United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted Opinions

2013

January 15 summaries

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

(1) Whether a voluntary adoption initiated by a non-Indian parent under state law may be blocked by the Indian Child Welfare Act when the Indian parent did not have prior custody; and (2) whether ICWA’s definition of "parent" includes a biological father without legal status as a parent under state law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Tarrant Regional Water Dist. v. Herrmann

(1) Whether Congress’ ratification of an interstate compact constitutes “expressly stated” or “unmistakably clear” congressional intent to immunize the relevant state laws from dormant Commerce Clause scrutiny; and (2) whether the compact preempts state laws that limit other signatories’ access to the water in question.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Water Rights

United States v. Davila

Whether the court of appeals erred in finding that a criminal defendant's guilty plea should be vacated when a judicial participation occurs in violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1), irrespective of individual prejudice to the defendant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Agency for Int’l Dev. v. Alliance for Open Society Int’l, Inc.

Whether §7631(f) of the United States Leadership against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003 (“Leadership Act”), which requires that agencies that receive federal funding to administer foreign HIV and AIDS programs must have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex-trafficking, and endorse the government’s stance on prostitution, violates the First Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles

(1) Whether the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act contains an unstated “market participant” exception that allows a municipal governmental entity to act in conflict with the express preemption clause when the municipal entity does not participate in the market and does not have any interest in the efficient procurement of services; (2) “Whether permitting a municipal governmental entity to bar federally licensed motor carriers from access to a port operates as a partial suspension of the motor carriers' federal registration.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Hillman v. Maretta

Whether the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act (FEGLIA) preempts Virginia’s omitted spouse statute that allows a third party to recover death benefits from the named beneficiary.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Sekhar v. United States

Whether a government agent’s "recommendation" is intangible property capable of being extorted under the Hobbs Act and 18 U.S.C. §875(d).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Kebodeaux

Whether the Sex Offender and Notification Act (SORNA) is constitutional as applied against a person who completed his criminal sentence prior to SORNA's enactment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Salinas v. Texas

Whether, or under what conditions, prearrest, pre-Miranda silence is protected by the Fifth Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Bond v. United States

Whether Congress can enact legislation in areas normally reserved to the states in order to implement a valid treaty.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Chadbourne & Parke LLP v. Troice

Whether the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA) precludes a state-law class action alleging fraud and misrepresentation in a Ponzi scheme.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Metrish v. Lancaster

(1) Whether the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision to abolish a criminal defendant's right to raise diminished capacity as a mitigating defense was “unexpected and indefensible” such that it could not be constitutionally applied retroactively to Respondent's past conduct; and (2) whether the retroactive application of that decision was so lacking in justification that Respondent is entitled to habeas relief.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

Proskauer Rose LLP v. Troice

Whether the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA) precludes private class actions where the alleged securities transaction is “more than tangentially related” to the “heart, crux or gravamen” of the alleged fraud.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Univ. Texas Southwestern Med. v. Nassar

Whether Title VII’s retaliation provision and related statutes require plaintiff to prove discrimination was a “but-for cause” for an adverse employment action or merely a “motivating factor” for the action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Willis of Colorado Inc. v. Troice

Whether state law class actions suits are precluded under the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA) because a misrepresentation is “made in connection with the purchase or sale of a covered security” where the representation asserts that an uncovered security is backed by safe, liquid, covered securities.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

February 3 summaries

Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp.

Whether donning and doffing safety clothing falls within the meaning of “changing clothes” in Section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Burt v. Titlow

(1) Whether a defendant’s subjective testimony is sufficient to prove that but-for ineffective counsel, she would have pled guilty; (2) Whether the appropriate remedy under Lafler v. Cooper is to resentence a defendant who proves that ineffective assistance led to her refusal to plead guilty.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Kansas v. Cheever

Whether the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination was violated when the state used a court-ordered mental evaluation to rebut the defendant's expert testimony that claimed the defendant lacked the requisite mental state to commit capital murder due to methamphetamine use.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

March 6 summaries

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

"Whether a state violates the Equal Protection Clause by amending its constitution to prohibit race- and sex-based discrimination or preferential treatment in public-university admissions decisions."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

United States v. Woods

“(1) Whether Section 6662 of the Internal Revenue Code, which prescribes a penalty for an underpayment of federal income tax that is “attributable to” an overstatement of basis in property, applies to an underpayment resulting from a determination that a transaction lacks economic substance because the sole purpose of the transaction was to generate a tax loss by artificially inflating the taxpayer’s basis in property. (2) Whether the district court had jurisdiction in this case under 26 U.S.C. §6226 to consider the substantial valuation misstatement penalty.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Walden v. Fiore

(1) Whether knowledge that Plaintiff has connections to the forum State constitute “express aiming” for specific personal jurisdiction; and (2) whether venue is established under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) when the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred in a judicial district other than the forum state.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Kaley v. United States

Whether the Fifth and Sixth Amendments entitle criminal defendants to a pre-trial adversarial hearing (in which they may challenge the evidentiary support of the underlying charges) on ex parte restraining orders which limit their ability to retain counsel of choice.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Madigan v. Levin

Whether a state or local employee's claim for age discrimination under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is precluded by the Age Discrimination and Employment Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

U.S. Forest Service v. Pacific Rivers Council

(1) Whether a plaintiff has Article III standing if it failed to establish a specific imminent threatened injury from its contact with the forest area affected by United States Forest Service proposals; (2) whether a plaintiff's claim is ripe if it can still object once it identified a specific injurious project; and (3) whether the National Environmental Policy Act requires the United States Forest Service to analyze all potential environmental effects as soon as reasonably possible.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

April 5 summaries

Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. United States District Court for the Western District of Texas

(1) Whether a forum-selection clause designating an alternative federal forum is enforceable under Stewart Organization, Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., limited to review under a discretionary balancing-of-conveniences analysis under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) and (2) Whether district courts should allocate the burden of proof between parties seeking to enforce or avoid forum-selection clauses.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life Insurance Co.

Whether judicial review of the statute of limitations in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) disability benefit claim may begin to run before the claimant can bring a legal action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Sprint Communications Co. v Jacobs

Whether the United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit erred in applying the abstention doctrine to a review a "coercive" or "remedial" state proceeding.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

DaimlerChrysler AG v. Bauman

Whether a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation based solely on its relationship to a subsidiary in the forum state.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Burrage v. United States

(1) Whether the crime of distribution of drugs causing death under 21 U.S.C. §841 is a strict liability crime; and (2) whether jury instructions which allow a conviction by distribution of heroin which "contributed to" death, but was not the sole cause.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

May 8 summaries

Burnside v. T. Walters, et al.

Whether the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit erred in holding that indigent plaintiffs are prohibited from amending their pleadings under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Fernandez v California

"Whether, under Georgia v. Randolph, a defendant must be personally present and objecting when police officers ask a co-tenant for consent to conduct a warrantless search or whether a defendant’s previously stated objection, while physically present, to a warrantless search is a continuing assertion of 4th Amendment rights which cannot be overridden by a co-tenant."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Lawson v. FMR LLC

Whether the First Circuit erred when it construed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), 18 U.S.C. § 1514A, to only protect whistleblower employees of publicly traded companies, but not private companies.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Medtronic Inc. v. Boston Scientific Corp., et al.

Whether the patentee bears the burden of proof in patent infringement case when the patentee is foreclosed from an infringement claim by a license agreement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

Northwest Inc. v. Ginsberg

Whether a contract claims based on the doctrine of good faith and fair dealing is preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Town of Greece v. Galloway

Whether a legislative prayer practice violates the Establishment Clause.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp.

Whether a state's parens patriae suit can be removed from state court under the Class Action Fairness Act as a "mass action" when the cause of action arises under state law with the state being the sole plaintiff.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Rosemond v. United States

Whether a the crime of aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during a federal drug trafficking offense requires proof of the defendant's facilitation or encouragement of the principal, or simple knowledge that the principal used the firearm during a crime in which the defendant participated.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

June 20 summaries

Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc.

Whether the appropriate standard to determine standing in an action for false advertising is (1) the factors found in Associated General Contractors of California, Inc. v. California State Council of Carpenters; (2) the categorical test which permits suits only by an actual competitor; or (3) the "reasonable interest" test.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Standing

United States v. Apel

Whether 18 U.S.C. §1382, which prohibits a person from reentering property owned by the military after an officer has ordered him not to reenter, applies to property where there is a public easement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

BG Group PLC v. Republic of Argentina

Whether an arbitrator or court has power to determine whether a prerequisite to arbitration has occurred.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Arbitration

Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper

Whether the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) gives immunity without a determination that an air carrier's disclosure was materially false.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Law v. Siegel

Whether a Bankruptcy Court should allow a surcharge to extend to a debtor’s protected homestead property.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc.

Whether the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3604, includes disparate impact claims.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Ray Haluch Gravel Co., Et al. V. Central Pension Fund, Et al.

Whether a district court’s decision that does not resolve a request for contractual attorney’s fees is a final decision under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, which provides that courts of appeals have jurisdiction of appeals from final decisions of the district courts.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

American Lung Association v. EME Homer City Generation

(1) Whether the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) methodology was properly challenged before the court without the required objections raised during public comment; (2)whether the courts creation of its implementation method over stepped the bounds of its judicial review of an Administrative agency; And (3) whether an upwind state has any obligations to a downwind state unless and until the EPA has reported on the contribution of the upwind state to the pollution of the downwind state.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation

Whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must quantify a states contribution to downwind non-attainment before adopting a FIP; and whether the EPA's interpretation of "contributes significantly" may permissibly define "significant" interstate pollution to include the cost effective reductions an upwind state can make to improve air pollution in downwind states.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v Arkison

Whether Article III of the US Constitution allows a bankruptcy court to exercise their judicial power on the basis of litigant consent, and if allowed, does “implied consent” caused by a litigant’s conduct, where a statute does not require consent of the litigant, satisfy Article III.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Lozano v. Alvarez

Whether the one-year filing period of the Hague Convention and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. § 11603 (2005) begins from the date of wrongful removal or tolled until the petitioning parent discovers the abducted child's whereabouts.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio

(1) Whether the Child Status Protection Act ("CSPA") grants “automatic conversion and priority date retention” to allow applicants who were derivative recipients of visas but "aged out" before the visas were granted, and now apply as adults, to apply using the original filing date of their parents' visa applications; And (2) whether the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") exceeded its authority when it interpreted CSPA was ambiguous and narrowly limited "automatic conversion."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

McCullen v Coakley

Whether Massachusetts’s selective exclusion law, which makes it a crime for persons to “enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk” within thirty-five feet of an entrance, exit, or driveway of a “reproductive health care facility” unless the person is an “employee or agent” of the facility acting within the scope of their employment, violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

Michigan v Bay Mills Indian Community

Whether Federal Courts have jurisdiction over tribal casinos that are not on tribal land and whether tribal sovereign immunity bars a state from bring a claim against a tribal casino that is not on tribal land.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tribal Law

National Labor Relations Board v. Canning

"(1) Whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised during a recess that occurs within a session of the Senate, or is instead limited to recesses that occur between enumerated sessions of the Senate, and (2) whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised to fill vacancies that exist during a recess, or is instead limited to vacancies that first arose during that recess."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

UBS v. Union de Empleados

Whether the proper standard of review for a dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.1 is de novo review or abuse of discretion.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Unite Here Local 355 v. Mulhall

Whether an employer and union may violate Section 302 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 186, by entering into an agreement under which the employer exercises 1) its freedom of speech by promising to remain neutral to union activity, 2) its property rights by granting union representatives limited access to the employer’s property and employees, and 3) its freedom of contract by obtaining the union’s promise to forego its rights to picket, boycott, or otherwise put pressure on the employer’s business.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Labor Law

Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice

Whether the Oklahoma Supreme Court erred in holding that Oklahoma House Bill 1970 is facially unconstitutional under Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Paroline v. United States

Whether the "proximate result" language of 18 U.S.C. § 2259(b)(3)(F) requires the government or victim to establish some, if any, "causal relationship or nexus between defendant's conduct and victim's harm or damages" in order to recover restitution.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

White v. Woodall

(1) Whether the trial court's failure to include a no adverse inference instruction to the jury is grounds for Habeas Corpus relief; and (2) whether such error is harmless under Brecht v Abrahamson.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

July 0 summaries

August 0 summaries

September 0 summaries

October 12 summaries

Harris v. Quinn

(1) Whether a collective bargaining agreement, which requires home-care personal assistants to pay a fee to union representatives, violates the First Amendment; and (2) whether the lower court erred in holding that the claims of providers in the Home Based Support Services Program are not ripe for judicial review.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Management Systems, Inc.

Whether permitting the award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party, in exceptional cases under 35 U.S.C. § 285, based on a court's judgment that a suit is objectively baseless, is entitled to deference.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Marvin M. Brandt Irrevocable Trust v. United States

Whether the United States held an implied reversionary interest in rights-of-way created by the General Railroad Right of Way Act in 1875 rights-of-way after the aforementioned lands were transferred to private ownership.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

Navarette v. California

Whether the Fourth Amendment requires a police officer, who receives an anonymous tip about a drunken or reckless driver, to corroborate the dangerous driving before stopping a vehicle.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Octane Fitness v. Icon Health and Fitness

Whether the Federal Circuit's two-step test for determining that a case is "exceptional" for the purpose of awarding attorney's fees to a prevailing accused infringer is an appropriate interpretation of 35 U.S.C. § 285.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

Whether the nonstatutory defense of laches is available without restriction to bar all remedies for civil copyright claims filed within the three-year statute of limitations prescribed by Congress, 17 U.S.C. § 507(b).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

United States v. Castleman

Whether a conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault qualifies as a conviction for a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

United States v. Quality Stores, Inc.

Whether severance payments made to involuntarily terminated employees are taxable as wages under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Abramski v. United States

Whether a gun buyer’s intent to sell a firearm to another lawful buyer in the future is a fact “material to the lawfulness of the sale” of the firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6); and (2) whether a gun buyer’s intent to sell a firearm to another lawful buyer in the future is a piece of information “required . . . to be kept” by a federally licensed firearm dealer under Section 924(a)(1)(A).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency

Whether the EPA correctly determined that permissible regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new motor vehicles allowed permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit GHG.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

Hall v. Florida

Whether the Florida scheme for identifying mentally retarded defendants in capital cases violates Atkins v. Virginia.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Robers v. United States

Whether the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996, 18 U.S.C. § 3663A limits the scope of restitution to the value difference of a mortgage and final sale price of real estate.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

November 5 summaries

Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc.

(1) Whether the holding in Basic Inc. v. Levinson should be overruled or modified and (2) whether class certification may be rebutted by providing evidence that the misrepresentations did not distort the actual stock value.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Plumhoff v. Rickard

(1) Whether the Sixth Circuit incorrectly denied qualified immunity to Petitioner and (2) whether the force used by Petitioner was reasonable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Clark v, Rameker

Whether non-spousal inherited IRAs are exempt from creditors' claims as "retirement funds" under Section 522 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

(1) Whether The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) permits a for-profit corporation to deny employees health coverage for contraceptives which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law; and(2) whether application of the contraceptive-coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act violates free exercise rights.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Wood v. Moss

(1) Whether viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment occurred when the Secret Service moved anti-Bush demonstrators, but not pro-Bush demonstrators; and (2) whether the Secret Service are entitled to qualified immunity.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

December 3 summaries

Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International

Whether claims to computer-implemented inventions are considered patent eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoefer

Whether a plaintiff alleging ERISA violations of an Employee Stock Ownership Fund must allege an abuse of discretion on the part of the fiduciaries of the fund to overcome a presumption of reasonableness for investing in employer securities.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Loughrin v. United States

Whether the government must prove, in every case against a defendant prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 1344, that the defendant intended to defraud a bank and expose it to risk of loss.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law