Displaying episodes 31 - 60 of 164 in total

Case: 18-1109 McKinney v. Arizona (2019-DEC-11)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the Arizona Supreme Court was required to apply current law when weighing mitigating and aggravating evidence to determine whether a death sentence is warranted.  Whether the correction of error under Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104 (1982), requires resentencing --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-1086 Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. v. Marcel Fashions Group, Inc. (2020-JAN-13)

QUESTION PRESENTED: In serial litigation between two parties, time­ tested principles of claim preclusion and issue preclusion govern when parties may ­and may not­ litigate issues that were, or could have been, litigated in a prior case. This Court has held that, in a subsequent case between the same parties involving different claims from those litigated in the earlier case, the defendant is free to raise defenses that were not litigated in the earlier case, even though they could have been. The Federal Circuit, Eleventh Circuit, and Ninth Circuit have all held the same in recent years. Their reasoning is straightforward: Claim preclusion does not bar such defenses, because the claims in the second case arise from different transactions and occurrences from the first case, and issue preclusion does not bar them either, because they were never actually litigated. The Second Circuit, however, has now held the opposite. Under the Second Circuit's "defense preclusion" rule, defendants are barred from raising such defenses even if the plaintiff’s claims are distinct from those asserted in the prior case and the defenses were never actually litigated. The question presented is:  Whether, when a plaintiff asserts new claims, federal preclusion principles can bar a defendant from raising defenses that were not actually litigated and resolved in any prior case between the parties. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 17-1712 Thole v. U. S. Bank, N. A. (2020-JAN-13)

QUESTION PRESENTED: This case presents two independent, substantial legal issues that have divided the courts of appeals regarding when an ERISA plan participant may invoke the remedies Congress explicitly authorized to police fiduciary misconduct and protect federally guaranteed benefits.  Petitioners are participants in a pension plan managed by respondents. After respondents' fiduciary breaches caused $750 million in losses to the plan, petitioners sued, seeking injunctive relief under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(3) and restoration of the plan's losses under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(2). The Eighth Circuit affirmed dismissal of both claims because petitioners had not yet suffered any individual financial harm-the plan did not (yet) face a risk of default.  In so holding, the Eighth Circuit departed from holdings of other circuits under both Sections 1132(a)(3) and 1132(a)(2), and rejected the long-held position of the Department of Labor, which has repeatedly urged the courts of appeals to let these claims proceed. The questions presented are: May an ERISA plan participant or beneficiary seek injunctive relief against fiduciary misconduct under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(3) without demonstrating individual financial loss or the imminent risk thereof?  May an ERISA plan participant or beneficiary seek restoration of plan losses caused by fiduciary breach under 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(2) without demonstrating individual financial loss or the imminent risk thereof? --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-1059 Kelly v. United States (2020-JAN-14)

QUESTION PRESENTED: Does a public official "defraud" the government of its property by advancing a "public policy reason" for an official decision that is not her subjective "real reason" for making the decision? --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-1233 Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc. (2020-JAN-14)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether, under section 35 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), willful infringement is a prerequisite for an award of an infringer's profits for a violation of section 43(a), id. § 1125(a). --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-882 Babb v. Wilkie (2020-JAN-15)

QUESTION PRESENTED: Federal employees' rights are determined under statutes which require that "all personnel actions effecting employees or applicants for employment ... in executive agencies as defined in Title 5 ... shall be made free from any discrimination ... " See 42 U.S.C.§ 2000e-16(a) (race, color, religion, sex, or national origin) (emphasis added); 29 U.S.C. § 633a(a) (age). This Court, in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, 570 U.S. 338 (2013) and Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., 557 U.S. 167 (2009), interpreted the private-sector statutory language "because" in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a), and ''because of' in 29 U.S.C. § 623(a)(1), respectively, as requiring a private-sector plaintiff to prove but-for causation. The question presented is: Whether "shall be made free from any discrimination" permits federal-sector personnel actions that are not made free from any discrimination or retaliation, as long as discrimination or retaliation is not the but-for cause of the personnel action, or rather prohibits personnel actions where discrimination and retaliation is a factor.  A subsidiary question is whether Title VII bans retaliation in federal employment. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

18-6662 Shular v. United States (2020-Jan-21)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the determination of a "serious drug offense" under the Armed Career Criminal Act requires the same categorical approach used in the determination of a "violent felony'' under the Act? --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

18-1048 GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS, Corp. v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC (2020-Jan-21)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the "New York Convention") permits a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement to compel arbitration based on the doctrine of equitable estoppel. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

18-1195 Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue (2020-Jan-22)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  Does it violate the Religion Clauses or Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution to invalidate a generally available and religiously neutral student- aid program simply because the program affords students the choice of attending religious schools? --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-1584 United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Ass'n (2020-Feb-24)

Case: 18-1584 U.S. FOREST SERVICE V. COWPASTURE RIVER ASSN QUESTION PRESENTED: The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Appalachian Trail) is more than 2000 miles long, extending from Maine to Georgia, with approximately 1000 miles of the Trail crossing through lands within national forests. The National Trails System Act provides that the Appalachian Trail "shall be administered primarily as a footpath by the Secretary of the Interior," 16 U.S.C. 1244(a)(l), and clarifies that "[n]othing contained in [the Act] shall be deemed to transfer among Federal agencies any management responsibilities established under any other law for federally administered lands," 16 U.S.C. 1246(a)(l)(A). Under the Mineral Leasing Act, 30 U.S.C. 181 et seq., the United States Forest Service (Forest Service) has authority to grant certain rights-of-way through lands in the National Forest System, but no federal agency has authority under that statute to grant equivalent rights-of-way through lands in the National Park System. See 30 U.S.C. 185. The question presented is: Whether the Forest Service has authority to grant rights-of-way under the Mineral Leasing Act through lands traversed by the Appalachian Trail within national forests. Case: 18-1587   ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE,  LLC V. COWPASTURE RIVER ASSN. QUESTION PRESENTED: The Mineral Leasing Act ("MLA'') authorizes federal agencies to grant pipeline rights-of-way over federal lands within their jurisdiction. Exercising that authority, the U.S. Forest Service granted Atlantic Coast Pipeline a right-of-way to cross small portions of the George Washington National Forest, including a 0.1-mile stretch that is approximately 700 feet beneath, and without surface impacts to, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. While more than 50 pipelines presently cross under that footpath pursuant to similar rights-of-way, the Fourth Circuit concluded in the decision below that the Forest Service-indeed, every federal agency-lacks the power to grant rights-of-way to cross beneath the Trail pursuant to the MLA, rendering the footpath a 2,200-mile barrier separating resource-rich areas to its west from consumers to its east. The court reached that result by deeming more than 1,000 miles of land traversed by the Trail under the control of various federal, state and private entities instead to be considered lands in the National Park System, which, unlike other federal lands, are not subject to rights-of-way under the MLA. In doing so, the court not only rejected the federal government's long- settled views, but has called into question dozens of existing rightsof-way under the Trail and upset petitioner's massive investments in a pipeline designed to get natural gas to Virginia and North Carolina for the benefit of millions of people. The question presented is:  Whether the Forest Service has the authority under the MLA and National Trails System Act to grant rights-of-way through national forest lands that the Appalachian Trail traverses. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 17-1268 Opati v. Republic of Sudan (2020-Feb-24)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  The questions presented are: Whether a party which knowingly and intentionally twice defaults, acts to delay and not in good faith, and affirmatively elects not to contest a nonjurisdictional legal issue before judgment may nevertheless demonstrate "extraordinary" and "exceptional" circumstances warranting appellate review of the forfeited nonjurisdictional legal issue post-judgment.  Whether, consistent with this Court's decision in Republic of Austria v. Altmann,  541 U.S. 677 (2004), the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act applies retroactively; thereby permitting recovery of punitive damages under 28 U.S.C. § l605A(c) against foreign states for terrorist activities occurring prior to the passage of the current version of the statute. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-67 United States v. Sineneng-Smith (2020-Feb-25)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the federal criminal prohibition against encouraging or inducing illegal immigration for commercial advantage or private financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(l)(A)(iv) and (B)(i), is facially unconstitutional. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-8369 Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez (2020-Feb-26)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  A dismissal of a civil action without prejudice for failure to state a claim, is it or is it not a strike under 28 U.S.C. 1915(g)? Courts have held that, unless otherwise specified, a dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is presumed to be both a judgment on the merits and to be rendered with prejudice, is this true or false? “A district court's dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is, of course, with prejudice unless it specifically orders dismissal without prejudice, is this true or false? " [l]n the absence of a clear statement to the contrary, a dismissal pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) is presumed to be with prejudice." The Fourth Circuit Court decided a dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim did not count as a strike under 28 U.S.C.S. 1915(g), but the Tenth Circuit Court decided that a dismissal without prejudice do count as a strike under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995( PLRA)and/or 28 U.S.C.S. 1915(g), which court is right and, is this a legal conflict between these two courts? Would this statement of the Tenth Circuit be legally right or wrong, A dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) satisfy the plain text of 1915(g) and therefore will count as a strike, without making an y legal interpretation of this provision, inquiry, or analysis thereof in regard to congress intent or purpose? When Congress directly incorporates language with an established legal meaning into a statute, we may infer that Congress intended the language to take on its established meaning. United States v. Langley, 62 F. 3d 602, 605 (4th Cir. 1995) ("It is firmly entrenched that Congress is presumed to enact legislation with knowledge of the law; that is with the knowledge of the interpretation that courts have given to an existing statute."); see also Miles v. Apex Marine Corp., 498 U. S. 19, 32, 111 S. Ct. 317, 112 L. Ed. 2d 275 (1990) (" We assume that Congress is aware of existing law when it passes legislation."). Is it the Court task here to determine whether Congress intended an action or appeal "that was dismissed on the grounds that it…fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted" to count as a strike under 28 U.S. C. 1915(g) if that dismissal was specifically designated to be "without prejudice?" The dismissal for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) (6) is a "judgment on the merits and, the type of prior dismissal for failure to state a claim contemplated by subsection 1915(g) is one that constituted an adjudication on the merits and prejudiced the filing of a subsequent complaint with the same allegations, is this true or false? Is it true, a dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim "does not" fall within the plain and unambiguous meaning of 191S(g)'s·unqualified phrase "dismissed ... [for] fail[ure] to state a claim"? If true, As a result, a dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim does not count as a strike, is this true or false? In any Circuit Court, will it be immaterial to the strikes analysis [whether] the dismissal was without prejudice, as opposed to with prejudice? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit stated, " [i}n this circuit, it is immaterial ( Not material; not pertinent; of no consequence) to the strikes analysis [whether] the dismissal was without prejudice," as opposed to with prejudice. Immaterial issue. An issue which occurs where a material allegation in the pleadings is not answered, but an issue is taken on some point which will not determine the merits of the case, so that the court must be at a loss to determine for which of the parties to give judgment. Garland v. Davis (US) 4 How 131, 146, 11 L Ed 907, 914. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-1432 Nasrallah v. Barr (2020-March-02)

QUESTION PRESENTED: Because of the United States' inviolable obligation not to deport individuals to countries in which they are likely to be subject to torture, individuals who are statutorily ineligible for asylum may request withholding (or deferral) of removal. Such relief is, as courts repeatedly note, a fundamental bulwark to ensure that the government's decision to deport an individual does not result in torture or death. The courts of appeals have deeply and intractably divided as to whether 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C) divests them of jurisdiction to review factual findings underlying the administrative agency's decision to deny a request for withholding (or deferral) of removal relief. The United States has expressly acknowledged the conflict among the circuits, and it has previously acquiesced to certiorari on this question. This case, unlike those before it, cleanly presents the question for review. The question presented is:  Whether, notwithstanding Section 1252(a)(2)(C), the courts of appeals possess jurisdiction to review factual findings underlying denials of withholding (and deferral) of removal relief. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-161 Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam (2020-March-02)

QUESTION PRESENTED: Respondent is an inadmissible alien who was apprehended almost immediately after illegally crossing the U.S. border and was placed into expedited removal proceedings. See 8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(l). An asylum officer conducted a credible-fear interview and found that respondent lacked a credible fear of persecution on a protected ground or a credible fear of torture. Upon de novo review, an immigration judge reached the same conclusions and respondent's expedited-removal order became final. Respondent then filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which the district court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because it did not raise the kinds of habeas challenges to expedited-removal orders that are permitted under 8 U.S.C. 1252(e)(2). The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Section 1252(e)(2) violated the Suspension Clause, U.S. Const. Art. I, § 9, Cl. 2, as applied to respondent. The question presented is  whether, as applied to respondent, Section 1252(e)(2) is unconstitutional under the Suspension Clause. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-7 Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2020-March-03)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the vesting of substantial executive authority in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent agency led by a single director, violates the separation of powers. IN ADDITION TO THE QUESTION PRESENTED BY THE PETITION, THE PARTIES ARE DIRECTED TO BRIEF AND ARGUE THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: IF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU IS FOUND UNCONSTITUTIONAL ON THE BASIS OF THE SEPARATION OF POWERS, CAN 12 U.S.C. §5491(c)(3) BE SEVERED FROM THE DODD-FRANK ACT? PAUL D. CLEMENT, ESQUIRE, OF WASHINGTON, D. C., IS INVITED TO BRIEF AND ARGUE THIS CASE, AS AMICUS CURIAE, IN SUPPORT OF THE JUDGMENT BELOW ON THE QUESTION PRESENTED BY THE PETITION. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-1501 Liu v. SEC (2020-March-03)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  Whether the Securities and Exchange Commission may seek and obtain disgorgement from a court as "equitable relief" for a securities law violation even though this Court has determined that such disgorgement is a penalty. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-1323 June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo (2020-March-04)

CONSOLIDATED WITH 18-1460 AND A TOTAL OF ONE HOUR IS ALLOTTED FOR ORAL ARGUMENT Case: 18-1323 QUESTION PRESENTED: In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct. 2292 (2016), this Court held that a state law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital was unconstitutional because it imposed an undue burden on women seeking abortions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld an admitting privileges law in Louisiana that is identical to the one this Court struck down. This presents the following issue: Whether the Fifth Circuit's decision upholding Louisiana's law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital conflicts with this Court's binding precedent in Whole Woman's Health. Case: 18-1460 QUESTION PRESENTED: Can abortion providers be presumed to have third-party standing to challenge health and safety regulations on behalf of their patients absent a "close" relationship with their patients and a "hindrance" to their patients' ability to sue on their own behalf? Are objections to prudential standing waivable (per the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Federal Circuits) or non-waivable (per the D.C., Second, and Sixth Circuits)? --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-46 Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V. (2020-May-04)

QUESTION PRESENTED:  Under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq., generic terms may not be registered as trademarks.  The question presented is as follows:  Whether the addition by an online business of a generic top-level domain (".com") to an otherwise generic term can create a protectable trademark. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-177 Agency for Int’l Development v. Alliance for Open Society Int’l, Inc. (2020-May-05)

QUESTION PRESENTED: Respondents are United States-based organizations that receive federal funds to fight HIV/AIDS abroad. In Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., 570 U.S. 205 (2013), this Court held that the First Amendment bars enforcement of Congress's directive that respondents "have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking" as a condition of accepting those funds. 22 U.S.C. 7631(f).  The question presented is whether the First Amendment further bars enforcement of that directive with respect to legally distinct foreign entities operating overseas that are affiliated with respondents. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-431 LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR V. PENNSYLVANIA (and 19-454 TRUMP V. PENNSYLVANIA)

19-431 LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR V. PENNSYLVANIA Since 2011, federal courts have repeatedly considered whether forcing religious objectors to provide health plans that include contraceptive coverage violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Over and over again, this Court has reviewed these cases on an emergency basis or on the merits. Yet it has never definitively resolved the RFRA dispute. In 2016, an eight-Justice Court in Zubik v. Burwell did not reach the RFRA question and instead remanded for the parties to try to reach a resolution, on the evident assumption that the executive branch possessed the power to provide broader accommodations and/or exemptions. After months of negotiations (and an intervening election), the agencies finally agreed to promulgate new rules providing a broader exemption, seemingly bringing an end to this long-running dispute. Those new rules were challenged, however, by several states, resulting in a nationwide injunction on the theory that RFRA and the Affordable Care Act not only do not require, but do not even allow, the religious exemption rules. That nationwide injunction has stagnated other cases, and it conflicts with the judgments of many courts that have issued final orders affirmatively requiring comparable exemptions under RFRA. The rights of religious objectorsincluding the Little Sisters' right to defend an exemption-remain very much at issue. The questions presented are: Whether a litigant who is directly protected by an administrative rule and has been allowed to intervene to defend it lacks standing to appeal a decision invalidating the rule if the litigant is also protected by an injunction from a different court? Whether the federal government lawfully exempted religious objectors from the regulatory requirement to provide health plans that include contraceptive coverage? 19-454 TRUMP V. PENNSYLVANIA The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), 42 U.S.C. 18001 et seq., requires many group health plans and health-insurance issuers that offer group or individual health coverage to provide coverage for preventive services, including women's preventive care, without cost-sharing. See 42 U.S.C. 300gg-13(a). Guidelines and regulations implementing that requirement promulgated in 2011 by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury mandated that such entities cover contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The mandate exempted churches, and subsequent rulemaking established an accommodation for certain other entities with religious objections to providing contraceptive coverage. In October 2017, the agencies promulgated interim final rules expanding the exemption to a broad range of entities with sincere religious or moral objections to providing contraceptive coverage. In November 2018, after considering comments solicited on the interim rules, the agencies promulgated final rules expanding the exemption. The questions presented are as follows: Whether the agencies had statutory authority under the ACA and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq., to expand the conscience exemption to the contraceptive-coverage mandate. Whether the agencies' decision to forgo notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing the interim final rules rendered the final rules-which were issued after notice and comment-invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq., 701 et seq. Whether the court of appeals erred in affirming a nationwide preliminary injunction barring implementation of the final rules. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-631 Barr v. American Assn. of Political Consultants, Inc. (2020-May-06)

QUESTION PRESENTED: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), Pub. L. No. 102-243, 105 Stat. 2394, generally prohibits the use of any "automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice" to "make any call" to "any telephone number assigned to a * * * cellular telephone service." 47 U.S.C. 227(b)(1)(A)(iii) (Supp. V 2017). The TCPA excepts from that automated-call restriction any "call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party." Ibid. In 2015, Congress amended the TCPA to create an additional exception for calls "made solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States." Ibid. Respondents wish to use an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice to make calls to the cell phones of potential or registered voters to solicit political donations and to advise on political and governmental issues. First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8-10, 12. The court of appeals held that the government-debt exception to the TCPA’s automated-call restriction violates the First Amendment. The court further held that the proper remedy was to sever the government-debt exception, leaving the basic automated-call restriction in place. The question presented is as follows: Whether the government-debt exception to the TCPA's automated-call restriction violates the First Amendment, and whether the proper remedy for any constitutional violation is to sever the exception from the remainder of the statute. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 18-9526 McGirt v. Oklahoma (2020-May-11)

QUESTION PRESENTED: WHETHER OKLAHOMA COURTS CAN CONTINUE TO UNLAWFULLY EXERCISE, UNDER STATE LAW, CRIMINAL JURISDICTION AS"JUSTICIABLE MATTER" IN INDIAN COUNTRY OVER INDIANS ACCUSED OF MAJOR CRIMES ENUMERATED UNDER THE INDIAN MAJOR CRIMES ACT-WHICH ARE UNDER EXCLUSIVE FEDERAL JURISDICTION. THE MOTION OF PETITIONER FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL IS GRANTED, AND IAN GERSHENGORN, ESQ. OF WASHINGTON, D.C., IS APPOINTED TO SERVE AS COUNSEL FOR PETITIONER IN THIS CASE --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-267 Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru [ST. JAMES SCHOOL V. BIEL] (2020-May-11)

19-267 OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE SCHOOL V. MORRISSEY-BERRU The First Amendment's Religion Clauses forbid government interference in a religious group's selection of its ministerial employees. The federal courts of appeals and state courts of last resort have long agreed that the key to determining ministerial status is whether an employee performed important religious functions. This Court's unanimous 2012 ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC was consistent with that existing analytical consensus, and other circuits and states since 2012 have continued to rely on it. Yet the Ninth Circuit has now twice ruled that, under Hosanna-Tabor, important religious functions alone can never suffice-those functions must always be accompanied by considerations such as a religious title or religious training in order to demonstrate ministerial status. The question presented is: Whether the Religion Clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, where the employee carried out important religious functions 19-348 ST. JAMES SCHOOL V. BIEL The First Amendment's Religion Clauses forbid government interference in a religious group's selection of its ministerial employees. The federal courts of appeals and state courts of last resort have long agreed that the key to determining ministerial status is whether an employee performed important religious functions. This Court's unanimous 2012 ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC was consistent with that existing analytical consensus, and other circuits and states since 2012 have continued to rely on it. Yet the Ninth Circuit has now twice ruled that, under Hosanna-Tabor, important religious functions alone can never suffice-those functions must always be accompanied by considerations such as a religious title or religious training in order to demonstrate ministerial status. The question presented is: Whether the Religion Clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, where the employee carried out important religious functions. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-715 Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP [and Trump V. Deutsche Bank AG] (2020-May-12)

19-715 TRUMP V. MAZARS USA, LLP The Committee on Oversight and Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives has issued a subpoena to the accountant for President Trump and several of his business entities. The subpoena demands private financial records belonging to the President. The D.C. Circuit upheld the subpoena as having a legitimate legislative purpose and being within the statutory authority of the Committee. The question presented is: Whether the Committee has the constitutional and statutory authority to issue this subpoena. 19-760 TRUMP V. DEUTSCHE BANK AG The Question Presented is: Whether three committees of the House of Representatives had the constitutional and statutory authority to issue subpoenas to third-party custodians for the personal records of the sitting President of the United States. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-635 Trump v. Vance (2020-May-12)

QUESTION PRESENTED: The District Attorney for the County of New York is conducting a criminal investigation that, by his own admission, targets the President of the United States for possible indictment and prosecution during his term in office. As part of that investigation, he served a grand-jury subpoena on a custodian of the President's personal records, demanding production of nearly ten years' worth of the President's financial papers and his tax returns. That subpoena is the combination-almost a wordfor-word copy-of two subpoenas issued by committees of Congress for these same papers. The Second Circuit rejected the President's claim of immunity and ordered compliance with the subpoena. The question presented is:  Whether this subpoena violates Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-465 Chiafalo v. Washington (2020-May-13)

QUESTION PRESENTED: A Washington State law threatens a fine for presidential electors who vote contrary to how the law directs. RCW 29A.56.340 (2016). Petitioners are three 2016 presidential electors who were fined under this provision solely because they failed to vote as the law directs, namely for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who won a majority of the popular vote in the State. The question presented is whether enforcement of this law is unconstitutional because: a State has no power to legally enforce how a presidential elector casts his or her ballot; and a State penalizing an elector for exercising his or her constitutional discretion to vote violates the First Amendment. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

Case: 19-518 Colorado Dept. of State v. Baca (2020-May-13)

QUESTION PRESENTED: Like most States, Colorado requires its presidential electors to follow the will of its voters when casting their Electoral College ballots for President. In the 2016 Electoral College, one of Colorado's electors violated Colorado law by attempting to cast his presidential ballot for a candidate other than the one he pledged to vote for. Colorado removed him as an elector, declined to accept his ballot, and replaced him with an alternate elector who properly cast her ballot for the winner of the State's popular vote, consistent with Colorado law. The removed elector later sued Colorado for nominal damages. The questions presented are: Whether a presidential elector who is prevented by their appointing State from casting an Electoral College ballot that violates state law lacks standing to sue their appointing State because they hold no constitutionally protected right to exercise discretion. Does Article II or the Twelfth Amendment forbid a State from requiring its presidential electors to follow the State's popular vote when casting their Electoral College ballots. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

SIDEBAR - Copyright and State Sovereign Immunity - The Allen v. Cooper Decision

On March 23, 2020, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Allen v. Cooper, concluding that Congress lacked the authority to enact the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA), which purported to abrogate state sovereign immunity in copyright infringement actions. The CRCA, which sought to remedy alleged state copyright infringement, provides that any “State, and any [State] instrumentality, officer, or employee” shall be liable for copyright infringement “in the same manner and to the same extent as any nongovernmental entity.” In Allen, the Supreme Court held that the CRCA was not a valid exercise of Congress’s constitutional powers under Article I or Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, although the opinion leaves open the possibility that a narrower congressional abrogation of state sovereign immunity for copyright suits might be constitutional. The immediate practical effect of the decision is that copyright holders cannot sue state governments for copyright infringement without their consent. The decision’s broader significance lies in clarifying the limitations on Congress’s power to provide remedies for state constitutional violations. This Sidebar will review the law of state sovereign immunity, the dispute in Allen v. Cooper, the Court’s opinion, and the implications for Congress. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/scotus/support

SIDEBAR - High Court Tosses Bridgegate Convictions

On May 7, 2020, a unanimous Supreme Court threw out the federal fraud convictions of two former New Jersey officials whose politically motivated scheme redirected access to toll lanes on the George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and New York leading to gridlock. The federal fraud statutes at issue condemn schemes to obtain money or property. The High Court concluded that the “property” envisioned does not include a governmental entity’s interest in the regulatory allocation of its resources, such as access to lanes on its toll bridges; nor does it include the value of the services of public employees whose efforts are incidental to implementing such a regulatory choice. As the Supreme Court reasoned, “[t]o rule otherwise would undercut [the] Court’s oft-repeated instruction: Federal prosecutors may not use property fraud statutes to set[] standards of disclosure and good government for local and state officials.”