SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 15th – UPDATED

June is SCOTUS Decision month, when legal geeks look to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this session before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer. The calendar calls for orders and decisions to be released every Monday at 10:00am but history has shown that additional “decision days” are often added as the month unfolds.

This week, the decision days will be Monday and Thursday.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.

 
All eyes turn to the court

UPDATE: Decisions on three cases: Kerry v Din, Baker Botts v ASARCO, and Maya v Lynch

Back on Thursday! There are 17 cases left to rule on this term.

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for orders and opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:30am Eastern. The Thursday liveblog will begin at 9:30am Eastern with opinions at 10:00am.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
– The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges (6th Circuit ruled in favor of the state bans)
– The Affordable Care Act state exchange case, King v Burwell (4th Circuit ruled in favor of Burwell)
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the district court upheld the redistricting, legislature appealed directly to Supreme Court)
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross (Oklahoma wants to change its drug protocol, 10th Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs and for the state)
– Some other First Amendment cases:
– The Confederate license plate case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (5th Circuit ruled against state, state appealed)
– A signage case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona (9th Circuit ruled that the restrictions were reasonable, Reed appealed)
– An assault on the Fair Housing Act, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (The 5th Circuit ruled against the state agency’s application of the Fair Housing Act)
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (The states are appealing a ruling upholding EPA rule making procedures)
– A 4th Amendment case involving hotel guest registries, The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel (city is appealing 9th Circuit ruling that the registries do not need to be turned over)

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.

Update from USA Today on the remaining cases: Supreme Court races the clock on gay marriage, Obamacare and more

WASHINGTON — The future of same-sex marriage and President Obama’s health care law hang in the balance as the Supreme Court’s 2014 term draws rapidly to a close this month. But those aren’t the only big issues on the justices’ plate.

Free speech and fair elections. Religious liberty and racial discrimination. Clean air and capital punishment. All await rulings over the next three weeks as the court completes action on 20 cases remaining this term. The next decisions will come Monday morning.

Analysis from Al Jazeera: Supreme Court to decide on 13 cases over next few weeks

June is the final month of the Supreme Court’s annual term before the summer recess begins. Over the next few weeks, the Court will make decisions on 13 major cases. Among the issues up for debate are same-sex marriage, the Affordable Care Act, and religious freedom.

From SCOTUSblog: October 2014 Term cases pending (oldest cases first)

Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona, No. 13-502 [Arg: 1.12.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): Whether the Town of Gilbert’s mere assertion that its sign code lacks a discriminatory motive renders its facially content-based sign code content-neutral and justifies the code’s differential treatment of petitioners’ religious signs.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, No. 13-1371 [Arg: 1.21.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): Whether disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act.

Kerry v. Din, No. 13-1402 [Arg: 2.23.2015 Trans./Aud.] Issue(s): (1) Whether a consular officer’s refusal of a visa to a U.S. citizen’s alien spouse impinges upon a constitutionally protected interest of the citizen; and (2) whether respondent is entitled to challenge in court the refusal of a visa to her husband and to require the government, in order to sustain the refusal, to identify a specific statutory provision rendering him inadmissible and to allege what it believes he did that would render him ineligible for a visa.

Baker Botts, L.L.P. v. ASARCO, L.L.C., No. 14-103 [Arg: 2.25.2015 Trans./Aud.] Issue(s): Whether Section 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code grants bankruptcy judges discretion to award compensation for the defense of a fee application.

Ohio v. Clark, No. 13-1352 [Arg: 3.2.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether an individual’s obligation to report suspected child abuse makes that individual an agent of law enforcement for purposes of the Confrontation Clause; and (2) whether a child’s out-of-court statements to a teacher in response to the teacher’s concerns about potential child abuse qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Confrontation Clause.

Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, No. 13-1314 [Arg: 3.2.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution and 2 U. S. C. § 2a(c) permit Arizona’s use of a commission to adopt congressional districts; and (2) whether the Arizona Legislature has standing to bring this suit.

City of Los Angeles v. Patel, No. 13-1175 [Arg: 3.3.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether facial challenges to ordinances and statutes are permitted under the Fourth Amendment; and (2) whether a hotel has an expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment in a hotel guest registry where the guest-supplied information is mandated by law and an ordinance authorizes the police to inspect the registry, and if so, whether the ordinance is facially unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment unless it expressly provides for pre-compliance judicial review before the police can inspect the registry.

Davis v. Ayala, No. 13-1428 [Arg: 3.3.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): Whether a state court’s rejection of a claim of federal constitutional error on the ground that any error, if one occurred, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt is an “adjudicat[ion] on the merits” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), so that a federal court may set aside the resulting final state conviction only if the defendant can satisfy the restrictive standards imposed by that provision; and (2) whether the court of appeals properly applied the standard articulated in Brecht v. Abrahamson.

King v. Burwell, No. 14-114 [Arg: 3.4.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): Whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, No. 14-144 [Arg: 3.23.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether the messages and images that appear on state-issued specialty license plates qualify as government speech immune from any requirement of viewpoint neutrality; and (2) whether Texas engaged in “viewpoint discrimination” by rejecting the license-plate design proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, when Texas has not issued any license plate that portrays the confederacy or the confederate battle flag in a negative or critical light.

Bank of America, N.A. v. Toledo-Cardona, No. 14-163 [Arg: 3.24.2015]

Issue(s): Whether, under Section 506(d) of the Bankruptcy Code, which provides that “[t]o the extent that a lien secures a claim against the debtor that is not an allowed secured claim, such lien is void,” a Chapter 7 debtor may “strip off” a junior mortgage lien in its entirety when the outstanding debt owed to a senior lienholder exceeds the current value of the collateral.

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-47 [Arg: 3.25.2015 Trans.]

Issue(s): Whether the Environmental Protection Agency unreasonably refused to consider costs in determining whether it is appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities.

Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-46 [Arg: 3.25.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): Whether the Environmental Protection Agency unreasonably refused to consider costs in determining whether it is appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities.

National Mining Association v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-49 [Arg: 3.25.2015 Trans.]

Issue(s): Whether the Environmental Protection Agency unreasonably refused to consider costs in determining whether it is appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities.

Brumfield v. Cain, No. 13-1433 [Arg: 3.30.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether a state court that considers the evidence presented at a petitioner’s penalty phase proceeding as determinative of the petitioner’s claim of mental retardation under Atkins v. Virginia has based its decision on an unreasonable determination of facts under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2); and (2) whether a state court that denies funding to an indigent petitioner who has no other means of obtaining evidence of his mental retardation has denied petitioner his “opportunity to be heard,” contrary to Atkins and Ford v. Wainwright and his constitutional right to be provided with the “basic tools” for an adequate defense, contrary to Ake v. Oklahoma.

Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, No. 13-720 [Arg: 3.31.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): 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.” CVSG: 10/30/2014.

Johnson v. U.S., No. 13-7120 [Arg: 4.20.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether mere possession of a short-barreled shotgun should be treated as a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act. (2) Whether the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act is unconstitutionally vague.

McFadden v. U.S., No. 14-378 [Arg: 4.21.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): Whether, to convict a defendant of distribution of a controlled substance analogue – a substance with a chemical structure that is “substantially similar” to a schedule I or II drug and has a “substantially similar” effect on the user (or is believed or represented by the defendant to have such a similar effect) – the government must prove that the defendant knew that the substance constituted a controlled substance analogue, as held by the Second, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits, but rejected by the Fourth and Fifth Circuits.

Horne v. Department of Agriculture, No. 14-275 [Arg: 4.22.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether the government’s “categorical duty” under the Fifth Amendment to pay just compensation when it “physically takes possession of an interest in property,” Arkansas Game & Fish Comm’n v. United States, applies only to real property and not to personal property; (2) whether the government may avoid the categorical duty to pay just compensation for a physical taking of property by reserving to the property owner a contingent interest in a portion of the value of the property, set at the government’s discretion; and (3) whether a governmental mandate to relinquish specific, identifiable property as a “condition” on permission to engage in commerce effects a per se taking.

Kingsley v. Hendrickson, No. 14-6368 [Arg: 4.27.2015 Trans.]

Issue(s): Whether the requirements of a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 excessive force claim brought by a plaintiff who was a pretrial detainee at the time of the incident are satisfied by a showing that the state actor deliberately used force against the pretrial detainee and the use of force was objectively unreasonable.

DeBoer v. Snyder, No. 14-571 [Arg: 4.28.2015]

Issue(s): 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

Tanco v. Haslam, No. 14-562 [Arg: 4.28.2015]

Issue(s): 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

Obergefell v. Hodges, No. 14-556 [Arg: 4.28.2015 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

Bourke v. Beshear, No. 14-574 [Arg: 4.28.2015]

Issue(s): 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

Glossip v. Gross, No. 14-7955 [Arg: 4.29.2015 Trans.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether it is constitutionally permissible for a state to carry out an execution using a three-drug protocol where (a) there is a well-established scientific consensus that the first drug has no pain relieving properties and cannot reliably produce deep, coma-like unconsciousness, and (b) it is undisputed that there is a substantial, constitutionally unacceptable risk of pain and suffering from the administration of the second and third drugs when a prisoner is conscious; (2) whether the plurality stay standard of Baze v. Rees applies when states are not using a protocol substantially similar to the one that this Court considered in Baze; and (3) whether a prisoner must establish the availability of an alternative drug formula even if the state’s lethal-injection protocol, as properly administered, will violate the Eighth Amendment.

Mata v. Lynch, No. 14-185 [Arg: 4.29.2015 Trans.] Issue(s): Whether the Fifth Circuit erred in this case in holding that it has no jurisdiction to review petitioner’s request that the Board of Immigration Appeals equitably toll the ninety-day deadline on his motion to reopen as a result of ineffective assistance of counsel under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(c)(2).

2+

  10 comments for “SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 15th – UPDATED

  1. JanF
    June 15, 2015 at 5:19 am

    #waitingforLyle

    The number of boxes brought into the press area is the first indication of how many decisions there are. A box can contain usually 1 to 3 decisions. More boxes mean more decisions.

    1+
  2. JanF
    June 15, 2015 at 5:35 am

    The first order of business is … orders! The justices are deciding which cases they will hear in the session that starts in October.

    It is likely that the court will take up another abortion case since there are several that are ripe for review. One of these days SCOTUS will have to rule on the TRAP laws that bloomed like weeds after the ALEC-fueled state legislatures came to power in 2011. Casey allowed for state restrictions as long as they do not pose an “undue burden” … I think “not being able to find a clinic in your state” might be an undue burden. From MSNBC:

    As early as Monday, but certainly within the next few weeks, the Supreme Court will announce whether it is taking one or more abortion case. Depending on how the court moves forward, it’s no exaggeration to say the legal abortion access of millions of American women hangs in the balance. If the court does choose to take up the issue, an opinion would come down mere months before the 2016 presidential election.

    The ultimate question is how far swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has previously declined to overturn the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, is willing to let anti-abortion state governments go in restricting women’s access. […]

    The ideal scenario for abortion access is that the court declines to take both the Mississippi and North Carolina cases, said Julie Rikelman, litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is involved in all three cases. “We won both of the cases, and they’re both good decisions,” she said. […]

    Abortion rights advocates have been reluctant to test Kennedy, but it’s clear they feel things have gone too far. “What we have now is not criminal prohibitions,” said Melissa Murray, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, at the American Constitution Society panel. “Instead, we have a web of laws that together have the force of a criminal prohibition.

    Kennedy, along with whichever four justices he decides to join, will have an opportunity to clarify once and for all what an “undue burden” means. “We want them to confirm that the undue burden standard is a meaningful standard, with teeth, that the lower courts have misapplied,” Rikelman said. “That you can’t restrict abortion on a pretext; that you can’t relegate women to second-class status through abortion restrictions; and that closing down clinics in a state for no medical reason is an undue burden.”

    A stay has been requested in the Texas ruling which shut down all but a handful of clinics in that state. A ruling on that is expected by July 1st.

    1+
  3. JanF
    June 15, 2015 at 9:47 am

    From orders:

    They did not act on either Fisher v. UT Austin or Currier v. Jackson Health, the Mississippi abortion case.
    by Amy Howe 8:31 AM

    There is a denial in the NC abortion ultrasound case.
    by Amy Howe 8:33 AM

    The North Carolina case was a win for us: the court declared that forcing a doctor to show a patient an ultrasound is “compelled speech” and violates the first amendment. From Walker-McGill v Stuart:

    At issue here is a North Carolina statute that requires physicians to perform an ultrasound, display the sonogram, and describe the fetus to women seeking abortions. A physician must display and describe the image during the ultrasound, even if the woman actively “avert[s] her eyes” and “refus[es] to hear.” N.C. Gen. Stat. §90 – 21.85(b). This compelled speech, even though it is a regulation of the medical profession, is ideological in intent and in kind. The means used by North Carolina extend well beyond those states have customarily employed to effectuate their undeniable interests in ensuring informed consent and in protecting the sanctity of life in all its phases. We thus affirm the district court’s holding that this compelled speech provision violates the First Amendment.

    That ruling stands.

    2+
  4. JanF
    June 15, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Two boxes … probably four cases.

    1+
    • JanF
      June 15, 2015 at 10:06 am

      From the liveblog. Details will be posted when they become available:

      Mata v. Lynch. Opinion by Justice Kagan. Fifth Circuit is reversed.
      by Amy Howe 9:02 AM

      The vote is 8-1. Justice Thomas dissents.

      This is an immigration case.
      by Amy Howe 9:02 AM

      Heard at the end of April:

      Mata v. Lynch, No. 14-185 [Arg: 4.29.2015 Trans.]

      Issue(s): Whether the Fifth Circuit erred in this case in holding that it has no jurisdiction to review petitioner’s request that the Board of Immigration Appeals equitably toll the ninety-day deadline on his motion to reopen as a result of ineffective assistance of counsel under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(c)(2).

      2+
    • JanF
      June 15, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Baker Botts v. ASARCO.
      The decision of the Fifth Circuit is affirmed.
      by Amy Howe 9:05 AM

      Justice Thomas writes for the Court. The decision is by a vote of 6 to 3.
      by Amy Howe 9:05 AM

      Justice Sotomayor concurs in part and in the judgment; Breyer dissents, joined by RBG and Kagan.
      by Amy Howe 9:05 AM

      The holding is that the provision of the Bankruptcy Code at issue does not permit bankruptcy courts to award fees to professionals for defending fee applications.
      by Amy Howe 9:06 AM

      Heard on 2/25:

      Baker Botts, L.L.P. v. ASARCO, L.L.C., No. 14-103 [Arg: 2.25.2015 Trans./Aud.]

      Issue(s): Whether Section 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code grants bankruptcy judges discretion to award compensation for the defense of a fee application.

      1+
    • JanF
      June 15, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Third and final case:

      It is Kerry v. Din. The Court’s judgment is by Scalia; joined by the Chief and Thomas.
      by Amy Howe 9:08 AM

      Kennedy concurs in the judgment, joined by Alito.
      by Amy Howe 9:08 AM

      Vote is 5-4. Breyer dissents, joined by Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan.
      by Amy Howe 9:08 AM

      This is a case in which a U.S. citizen had challenged the denial of a visa to her non-citizen spouse. So there is a majority for vacating the Ninth Circuit’s decision.
      by Amy Howe 9:11 AM

      Heard on 2/23:

      Kerry v. Din, No. 13-1402 [Arg: 2.23.2015 Trans./Aud.]

      Issue(s): (1) Whether a consular officer’s refusal of a visa to a U.S. citizen’s alien spouse impinges upon a constitutionally protected interest of the citizen; and (2) whether respondent is entitled to challenge in court the refusal of a visa to her husband and to require the government, in order to sustain the refusal, to identify a specific statutory provision rendering him inadmissible and to allege what it believes he did that would render him ineligible for a visa.

      0
  5. Onomastic
    June 15, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Thanks so much for this, Jan.

    2+
    • JanF
      June 15, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Thanks for visiting, Ono!!

      1+
  6. JanF
    June 17, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Amy Howe’s summary from Monday’s court day:

    In Kerry v. Din, a majority of the Court vacated the lower court’s ruling that a U.S. citizen whose spouse’s application for a visa was denied has a right to judicial review of the denial. […]

    In Reyes Mata v. Lynch, the Court ruled that a lower court erred when it held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider an immigrant’s appeal of the denial of his untimely motion to reopen his removal proceedings. […]

    The Court also issued its decision in Baker Botts v. ASARCO, holding that Section 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code does not allow courts to award attorney’s fees for fee applications.

    More information and additional commentary at the link.

    0

Comments are closed.