For most of Tuesday’s 53-minute oral argument in Manrique v. United States, the Supreme Court seemed caught between two very different ways of looking at the question presented — whether a notice of appeal from an initial judgment of conviction and sentence in a federal criminal case can also encompass a challenge to the district court’s subsequent restitution determination under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. On one hand, as Assistant Federal Defender Paul Rashkind argued on behalf of petitioner Marcelo Manrique, there is a longstanding norm that one notice of appeal suffices in criminal cases, so the court of appeals erred by holding that it could not reach Manrique’s challenge to the amount of restitution ordered in his case because he did not separately notice an appeal from that judgment. On the other hand, as Assistant to the Solicitor General Allon Kedem argued on behalf of the United States, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure don’t appear to cover such a situation – and it would be unusual to allow a notice of appeal to encompass matters that have not yet been determined. And although predicting a result based upon oral argument is always a fraught proposition, the six justices who asked questions certainly seemed to be leaning toward the government’s view by the end of the session.
Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three cases. First up was Samsung Electronics v. Apple, a dispute over the proper scope of a damages award for design patent infringement. Coverage comes from Nina Totenberg and An-Li Herring at NPR, Adam Liptak at The New York Times, Tony Mauro at Law.com, and Susan Decker and Greg Stohr at Bloomberg. Commentary comes from Michael Bobelian at Forbes. Next was Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, which involves racial bias in jury deliberations. Amy Howe analyzes the argument for this blog. For NPR, Nina Totenberg previews the case and reports on the argument. Andrew King weighs in on the case at Mimesis Law. In the afternoon, the court heard argument in Manrique v. United States, centering on an appeal of a restitution award.
The petition of the day is:
Issue: Whether the collateral order doctrine permits the immediate appeal of a district court order denying appointment of counsel under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1).
This afternoon the justices issued additional orders from their October 7 conference, adding three new hours of oral argument to their merits docket for the term. And if there is a public perception that the justices have been avoiding controversial issues since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year, today’s order list belied that assessment, as the justices agreed to take on cases challenging the cross-border shooting of a Mexican citizen and detentions in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
Today the justices heard oral argument in the case of Miguel Pena-Rodriguez, a Colorado man who was convicted of assaulting two teenage sisters at a racetrack. After the jury issued its verdict, Pena-Rodriguez’s lawyers learned that one juror, a former police officer, had made racially derogatory comments about Pena-Rodriguez and the witness who provided his alibi – saying, for example, that Pena-Rodriguez must be guilty “because he’s Mexican, and Mexican men take whatever they want.” But a Colorado rule known as the “no impeachment rule,” which bars jurors from testifying about “any matter or statement occurring during the course of the jury’s deliberations,” stood in the way of Pena-Rodriguez’s efforts to get a new trial.
This afternoon the court granted review in the following cases.
- Whether a formalist or functionalist analysis governs the extraterritorial application of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unjustified deadly force, as applied to a cross-border shooting of an unarmed Mexican citizen in an enclosed area controlled by the United States;
- Whether qualified immunity may be granted or denied based on facts – such as the victim’s legal status – unknown to the officer at the time of the incident; and
- Whether the claim in this case may be asserted under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents.
The Supreme Court did not add any new cases to its merits docket this morning.
The most noteworthy part of this morning’s order list was a per curiam decision in Bosse v. Oklahoma, a death penalty case. Twenty-five years ago, in Payne v. Tennessee, the court ruled that the Constitution does not bar a jury in a death penalty case from considering the impact of the victim’s death on family members. Shaun Bosse asked the justices to review his case, arguing that his constitutional rights were violated when the victim’s family members testified about the crime itself and asked jurors to sentence him to death. An Oklahoma appeals court had rejected that argument, but today the justices threw out the state court’s decision and sent the case back for new proceedings.
Today the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in three cases. First on the schedule is Samsung Electronics v. Apple, a high-stakes dispute over the proper scope of a damages award for design patent infringement. Ronald Mann previewed the case for this blog, as do Jaeeun Shin and Dara Brown for Cornell’s Legal Information Institute. Advance coverage comes from Adam Liptak at The New York Times, Dave Lee at BBC News and Jeff John Roberts at Fortune. Next is Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, which involves racial bias in jury deliberations; Amy Howe provided this blog’s preview, and Karen Ojeda and Nicholas Halliburton preview the case for Cornell. In the afternoon, the court will hear argument in Manrique v. United States, centering on an appeal of a restitution award; Steve Vladeck previewed the case for this blog; Emily Rector and Kimberly Petrick do the same for Cornell.
The petitions of the day are:
Issue: Whether an agreement that requires an employer and an employee to resolve employment-related disputes through individual arbitration, and waive class and collective proceedings, is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act, notwithstanding the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.
Issue: Whether the collective-bargaining provisions of the National Labor Relations Act prohibit the enforcement under the Federal Arbitration Act of an agreement requiring an employee to arbitrate claims against an employer on an individual, rather than collective, basis.