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Raw oral argument audio from the US Supreme Court.

Episode Date
Ciminelli v. United States
Whether the Second Circuit's "right to control" theory of fraud-which treats the deprivation of complete and accurate information bearing on a person's economic decision as a species of property fraud- states a valid basis for liability under the federal wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1343.
Nov 29, 2022
Percoco v. United States
Does a private citizen who holds no elected office or government employment, but has informal political or other influence over governmental decisionmaking, owe a fiduciary duty to the general public such that he can be convicted of honest-services fraud?
Nov 29, 2022
Haaland v. Brackeen & Consolidated Cases
Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), 25 U.S.C. 1901 et seq., "to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families." 25 U.S.C. 1902. The provisions of 25 U.S.C. 1912 establish minimum federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families, while 25 U.S.C. 1915(a) and (b) establish default preferences for the placement of such children in adoptive or foster homes. The statute also contains several recordkeeping provisions. See 25 U.S.C. 1915(e), 1951(a). Three States and seven individuals brought suit, asserting that these and other ICWA provisions are facially unconstitutional. The district court agreed and granted declaratory relief. The en banc court of appeals rejected most of the plaintiffs' challenges, but affirmed, in some respects by an equally divided vote, the judgment declaring the foregoing provisions invalid. The questions presented are: 1. Whether various provisions of ICWA-namely, the minimum standards of Section 1912(a), (d), (e), and (f); the placement-preference provisions of Section 1915 (a) and (b); and the recordkeeping provisions of Sections 1915(e) and 1951(a)-violate the anticommandeering doctrine of the Tenth Amendment. 2. Whether the individual plaintiffs have Article III standing to challenge ICWA’s placement preferences for "other Indian families," 25 U.S.C. 1915(a)(3), and for "Indian foster home[s]," 25 U.S.C. 1915(b)(iii). 3. Whether Section 1915(a)(3) and (b)(iii) are rationally related to legitimate governmental interests and therefore consistent with equal protection. CONSOLIDATED WITH 21-377, 21-378 AND 21-380 FOR ONE HOUR ORAL ARGUMENT.
Nov 10, 2022
Health and Hospital Corp., v. Talevski
Since the high-water mark in Wilder v. Virginia Hospital Association, 496 U.S. 498 (1990), this Court has consistently rebuffed efforts to find privately enforceable rights in Spending Clause statutes. Indeed, several Justices have suggested that the entire project of enforcing such rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is mistaken: Spending Clause statutes are "much in the nature of a contract," Barnes v. Gorman, 536 U.S. 181, 185-86 (2002) (internal quotation marks omitted), and when Section 1983 was enacted, contracts in general-and contracts with governmental entities in particular-did not give rise to claims by third-party beneficiaries. The Seventh Circuit's decision below illustrates just how flawed this project is. Notwithstanding the Court's instructions to the contrary, see Pennhurst State Sch. and Hosp. v. Halderman, 451 U.S. 1, 18 (1981), and Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273, 289 n.7 (2002), the court of appeals relied on the appearance of the word "right" several times in the Federal Nursing Home Amendments Act of 1987 ("FNHRA") to hold that patients may use Section 1983 to second-guess garden-variety transfer and medication decisions-thereby federalizing much medical-malpractice litigation and nullifying important state medical-malpractice rules. This case presents the following questions: 1. Whether, in light of compelling historical evidence to the contrary, the Court should reexamine its holding that Spending Clause legislation gives rise to privately enforceable rights under Section 1983. 2. Whether, assuming Spending Clause statutes ever give rise to private rights enforceable via Section 1983, FNHRA's transfer and medication rules do so.
Nov 08, 2022
Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co.
''Nearly 80 years removed from International Shoe, it seems corporations continue to receive special jurisdictional protections in the name of the Constitution. Less clear is why." Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Jud. Dist. Ct., 141 S. Ct. 1017, 1038 (2021) (Gorsuch J., concurring). This petition seeks resolution of an issue that has divided courts around the country. More than a dozen state supreme courts and every federal court of appeals have weighed in on the question with conflicting results. An unbroken line of this Court's cases holds that a court may exercise personal jurisdiction with a party's consent. Corporations enforce that precedent to the letter in their contracts of adhesion, requiring flesh and blood consumers to litigate disputes with businesses in often-distant tribunals. E.g., Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute, 499 U.S. 585 (1991). Turnabout should be fair play (and is, incidentally, consistent with substantial justice). Consistent with that rule, states have enacted laws requiring corporations operating within their boundaries to consent to personal jurisdiction when they register to do business in those states. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found such a statute unconstitutional under this Court's decision in International Shoe v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945), and its progeny. That erroneous result is but the latest decision among dozens that are squarely divided on the question presented: Whether the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits a state from requiring a corporation to consent to personal jurisdiction to do business in the state.
Nov 08, 2022
SEC v. Cochran
Whether a federal district court has jurisdiction to hear a suit in which the respondent in an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission administrative proceeding seeks to enjoin that proceeding, based on an alleged constitutional defect in the statutory provisions that govern the removal of the administrative law judge who will conduct the proceeding.
Nov 07, 2022
Axon Enterprise, Inc. v. FTC
After petitioner acquired an essentially insolvent competitor, it found itself subjected to the review of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), rather than the Department of Justice (DOJ). While the DOJ route promises early access to judicial review, the FTC track is an altogether different matter. Petitioner faced a series of unreasonable demands from the FTC, and the prospect of “litigating” before administrative law judges insulated by unconstitutional double- for-cause removal restrictions and subject to review by an unaccountable Commission. Rather than resign itself to the ongoing unconstitutional injuries inflicted by the FTC’s process, petitioner filed suit in district court seeking to enjoin the unconstitutional FTC proceedings. That lawsuit focused on constitutional issues collateral to the underlying antitrust issues, but the district court nonetheless dismissed it for want of jurisdiction based on implications drawn from a statutory grant of jurisdiction to review the FTC’s cease-and-desist orders. A divided Ninth Circuit affirmed, with the majority acknowledging that dismissal “makes little sense,” and the dissent contending that dismissal contradicted this Court’s precedents. The questions presented are: 1. Whether Congress impliedly stripped federal district courts of jurisdiction over constitutional challenges to the Federal Trade Commission’s structure, procedures, and existence by granting the courts of appeals jurisdiction to “affirm, enforce, modify, or set aside” the Commission’s cease-and-desist orders. 2. Whether, on the merits, the structure of the Federal Trade Commission, including the dual-layer for-cause removal protections afforded its administrative law judges, is consistent with the Constitution.
Nov 07, 2022
Bittner v. United States
This case presents a direct and acknowledged conflict regarding an important question of statutory construction under the Bank Secrecy Act, 31 U.S.C. 5311 et seq., which generally requires taxpayers to report their interests in foreign bank accounts. Under the Act, Congress instructed the Treasury Secretary to ''require a resident or citizen of the United States * * * to keep records, file reports, or keep records and file reports, when the * * * person makes a transaction or maintains a relation for any person with a foreign financial agency." 31 U.S.C. 5314(a). The Secretary's corresponding regulations require filing a single annual report (called an "FBAR") for anyone with an aggregate balance over $10,000 in foreign accounts. 31 C.F.R. 1010.350(a), 1010.306(c). The Act authorizes a $10,000 maximum penalty for any non-willful violation of Section 5314. See 31 U.S.C. 5321(a)(5)(A)-(B). In the decision below, the Fifth Circuit held that there is a separate violation (with its own $10,000 penalty) for each foreign account not timely reported on an annual FBAR; it thus authorized a penalty on "a per-account, not a per-form, basis." In so holding, the Fifth Circuit expressly rejected a contrary decision of the Ninth Circuit, which held the failure to file an annual FBAR constitutes a single violation, "no matter the number of accounts." This critical issue arises all the time, and the Act's penalties for identically situated parties will now turn on whether the taxpayer is from California or Texas. The question presented is: Whether a "violation" under the Act is the failure to file an annual FBAR (no matter the number of foreign accounts), or whether there is a separate violation for each individual account that was not properly reported.
Nov 02, 2022
Cruz v. Arizona
In Simmons v. South Carolina, 512 U.S. 154 (1994), this Court held that in cases where a capital defendant's future dangerousness is at issue, due process entitles the defendant to inform the jury that he will be ineligible for parole if not sentenced to death. For many years thereafter, the Arizona Supreme Court refused to apply Simmons. In Lynch v. Arizona, 578 U.S. 613 (2016) (per curiam), this Court summarily reversed the Arizona Supreme Court's misapplication of Simmons and confirmed that the Simmons rule applies in Arizona. This petition is brought by a capital defendant in Arizona whose conviction became final after Simmons but before Lynch. He was sentenced to death after the trial judge repeatedly denied him his right under Simmons to inform the jury that he was parole-ineligible. After this Court in Lynch applied Simmons to Arizona, he sought postconviction relief in state court seeking the relief that Simmons and Lynch require. The Arizona Supreme Court denied his claim. Although Arizona provides a forum for federal constitutional claims on collateral review, and although the Arizona Supreme Court recognized that Lynch "was dictated by" Simmons, the court concluded that the rule of Lynch should not apply to cases pending on collateral review. This petition presents the question whether this Court's decision in Lynch applied a settled rule of federal law that must be applied to cases pending on collateral review in Arizona.
Nov 01, 2022
Jones v. Hendrix
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, federal inmates can collaterally challenge their convictions on any ground cognizable on collateral review, with successive attacks limited to certain claims that indicate factual innocence or that rely on constitutional-law decisions made retroactive by this Court. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e), however, also allows inmates to collaterally challenge their convictions outside this process through a traditional habeas action under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 whenever it "appears that the remedy by [§ 2255] motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of [their] detention." The question presented is whether federal inmates who did not-because established circuit precedent stood firmly against them-challenge their convictions on the ground that the statute of conviction did not criminalize their activity may apply for habeas relief under § 2241 after this Court later makes clear in a retroactively applicable decision that the circuit precedent was wrong and that they are legally innocent of the crime of conviction.
Nov 01, 2022
Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard
1. Should this Court overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), and hold that institutions of higher education cannot use race as a factor in admissions? 2. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act bans race-based admissions that, if done by a public university, would violate the Equal Protection Clause. Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244, 276 n.23 (2003). Is Harvard violating Title VI by penalizing Asian-American applicants, engaging in racial balancing, overemphasizing race, and rejecting workable race-neutral alternatives?
Nov 01, 2022
Students for Fair Admissions v. University of NC
1. Should this Court overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), and hold that institutions of higher education cannot use race as a factor in admissions? 2. Can a university reject a race-neutral alternative because it would change the composition of the student body, without proving that the alternative would cause a dramatic sacrifice in academic quality or the educational benefits of overall student-body diversity?
Nov 01, 2022
Helix Energy Solutions v. Hewitt
Respondent was a supervisor on Helix's offshore vessels and was compensated commensurate with his high-ranking position. Every two weeks, Helix paid Respondent at least $963 for each day that he worked. In all, Respondent earned $248,053 in 2015, $218,863 in 2016, and $143,680 in the eight months he worked for Helix in 2017. After his performance- related release, Respondent sued Helix under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), claiming that he was also entitled to substantially more in retroactive overtime pay. The FLSA sensibly exempts many highly compensated supervisors from the Act's overtime requirements. Specifically, employees who perform executive duties, earn at least $100,000 per year, and receive at least $455 per week paid on a salary basis are "deemed exempt." 29 C.F.R. §541.601(a). It is undisputed that Respondent performed executive duties and met the annual earnings threshold. Nevertheless, a sharply divided en banc Fifth Circuit ruled that Respondent was non-exempt and entitled to retroactive overtime pay because he was paid based on a daily rate, not a weekly rate, even though his daily rate was more than twice the weekly minimum. The majority reached that counterintuitive conclusion only by applying a separate provision, 29 C.F.R. §541.604, that the First and Second Circuits have both held inapplicable when determining whether highly compensated employees are exempt. The question presented is: Whether a supervisor making over $200,000 each year is entitled to overtime pay because the standalone regulatory exemption set forth in 29 C.F.R. §541.601 remains subject to the detailed requirements of 29 C.F.R. §541.604 when determining whether highly compensated supervisors are exempt from the FLSA's overtime-pay requirements.
Oct 12, 2022
Andy Warhol Found., Inc. v. Goldsmith
This Court has repeatedly made clear that a work of art is "transformative" for purposes of fair use under the Copyright Act if it conveys a different "meaning or message" from its source material. Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 579 (1994); Google LLC v. Oracle Am., Inc., 141 8. Ct. 1183, 1202 (2021). In the decision below, the Second Circuit nonetheless held that a court is in fact forbidden from trying to "ascertain the intent behind or meaning of the works at issue." App. 22a-23a. Instead, the court concluded that even where a new work indisputably conveys a distinct meaning or message, the work is not transformative if it "recognizably deriv[es] from, and retain[s] the essential elements of, its source material." Id. at 24a. The question presented is: Whether a work of art is "transformative" when it conveys a different meaning or message from its source material (as this Court, the Ninth Circuit, and other courts of appeals have held), or whether a court is forbidden from considering the meaning of the accused work where it "recognizably deriv[es] from" its source material (as the Second Circuit has held).
Oct 12, 2022
Reed v. Goertz
In Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 524-25 (2011), this Court held that state prisoners may pursue post-conviction claims for DNA testing of crime-scene evidence in a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C.§ 1983. The Court made clear that a prisoner bringing such a § 1983 claim may seek "to show that the governing state law denies him procedural due process" after he has unsuccessfully sought DNA testing under available state procedures. Id. at 525, 530. The question presented is whether the statute of limitations for a § 1983 claim seeking DNA testing of crime-scene evidence begins to run at the end of state-court litigation denying DNA testing, including any appeals (as the Eleventh Circuit has held), or whether it begins to run at the moment the state trial court denies DNA testing, despite any subsequent appeal (as the Fifth Circuit, joining the Seventh Circuit, held below).
Oct 11, 2022
National Pork Producers v. Ross
Proposition 12 bans the sale of pork in California unless the sow from which it derived was housed with space allowances that almost no farms satisfy (for good reason). Californians account for 13% of the Nation's pork consumption, but raise hardly any pigs. The massive costs of complying with Proposition 12 fall almost exclusively on out-of-state farmers. And because a single pig is processed into cuts that are sold nationwide in response to demand, those costs will be passed on to consumers everywhere, in countless transactions having nothing to do with California. The Ninth Circuit acknowledged that petitioners plausibly allege that Proposition 12 has "dramatic upstream effects," requires "pervasive changes to the pork production industry nationwide," and imposes costs that "mostly fall on non-California transactions." Nevertheless- in conflict with other circuits and contrary to the views of amici the United States, 20 States, and business groups-it held that petitioners failed to plead a dormant Commerce Clause violation. In doing so, it brushed aside this Court's decisions holding that laws with significant extraterritorial effects violate our federalist scheme, and failed to engage in meaningful balancing under Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc. The questions presented are: Whether allegations that a state law has dramatic economic effects largely outside of the state and requires pervasive changes to an integrated nationwide industry state a violation of the dormant Commerce Clause, or whether the extraterritoriality principle described in this Court's decisions is now a dead letter. Whether such allegations, concerning a law that is based solely on preferences regarding out-of-state housing of farm animals, state a Pike claim.
Oct 11, 2022
Arellano v. McDonough
Under 38 U.S.C. § 5110(b)(1), "[t]he effective date of an award of disability compensation to a veteran shall be the day following the date of the veteran's discharge or release if application therefor is received within one year from such date of discharge or release." (emphasis added.) Veterans who miss this one-year statutory deadline-even if because of a service-connected physical or mental impairment- are barred from recovering retroactive disability benefits reaching back to their date of discharge. In Irwin, this Court held that "the same rebuttable presumption of equitable tolling applicable to suits against private defendants should also apply to suits against the United States." Irwin v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, 498 U.S. 89, 95-96 (1990). Despite this, an "equally divided" Federal Circuit held 6-6 that military veterans are categorically precluded from pursuing equitable tolling of § 5110(b)(1)'s one-year deadline, regardless of the facts and circumstances of their individual cases. The questions presented are: · · (1) Does Irwin's rebuttable presumption of equitable tolling apply to the one- year statutory deadline in 38 U.S.C. § 5110(b)(1) for seeking retroactive disability benefits, and, if so, has the Government rebutted that presumption? (2) If 38 U.S.C. § 5110(b)(1) is amenable to equitable tolling, should this case be remanded so the agency can consider the particular facts and circumstances in the first instance?
Oct 05, 2022
Delaware v. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
EXCEPTIONS TO REPORT OF THE SPECIAL MASTER Plaintiff State of Delaware respectfully submits the following exceptions to the First Interim Report of the Special Master issued on July 23, 2021: 1. Delaware takes exception to, and this Court should decline to adopt, the Special Master’s report and recommendation to deny Delaware’s request for partial summary judgment and to grant Defendants’ request for partial summary judgment. 2. Delaware takes exception to, and this Court should decline to adopt, the components of the Special Master’s report and recommendation, including: a. The Special Master’s definition of “money order”; b. The Special Master’s definition of “third party bank check”; c. The Special Master’s definition of “other similar written instrument”; d. The other flaws discussed in the accompanying brief, which addresses these exceptions (and related errors) more fully. CONSOLIDATED WITH 146 Orig.
Oct 04, 2022
Merrill v. Milligan
Oct 04, 2022
Sackett v. EPA
Petitioners Michael and Chantell Sackett own a vacant lot in a mostly built-out residential subdivision near Priest Lake, Idaho. The lot has no surface water connection to any body of water. In April, 2007, with local permits in hand, the Sacketts began building a family home. But later that year, Respondent Environmental Protection Agency sent them an administrative compliance order determining that their home construction violated the Clean Water Act because their lot contains wetlands that qualify as regulated "navigable waters." In Rapanos v. United States, 54 7 U.S. 715 (2006), the Court held that the Clean Water Act does not regulate all wetlands, but no opinion explaining why that is so garnered a majority of the Court. A plurality opinion authored by Justice Scalia and joined by three other Justices argued that only those wetlands that have a continuous surface water connection to regulated waters may themselves be regulated. A concurring opinion by Justice Kennedy advanced a different and much broader test, allowing for regulation of wetlands regardless of any surface connection, so long as the wetlands bear an (undefined) "significant nexus" with traditional navigable waters. Below, the Ninth Circuit employed Justice Kennedy's "significant nexus" test to uphold EPA's authority over the Sacketts' homesite. The question presented is: Should Rapanos be revisited to adopt the plurality's test for wetlands jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act?
Oct 04, 2022