Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court

( 23 summaries )

Opinions Filed in March 2012

Armour v. Indianapolis

Constitutional Law: Whether the City of Indianapolis violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by forgiving tax assessments to property owners who were paying in installments, while not offering refunds to property owners who paid in full.

(Filing Date: 03-29-2012)

FAA v. Cooper

Tort Law: The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. §552a(g)(4)(A), does not abrogate sovereign immunity for damages arising from emotional and mental distress.

(Filing Date: 03-28-2012)

Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services

Constitutional Law: (1) Whether Congress may make federal Medicaid funding contingent upon States providing expanded health care in order to coerce States into accepting conditions that Congress would be otherwise unable to impose directly; and (2) Whether the individual mandate that requires Americans to purchase health insurance, if deemed unconstitutional, may be severed from the rest of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

(Filing Date: 03-28-2012)

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius

Constitutional Law: Whether the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act must be invalidated because its mandate requiring individuals to obtain health insurance is non-severable from the remainder of the Act.

(Filing Date: 03-28-2012)

Setser v. United States

Sentencing: Federal district courts have discretion to order a federal sentence to run consecutively with a state sentence that has yet to be imposed.

(Filing Date: 03-28-2012)

Vartelas v. Holder

Immigration: Application of IIRIRA § 1101(a)(13)(C)(v) to convictions entered prior to the passage of IIRIRA imposes a new disability in respect to past events and violates the presumption against the retroactive application of laws in the absence of clear Congressional intent. Additionally, the immigration law in place at the time of conviction is the law that governs the impact of that conviction.

(Filing Date: 03-28-2012)

Credite Suisse Securities v. Simmonds

Civil Procedure: Because the usual rules of equitable tolling apply to §16 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the 2-year limitation for actions to recover for profit due to unfair use of information starts from the date the profit was realized and is not tolled until the filing of a §16(a) statement.

(Filing Date: 03-26-2012)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida

Constitutional Law: (1) Whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is beyond Congress’ powers under Article I because it includes a mandate that individuals must obtain health insurance or pay a monetary fine; and (2) Whether the Anti-Injunction Act, 26 U.S.C. §7421(a), bars suits by challengers to the Act.

(Filing Date: 03-26-2012)

Zivotofsky v. Clinton

Constitutional Law: The district court's determination of whether a Jerusalem-born US citizen may choose to have Israel listed as his place of birth on his passport is not barred by political question doctrine.

(Filing Date: 03-26-2012)

Lafler v. Cooper

Post-Conviction Relief: The Sixth Amendment's protections extend to plea bargains, and a full and fair trial does not remedy a pretrial violation, even where the trial itself was not prejudiced by the error.

(Filing Date: 03-21-2012)

Missouri v. Frye

Post-Conviction Relief: The right to effective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment extends to the consideration of plea offers that lapse because counsel did not inform the defendant of the plea.

(Filing Date: 03-21-2012)

Reichle v. Howards

Criminal Procedure: (1): Whether the existence of probable cause to make an arrest bars a First Amendment retaliatory arrest claim; and (2): Whether Secret Service agents should receive qualified and absolute immunity when making split second decisions while protecting the Vice President or the President.

(Filing Date: 03-21-2012)

Sackett v. EPA

Administrative Law: An individual may file suit under the Administrative Procedure Act to challenge a compliance order issued by the EPA under the Clean Water Act because the compliance order is a final agency action and the Clean Water Act does not preclude judicial review.

(Filing Date: 03-21-2012)

Vasquez v. United States

Evidence: Whether the Court of Appeals applied the correct standard for harmless error review, and whether the standard applied by the Seventh Circuit violated Petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.

(Filing Date: 03-21-2012)

Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland et al.

Constitutional Law: Congress' abrogation of state sovereign immunity in FMLA’s “self-care” provision is unconstitutional because it lacks congruence and proportionality to the harm it seeks to remedy.

(Filing Date: 03-20-2012)

Martinez v. Ryan

Habeas Corpus: A federal habeas court may excuse a procedural default of an ineffective-assistance of counsel claim when the claim was not properly presented in state court due to an attorney’s errors in an initial-review collateral proceeding.

(Filing Date: 03-20-2012)

Mayo v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc

Patents: One must do more than simply describe a multi-step application of an unpatentable law of nature to transform it into a patent-eligible application of such a law.

(Filing Date: 03-20-2012)

Miller v. Alabama

Criminal Law: Whether a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole violates the Eight and Fourteenth Amendments when the defendant was fourteen years old at the time of the crime.

(Filing Date: 03-20-2012)

Roberts v. Sea-Land Services, Inc.

Workers Compensation: Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, an injured employee's compensation benefits are determined by the date of injury and not the date an award is issued.

(Filing Date: 03-20-2012)

Southern Union Co. v. U.S.

Sentencing: Whether the Apprendi requirement that any facts which increase criminal penalties beyond the prescribed statutory maximum are to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt and submitted to a jury applies to criminal fines.

(Filing Date: 03-19-2012)

Astrue v. Capato

Administrative Law: Whether a child conceived after a biological parent's death is eligible for Social Security survivor benefits.

(Filing Date: 03-18-2012)

Jackson v. Hobbs

Criminal Law: Whether sentencing a fourteen-year-old convicted of aggravated murder to life imprisonment without possibility of parole constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

(Filing Date: 03-18-2012)

Martel v. Clair

Habeas Corpus: Motions to replace counsel in capital habeas petitions are to be judged by the same "interest of justice" standard as non-capital cases.

(Filing Date: 03-05-2012)