United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted Opinions

2018

January 13 summaries

Abbott v. Perez

If jurisdiction is valid, the Court will determine whether the Texas Legislature’s redistricting plan was racial gerrymandering in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment as a result of voter dilution.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Election Law

Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

Whether a court may exercise independent review of an appearing foreign sovereign’s interpretation of its domestic law, or whether a court is bound to defer to a foreign government’s legal statement, as a matter of international comity, whenever the foreign government appears before the court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Corporations

Chavez-Meza v. United States

Whether a district court must explain its decision when deciding not to grant a proportional sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) when the reasons are not otherwise apparent from the record, or is it sufficient that the reduction is issued on a pre-printed form order containing boilerplate language as set forth in U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10 and the sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Lagos v. United States

Whether 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(b)(4) covers costs that were “neither required nor requested” by the government, including costs incurred for the victim’s own purposes and unprompted by any official government action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Remedies

Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. R. Scott Appling

Whether a statement concerning a specific asset constitutes a "statement respecting the debtor's financial condition” within 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Lucia v. SEC

Whether the appointment of administrative law judges within the Securities and Exchange Commission must comport with the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Pereira v. Sessions

Whether, under the stop-time rule, a notice to appear ends a period of continued residence if the notice does not contain the time and place at which the proceedings will be held.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., et al.

Whether the Supreme Court should abrogate Quill Corp. v. North Dakota's sales-tax-only, physical-presence requirement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Washington v. United States et al.

(1) Whether the Northwest Indian tribes’ right by treaty to “tak[e] fish at the usual and accustomed grounds...in common with all citizens” guarantees that the tribes’ share of the take is “sufficient to provide a moderate living to the tribes”; (2) whether the State may assert equitable defenses in response to the Federal Government’s demand that the state replace hundreds of culverts whose design allegedly violates treaties between the United States and the tribes, when the United States previously mandated the current culvert design (3) whether the Ninth Circuit erred by granted in the United States’ injunction and declaratory relief thus requiring the State to replace hundreds of culverts when the United States showed no clear connection between the replacement of the culverts and an increased take at tribal fisheries.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

WesternGeco LLC, v. ION Geophysical Corp.

Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit erred in holding that lost profits arising from prohibited combinations occurring outside of the United States are categorically unavailable in cases in which patent infringement is proven under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States

Whether stocks that a railroad issues to employees are subject to taxation under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act, 26 U.S.C. § 3231(e)(1).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Trump v. Hawaii

Whether President Trump’s Proclamation No. 9645 discriminates on the basis of nationality, is an excessive use of Executive authority, and is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Weyerhaesur Co. v. Fish and Wildlife Service

Whether private land may be designated as “unoccupied critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act if the designated species does not inhabit the land, and the land is not essential to its conservation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

February 3 summaries

Madison v. Alabama

Whether, under the Eighth Amendment, a state may execute prisoner when the prisoner does not remember the capital offense for which he is to be executed due to cognitive impairments.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido

Whether, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the same “20-employee minimum” applicable to private companies also applies to “political subdivisions” of a state, regardless of size?

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira

Whether the Federal Arbitration Act’s (FAA) Section 1 exemption for transportation workers applies to contract workers, and whether the arbitrability of the Section 1 exemption is itself subject to arbitration through a valid delegation clause within the employment contract.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Arbitration

March 3 summaries

Gundy v. United States

Whether, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, Congress has unconstitutionally delegated its lawmaking power to the Attorney General, who pursuant to this act, may determine when SORNA applies to offenders convicted before its enactment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Knick v. Township of Scott

Whether the Supreme Court should reassess the rule set forth in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank which requires property owners to exhaust all state court remedies for land takings claims prior to bringing these claims in federal court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

Kelly v. Preap

Whether the mandatory detention provision of 18 U.S.C. § 1226(c) applies to an alien released from criminal custody where the Department of Homeland Security does not take the alien into custody immediately after their release.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

April 5 summaries

Stokeling v. United States

Whether a state robbery offense which requires a showing of overcoming "victim resistance" for conviction is a "violent felony" subject to Armed Career Criminal sentencing enhancements, if even slight force may satisfy the element of overcoming “victim resistance.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

United States v. Sims

Whether the generic definition of “burglary” under the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) includes the burglary of nonpermanent structures or vehicles in which have been adapted for overnight use.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Bucklew v. Precythe

(1) Whether, when evaluating a method of execution as-applied challenge, courts should assume that medical staff is competent to ensure an execution will go as planned despite an inmate’s rare and serious medical condition; (2) whether a court may look to the record and determine that a fact finder could conclude that proposed methods of execution are significantly different, or whether there must be a single witness to compare the risks of the State’s and inmate’s proposed methods of execution; (3) whether the Eighth Amendment requires that an inmate challenging a method of execution must prove that another available method will substantially reduce their risk of suffering due to unique medical conditions; and (4) whether Petitioner, in this case, met the burden established in Glossip v. Gross by proving the procedures to be used in his proposed method of execution, the severity of the pain likely to be produced, and how the procedure compares to the State’s method.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Frank v. Gaos

Whether, or in what circumstances, a cy pres award of class action proceeds that provides no direct relief to class members supports class certification and comports with the requirement that a settlement binding class members must be “fair, reasonable, and adequate” under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e)(2).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Remedies

Lamps Plus Inc. v. Varela

Whether the Federal Arbitration Act forecloses a state-law interpretation of an arbitration agreement that would authorize class arbitration based solely on general language commonly used in arbitration agreements

Area(s) of Law:
  • Arbitration

May 6 summaries

Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries

Whether products-liability defendants can be held liable under maritime law for injuries caused by products that they did not make, sell, or distribute.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Admiralty

BNSF Railway Company v. Loos

Whether a railroad’s payment to an employee for time lost from work is subject to employment taxes under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Workers Compensation

Culbertson v. Berryhill

Whether fees subject to 42 U. S. C. 406(b)’s 25-percent cap include, as the Sixth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits hold, only fees for representation in court or, as the Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits hold, also fees for representation before the agency.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Jam v. International Finance Corp.

Whether the International Organizations Immunities Act—which affords international organizations the “same immunity” from suit that foreign governments have, 22 U.S.C. § 288a(b)— confers the same immunity on such organizations as foreign governments have under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1602-11, and if not, what are the rules governing the immunity to which international organizations are entitled?

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sovereign Immunity

Terry Royal, Warden v. Patrick Dwayne Murphy

Whether the 1866 territorial boundaries of the Creek Nation within the former Indian Territory of eastern Oklahoma constitute an “Indian reservation” today under 18 U.S.C. § 1151(a).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Virginia Uranium Inc., v. Warren

Whether the AEA preempts a state law that on its face regulates an activity within its jurisdiction but has the purpose and effect of regulating the radiological safety hazards of activities entrusted to the NRC?

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

June 13 summaries

Apple, Inc. v. Pepper

Whether consumers may sue for antitrust damages anyone who delivers goods to them, even where they seek damages based on prices set by third parties who would be the immediate victims of the alleged offense.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Corporations

Garza v. Idaho

Whether the "presumption of prejudice" recognized in Roe v. Flores-Oretega applies where a criminal defendant instructs his trial counsel to file a notice of appeal but trial counsel decides not to do so because the defendant's plea agreement included an appeal waiver?

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

Lorenzo v. SEC

Whether an insufficient fraudulent statement claim can form the basis for fraudulent scheme claim under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5(b).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Business Law

Sturgeon v. Frost

Whether the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) prohibits the National Park Service (NPS) from exercising regulatory control over State, Native Corporation, and private land physically located within the boundaries of the National Park System in Alaska.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

Timbs v. Indiana

Whether the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause is incorporated against the States under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Biestek v. Commissioner of Social Security

Whether a vocational expert’s testimony can constitute substantial evidence of “other work” available to an applicant for social security benefits on the basis of a disability, when the expert fails upon the applicant’s request to provide the underlying data on which that testimony is premised.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Disability Law

Dawson v. Steager

Whether Supreme Court precedent and the doctrine of intergovernmental tax immunity bar states from exempting groups of state retirees from state income tax while discriminating against similarly situated federal retirees based on the source of their retirement income.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Helsinn Healthcare v. Teva Pharmaceuticals

Whether, under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, an inventor’s sale of an invention to a third party that is obligated to keep the invention confidential qualifies as prior art for purposes of determining the patentability of the invention.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer and White Sales, Inc.

Whether the Federal Arbitration Act permits a court to decline to enforce an agreement delegating questions of arbitrability to an arbitrator if the court concludes the claim of arbitrability is “wholly groundless.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Arbitration

Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert

Whether the Ninth Circuit erred by holding that equitable exceptions apply to mandatory claim-processing rules and excusing a party's failure to timely file a petition for permission to appeal, or a motion for reconsideration, within the Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(f) deadline.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Washington Dept. of Licensing v. Cougar Den, Inc.

Whether the Yakama Treaty of 1855 creates a right for tribal members to avoid state taxes on off-reservation commercial activities that make use of public highways.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Indian Law

Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation v. Wall-Street.com, LLC

Whether “registration of [a] copyright claim has been made” within the meaning of § 411(a) when the copyright holder delivers the required application, deposit, and fee to the Copyright Office, as the Fifth and Ninth Circuits have held, or only once the Copyright Office acts on that application, as the Tenth and, in the decision below, the Eleventh Circuit have held.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Franchise Tax Board of the State of California v. Gilbert P. Hyatt

Whether Nevada v. Hall, 440 U.S. 410 (1979), which permits a sovereign State to be haled into another State’s courts without its consent, should be overruled.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sovereign Immunity

July 0 summaries