US Supreme Court Docket

Supreme Court Docket

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January 2006
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Monday, January 8 Douglas B. Moylan, Attorney General of Guam v. Felix P. Camacho, Governor of Guam
No. 06-116

Subject:

    Guam Organic Act, Aggregate Tax Valuation, Assessments, Tolling, Certiorari, Civil Procedure, Tax Law
Question:
  • Whether the Supreme Court of Guam erred in interpreting the phrase aggregate tax valuation in the Guam Organic Acts debt-limitation provision, 48 U.S.C. 1423a (emphasis added), as tying the limit on borrowing by the Guam territorial government to the full value of property on Guam rather than to the assessed value used for purposes of taxation.

  • Whether the time for filing a petition for writ of certiorari from this Court was tolled while a petition for writ of certiorari or writ of certiorari with respect to the same judgment was pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Decisions:

Resources:

Briefs:

    Parties
    Merits Phase

    Coming Soon
Counsel of Record

For Petitioner Moylan, Attorney General of Guam:

Seth P. Waxman
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP
Washington, DC
For Respondent Felix P. Camacho, Governor of Guam:
Arthur B. Clark
Tamuning, GU



United Haulers Association, Inc., et al. v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, et al.
No. 05-1345

Subject:

    Commerce Clause, Interstate Commerce, Solid Waste, Flow-Control Ordinance, Preferred Processing Facility
Question:
    The Court held in C & A Carbone, Inc. v. Town of Clarkstown, 511 U.S. 383, 386 (1994), that a so-called flow control ordinance, which require[d] all solid waste to be processed at a designated transfer station before leaving the municipality, discriminated against interstate commerce and was invalid under the Commerce Clause because it depriv[ed] competitors, including out-of-state firms, of access to a local market. This case presents two questions, the first of which is the subject of an acknowledged circuit conflict:

  1. Whether the virtually per se prohibition against hoard[ing] solid waste (Id. at 392) recognized in Carbone is inapplicable when the preferred processing facility (ibid.) is owned by a public entity

  2. Whether a flow-control ordinance that requires delivery of all solid waste to a publicly owned local facility and thus prohibits its exportation imposes so insubstantial a burden on interstate commerce that the provision satisfies the Commerce Clause if it serves even a minimal local benefit.
Decisions:

Resources:


Briefs:

    Parties
    Merits Phase

    Coming Soon
Counsel of Record

For Petitioners United Haulers Association, Inc., et al..:

Evan Mark Tager
Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP
Washington, DC
For Respondents Oneida-Herkimer etc., et al.:
Michael J. Cahill
Germano & Cahill, P.C.
Holbrook, NY


Tuesday, January 9

Sinochem International Co., Ltd. v. Malaysia International Shipping Corporation
No. 06-102

Subject:

    Jurisdiction, Personal Jurisdiction, Forum Non Conveniens, Civil Procedure
Questions:
    A divided panel of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a district court must first conclusively determine if it has personal jurisdiction over the defendant before it may dismiss the suit on the ground of forum non conveniens. The court acknowledged that its holding was inconsistent with the interests of judicial economy, recognized that its decision in the case deepened an-already existing 2-4 split among the circuits, and invited this Courts review.

    The question presented is:

    Whether a district court must first conclusively establish jurisdiction before dismissing a suit on the ground of forum non conveniens?

Decisions:

Resources:


Briefs:

    Parties
    Merits Phase

    Coming Soon
Counsel of Record

For Petitioner Sinochem Int'l:

Gregory A. Castanias
Jones Day
Washington, DC
For Petitioner Malaysia Int'l Shipping Corp.:
Kevin L. McGee
Rawle & Henderson LLP
Philadelphia, PA


Dora B. Schriro, Director, Arizona Department of Corrections v. Jeffrey Timothy Landrigan, aka Billy Patrick Wayne Hill
No. 05-1575

Subject:

    Capital Cases, Capital Sentencing, Mitigation, Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Question:
    Respondent Jeffrey Landrigan actively thwarted his attorneys efforts to develop and present mitigation evidence in his capital sentencing proceeding. Landrigan told the trial judge that he did not want his attorney to present any mitigation evidence, including proposed testimony from witnesses whom his attorney had subpoenaed to testify. On post-conviction review, the state court rejected as frivolous an ineffective assistance of counsel claim in which Landrigan asserted that if counsel had raised the issue of Landrigans alleged genetic predisposition to violence, he would have cooperated in presenting that type of mitigating evidence.

  1. In light of the highly deferential standard of review required in this case pursuant to the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), did the Ninth Circuit err by holding that the state court unreasonably determined the facts when it found that Landrigan instructed his attorney not to present any mitigating evidence at the sentencing hearing?

  2. Did the Ninth Circuit err by finding that the state courts analysis of Landrigans ineffective assistance of counsel claim was objectively unreasonable under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), notwithstanding the absence of any contrary authority from this Court in cases in which (a) the defendant waives presentation of mitigation and impedes counsels attempts to do so, or (b) the evidence the defendant subsequently claims should have been presented is not mitigating?
Decisions:

Resources:


Briefs:

    Parties
    Merits Phase

    Coming Soon

Counsel of Record

For Petitioner Dora B. Schriro:

Kent E. Cattani
Office of the Attorney General
Capital Litigation Section
Phoenix, AZ
For Respondent Landrigan:
Dale A. Baich
Office of the Federal Public Defender
Capital Habeas Unit
Phoenix, AZ



Wednesday, January 10

Zuni Public School District No. 89, et al. v. Department of Education, et al.
No. 05-1508

Subject:

    Federal Impact Aid Program, Federally Impacted Districts, School Districts, Indian Reservations, Federal Lands, Equalization
Questions:

    The Federal Impact Aid Program, 20 U.S.C. 7709, was enacted to subsidize local State school districts which have a federal presence within the district such as military bases or, as in the present case, Indian Reservations. These local districts are not able to tax such federally impacted lands. The Impact Aid Program prohibits the State from counting these federal subsidies as part of an impacted districts budget when the State allocates operational funds to the local districts, unless the States operational funding to districts throughout the State is equalized under an equalization formula under the Impact Aid Program. If the States operational funding is determined to be equalized, the State can reduce operational funding to an impacted district by the amount of the Impact Aid subsidy.

    In 1994, the equalization formula was statutorily created and effectively repealed the equalization formula previously created by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education by regulation. However, in 1996, the Secretary, by regulation, reinstated his repealed and conflicting equalization formula and refuses to follow Congress equalization formula. Under Congress formula, New Mexico is not equalized and the intended beneficiaries receive the Impact Aid. Under the Secretarys formula, New Mexico is deemed equalized and the Impact Aid is taken from the impacted districts. The impacted districts are losing approximately $50,000,000 per year in Impact Aid. The Tenth Circuit was split 6 to 6 on the question, leaving the Secretarys formula in effect.

    The question presented is:

  1. Whether the Secretary has the authority to create and impose his formula over the one prescribed by Congress and through this process certify New Mexicos operational funding for fiscal year 1999- 2000 as equalized, thereby diverting the Impact Aid subsidies to the State and whether this is one of the rare cases where this Court should exercise its supervisory jurisdiction to correct a plain error that affects all State school districts that educate federally connected children.
Decisions:

Resources:


Briefs:

    Parties
    Merits Phase

    Coming Soon

Counsel of Record

For Petitioner Zuni Public School District:

Ronald J. VanAmberg
Santa Fe, NM
For Respondent New Mexico Pub. Educ. Dep't:
Leigh Marc Manasevit
Brustein & Manasevit
Washington, DC
For Respondent Dep't of Educ. :
Paul D. Clement
U.S. Solicitor General
Washington, DC



Gary Davenport, et al. v. Washington Education Association
No. 05-1589

Washington v. Washington Education Association
No. 05-1657

Subject:

    Unions, First Amendment, Wages, Campaign Finance Laws, Nonmember Wage Seizure, Labor Law
Questions:
  1. Do labor union officials have a First Amendment right to seize and use for politics the wages of employees who have chosen not to become union members?

  2. Does a state campaign finance law that prohibits labor unions and their officials from seizing and using the wages of nonmembers for partisan political campaigns without obtaining the nonmembers affirmative consent violate the First Amendment rights of labor unions?
Decisions:

Resources:


Briefs:
  • [Coming Soon]
Counsel of Record

For Petitioner Davenport:

Milton L. Chappell
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.
Springfield, VA
For Respondent Washington Educ. Ass'n:
John M. West
Bredhoff & Kaiser, P.L.L.C.
Washington, DC



Tuesday, January 16

Safeco Insurance Company of America, et al. v. Charles Burr, et al.
No. 06-84

GEICO General Insurance Company, et al. v. Ajene Edo
No. 06-100

Subject:

    Fair Credit Reporting Act, Willful Violation, Mens Rea, Consumer Credit, Adverse Action
Questions:
    In 06-100:

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA or the Act) requires a user of consumer credit information to notify a consumer when the consumer has been treated adversely on the basis of his or her credit information. To enforce this requirement, Congress provided two tiers of civil remedies. Under 1681o of the Act, if a consumer shows that a users failure to send an adverse-action notice was negligent, the consumer is entitled to recover actual damages. But under 1681n of the Act, if the consumer makes a higher showing and proves that the users failure to send an adverse-action notice was willful, the consumer is entitled to recover statutory damages between $100 and $1,000 (in lieu of actual damages) and punitive damages.

    A conflict exists between the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits, and the Third and (now) Ninth Circuits over the mens rea required for a willful violation of FCRA. Separating itself from any other circuit to have decided the issue and compounding the circuit split, the Ninth Circuit held that a company may be deemed to have acted recklesslyand thereby willfully under the Actif the company relied, even in good faith, upon an interpretation of the Act that a court later determines to be unreasonable [], implausible, creative, or untenable, even if that interpretation was derived from a legal opinion that the company sought for the very purpose of ensuring compliance with the law.

    Two questions are presented:

  1. Whether the Ninth Circuits construction of willfully under 1681n of FCRA impermissibly permits a finding of willfulness to be based upon nothing more than negligence, gross negligence, or a completely good-faith but incorrect interpretation of the law, and upon conduct that is objectively reasonable as a matter of law, rather than requiring proof of a defendants knowledge that its conduct violated FCRA or, at a minimum, recklessness in its subjective form?

  2. Whether the Ninth Circuit improperly expanded 1681m of FCRA by holding that an adverse action has occurred and notice is required thereunder, even when a consumers credit information has had either no impact or a favorable impact on the rates and terms of the insurance that would otherwise have been offered or provided?
    In 06-84:

    Whether the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that a defendant can be found liable for a willful violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) upon a finding of reckless disregard for FCRAs requirements, in conflict with the unanimous holdings of other circuits that willfulness requires actual knowledge that the defendants conduct violates FCRA.
Decisions:

Resources:


Briefs:
  • [Coming Soon]
Counsel of Record

For Petitioners Safeco, et al.:

Michael K. Kellogg
Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd,
Evans & Figel, P.L.L.C.

Washington, DC
For Respondents Burr, et al.:
Scott A. Shorr
Stoll Stoll Berne Lokting & Schlachter PC
Portland, OR



Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
No. 05-1429

Subject:

    Attorney's Fees, Contracts, Bankruptcy Law
Question:
    Petitioner and Respondent entered into a contract that included a provision that Petitioner is entitled to recover its attorneys fees incurred in connection with the enforcement, protection, or litigation of its contractual and legal rights. Petitioner incurred attorneys fees litigating its rights during the course of Respondents bankruptcy case and sought to recover them from Respondent. Adhering to its prior decision in Fobian v. Western Farm Credit Bank (In re Fobian), 951 F.2d 1149 (9th Cir. 1991), the Ninth Circuit held that Petitioner could not recover its attorneys fees because the relevant litigation in the bankruptcy court involved issues of federal bankruptcy law. The court reasoned that, as a matter of general federal common law, a party may not recover its attorneys fees pursuant to a contract or state statute where the issues litigated involve matters of federal law because only federal law may authorize such a recovery. The question presented is:

    Should the Court grant certiorari to resolve a conflict among nine courts of appeals concerning whether a litigant may recover attorneys fees under a contract or state statute where the issues litigated involve matters of federal bankruptcy law?
Decisions:

Resources:


Briefs:

    Parties
    Merits Phase

    Coming Soon

Counsel of Record

For Petitioner Travelers Cas. & Surety Co.:

G. Eric Brunstad Jr.
Bingham McCutchen, LLP
Hartford, CT
For Respondent PG&E:
Gary M. Kaplan
Howard Rice Nemerowski Canady Falk & Rabkin
San Francisco, CA



Wednesday, January 17

Jalil Abdul-Kabir, fka Ted Calvin Cole v. Nathaniel Quarterman, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division
No. 05-11284

Brent Ray Brewer v. Nathaniel Quarterman, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division
No. 05-11287

Subject:

    Capital Sentencing, Death Penalty, Jury Instructions, Penry v. Johnson, Mental Disorders, Mitigation, Mitigating Evidence
Questions:
  1. Do the former Texas special issue capital sentencing jury instructions which permit jurors to register only a yes or no answer to two questions, inquiring whether the defendant killed deliberately and probably would constitute a continuing threat to society permit constitutionally adequate consideration of mitigating evidence about a defendants mental impairment and childhood mistreatment and deprivation, in light of this Courts emphatic statement in Smith v. Texas, 543 U.S. 37, 48 (2004), that those same two questions had little, if anything, to do with Smiths evidence of mental impairment and childhood mistreatment)?

  2. Do this Courts recent opinions in Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782 (2001) (Penry II) and Smith, both of which require instructions that permit jurors to give full consideration and full effect to a defendants mitigating evidence in choosing the appropriate sentence, preclude the Fifth Circuit from adhering to its prior decisions antedating Penry II and Smith that reject Penry error whenever the former special issues might have afforded some indirect consideration of the defendants mitigating evidence?

  3. Has the Fifth Circuit, in insisting that a defendant show as a predicate to relief under Penry that he suffers from a mental disorder that is severe, permanent or untreatable, simply resurrected the threshold test for constitutional relevance that this Court emphatically rejected in Tennard v. Dretke, 542 U.S. 274 (2004)?

  4. Where the prosecution, as it did here, repeatedly implores jurors to follow the law and do their duty by answering the former Texas special issues on their own terms and abjuring any attempt to use their answers to effect an appropriate sentence, is it reasonably likely that jurors applied their instructions in a way that prevented them from fully considering and giving effect to the defendants mitigating evidence?
Decisions:

Resources:


Briefs:

    Parties
    Merits Phase

    Coming Soon

Counsel of Record

For Petitioners Abdul-Kabir and Brewer:

Robert C. Owen
Owen & Rountree, L.L.P.
Austin, TX
For Respondent Quarterman:
Edward L. Marshall
Office of the Attorney General of Texas
Austin, TX



LaRoyce Lathair Smith v. Texas
No. 05-11304

Subject:

    Capital Sentencing, Death Penalty, Penry v. Johnson, Mitigation, Mitigating Evidence
Question:
  1. In Smith v. Texas, 543 U.S. 37 (2004), this Court summarily reversed the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and found constitutional error under Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S.302 (1989) (Penry I), and Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782 (2001) (Penry II). Is it consistent with this Courts remand in this case for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to deem the error in petitioners case harmless based on its view that jurors were in fact able to give adequate consideration and effect to petitioners mitigating evidence notwithstanding this Courts conclusion to the contrary?

  2. Can the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, based on a procedural determination that it declined to adopt in its original decision that this Court then summarily reversed, impose on remand a daunting standard of harm (egregious harm) to the constitutional violation found by this Court?
Decisions:

Resources:


Briefs:

    Parties
    Merits Phase

    Coming Soon

Counsel of Record

For Petitioner Smith:

Jordan Steiker
Austin, TX
For Respondent Texas :
R. Ted Cruz
Solicitor General
Office of the Attorney General
Austin, TX



 

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