11/2014
13-553 Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation Whether a state “discriminates against a rail carrier” in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 11501(b)(4) when the state generally requires commercial and industrial businesses, including rail carriers, to pay a sales-and-use tax but grants exemptions from the tax to the railroads’ competitors. 01/27/2014
13-550 Tibble v. Edison Int'l (1) Notwithstanding the ongoing nature of ERISA's fiduciary duties, whether the statute of limitations under 29 U.S.C. §1113(1) immunizes 401(k) plan fiduciaries for retaining imprudent investments that continue to cause the plan losses if the funds were first included in the plan more than six years ago; and (2) whether Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. v. Bruch deference applies to fiduciary breach actions under 29 U.S.C. §1132(a)(2), where the fiduciary allegedly violated the terms of the governing plan document in a manner that favors the financial interests of the plan sponsor at the expense of plan participants. 03/24/2014
13-485 Comptroller v. Wynne Whether the United States Constitution prohibits a state from taxing all the income of its residents — wherever earned — by mandating a credit for taxes paid on income earned in other states. 1/13/2014
13-448 Picard v. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (1) Whether, in conflict with decisions of the Third and Sixth Circuits, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation’s right to subrogation is limited to customers’ Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) claims against a failed brokerage’s estate and therefore does not reach claims against third parties that share responsibility for the brokerage’s collapse and customers’ losses; (2) whether, in conflict with decisions of the Fourth and Eighth Circuits, federal statutory silence overrides any right to contribution under state law for liabilities arising under the federal statute regardless of whether Congress intended to preempt the state law; and (3) whether, in conflict with decisions of the First and Seventh Circuits, a trustee lacks standing under SIPA or the Bankruptcy Code to assert claims against parties that hastened or deepened the bankruptcy and are therefore general to all of an estate’s customers or creditors. 1/13/2014
13-352 B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries (1) Whether the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s finding of a likelihood of confusion precludes respondent from relitigating that issue in infringement litigation, in which likelihood of confusion is an element; and (2) whether, if issue preclusion does not apply, the district court was obliged to defer to the Board’s finding of a likelihood of confusion absent strong evidence to rebut it. 1/13/2014
13-318 O’Neill v. Al Rajhi Bank (1) Whether the civil remedy provision of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2333, supports claims against defendants based on theories of secondary liability, and requires plaintiffs to establish that a defendant’s support provided to a terrorist organization was a proximate cause of the plaintiffs’ injury; (2) whether U.S. courts have personal jurisdiction over defendants who, acting abroad, provide material support to a terrorist organization that attacks the territorial United States and the defendant intends to provide support to the organization, knows of the organization’s objective and history of attacking U.S. interests, and can foresee that its material support will be used in attacks on the United States. 12/16/2013
13-271 Oneok Inc. v. Learjet Whether the Natural Gas Act, which occupies the field as to matters within its scope, preempts state-law claims challenging industry practices that directly affect the wholesale natural gas market when those claims are asserted by litigants who purchased gas in retail transactions. 12/02/2013
13-130 Thurber v. Aetna Life Insurance Company (1) Whether an ERISA Plan may enforce an equitable lien by agreement under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA where it has not identified a particular fund that is in the defendant’s possession and control at the time the Plan asserts its equitable lien. The First, Second, Third, Sixth, and Seventh Circuits have held that a Plan may do so, and the Eighth and Ninth Circuits have held that it may not; and (2) whether a discretionary clause in an ERISA plan mandating that an abuse-of-discretion standard of judicial review be applied to a Section 502(a)(1)(B) denial-of-benefits claim is enforceable when the clause was never disclosed to the participant in any plan document, as the Second Circuit held here, or whether the Plan must give participants and beneficiaries clear notice of such a clause, as the Seventh Circuit has required. 10/07/2013
13-43 Maersk Drilling USA v. Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Whether offering, negotiating, and entering into a contract in Scandinavia to provide services using a potentially patented device constitutes an “offer to sell” or “sale” of an actually patented device “within the United States,” under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). 10/07/2013
12-1497 Kellogg Brown & Root Services v. U.S. ex rel. Carter (1) Whether the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act – a criminal code provision that tolls the statute of limitations for “any offense” involving fraud against the government “[w]hen the United States is at war,” 18 U.S.C. § 3287, and which this Court has instructed must be “narrowly construed” in favor of repose – applies to claims of civil fraud brought by private relators, and is triggered without a formal declaration of war, in a manner that leads to indefinite tolling; and (2) whether, contrary to the conclusion of numerous courts, the False Claims Act’s so-called “first-to-file” bar, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(5) – which creates a race to the courthouse to reward relators who promptly disclose fraud against the government, while prohibiting repetitive, parasitic claims – functions as a “onecase- at-a-time” rule allowing an infinite series of duplicative claims so long as no prior claim is pending at the time of filing. 10/07/2013
12-1485 Arab Bank v. Linde (1) Whether the Second Circuit erred when, in conflict with decisions of this Court and other circuits and in disregard of international comity and due process, it failed to vacate severe sanctions for non-production of records located in countries where production would subject the Bank to criminal penalties, hobbling the Bank’s defense; and (2) whether the courts below erred by failing to dismiss plaintiffs’ Alien Tort Statute claims, as the Second Circuit’s and this Court’s decisions in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum require. 10/21/2013
12-1351 Medtronic v. Stengel Whether the Medical Device Amendments to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act preempt a state-law claim alleging that a medical device manufacturer violated a duty under federal law to report adverse-event information to the Food and Drug Administration. 10/07/2013
12-1226 Young v. United Parcel Service Whether, and in what circumstances, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k), requires an employer that provides work accommodations to nonpregnant employees with work limitations to provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are “similar in their ability or inability to work.” 10/07/2013

Petitions Held for Another Conference


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