SCOTUS: 17 opinions in next 15 days


gavelIt’s that time of year again when lawyers get that queasy feeling in their stomach, knowing that the cases remaining to be decided by the John Roberts’ U.S. Supreme Court are the most divisive, and almost certain to be 5-4 decisions.

The Huffington Post has a breakdown of cases remaining to be decided by June 30 (Case citations via Supreme Court Has 17 Cases To Decide By June’s End:

It’s crunch time at the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices are racing to issue opinions in 17 cases over the next two weeks.

The religious rights of corporations, the speech rights of abortion protesters and the privacy rights of people under arrest are among the significant issues that are so far unresolved.

The justices will meet Monday and again on Thursday to issue opinions, and [will] wind up their work by the end of the month.

A look at some of the cases that remain:

— Contraceptive coverage: Corporations are claiming the right to exercise religious objections to covering women’s contraceptives under their employee health insurance plans, despite the new health care law’s requirement that birth control be among a range of no-cost preventive services included in health plans. Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, No. 13-354 and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, No. 13-356.

— Abortion clinic buffer zones: Abortion opponents are challenging as a violation of their free speech rights a Massachusetts law mandating a 35-foot (10.5-meter) protest-free zone on public sidewalks outside abortion clinics. McCullen v. Coakley, No. 12-1168.

— Cellphone searches: Two cases weigh the power of police to search the cellphones of people they place under arrest without first obtaining a warrant from a judge. Riley v. California, No. 13-132 and U.S. v. Wurie, No. 13-212.

— Recess presidential appointments: A federal appeals court said President Barack Obama misused the Constitution’s recess power when he temporarily filled positions on the National Labor Relations Board in 2012. National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, No. 12-1281.

— TV on the Internet: Broadcasters are fighting Internet startup Aereo’s practice of taking television programming for free and providing it to subscribers who can then watch on smartphones and other portable devices. American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, No. 13-461.

— Greenhouse gases: Industry groups assert that environmental regulators overstepped their bounds by trying to apply a provision of the Clean Air Act to control emissions of greenhouse gases from power plants and factories. This case is unlikely to affect the recent proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency to slash carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly one-third by 2030; that plan involves a different part of the same law. Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1272, American Chemistry Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1248, Energy-Intensive Manufacturers Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Regulation v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1254, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1146, Texas v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1269, and Southeastern Legal Foundation v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1268.

— Union fees: Home health care workers in Illinois want the court to rule that public sector unions cannot collect fees from workers who object to being affiliated with a union. Harris v. Quinn, No. 11-681.

—Securities fraud: Investors could find it harder to bring class-action lawsuits over securities fraud at publicly traded companies in a case involving Halliburton Co., a provider of energy services. Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, No. 13-317.

— “False” campaign claims: An anti-abortion group says state laws that try to police false statements during political campaigns runs afoul of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees such rights as freedom of speech. Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, No. 13-193.


— Gun dealers record keeping requirements for “straw man” purchases of firearms. Abramski v. U.S., No. 12-1493.

— Patent law claim regarding computer-implemented inventions – including claims to systems and machines, processes, and items of manufacture – are patent-eligible. Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, No. 13-298.

— Whether the government must prove that the defendant intended to defraud a bank and expose it to risk of loss in every prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 1344. Loughrin v. U.S., No. 13-316.

— Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) claim regarding the sufficiency of pleading a breach of fiduciary duty for abuse of discretion by remaining invested in employer stock. Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, No. 12-751.

— Whether post-judgment discovery in aid of enforcing a judgment against a foreign state can be ordered with respect to all assets of a foreign state regardless of their location or use, or is limited to assets located in the United States that are potentially subject to execution under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (“FSIA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1602 et seq.  Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, No. 12-842.

— Whether an unsupported allegation that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a summons for an improper purpose entitles an opponent of the summons to an evidentiary hearing to question IRS officials about their reasons for issuing the summons. U.S. v. Clarke, No. 13-301.

— Whether the government is categorically free under the First Amendment to retaliate against a public employee for truthful sworn testimony that was compelled by subpoena and was not a part of the employee’s ordinary job responsibilities; and whether qualified immunity precludes a claim for damages in such an action. Lane v. Franks, No. 13-483.

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The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.