Justices grant assessment in 14 new instances however don’t act on hot-button points

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Symposium: The individual plaintiffs in California v. Texas suffer a greater Article III injury than did the individual plaintiffs in NFIB v. Sebelius

Posted on Fri, Jan 8th 2021 9:19 pm by Amy Howe

The Supreme Court took a giant step on Friday evening to fill out its merits record for the remainder of the 2020-21 term, granting review in 14 new cases for a total of 12 hours of dispute. The judges will weigh the initial adjustment rights of students and nonprofits, and condemn discounts for inmates serving time on small amounts of crack cocaine. Perhaps equally noteworthy, the judges failed to respond to several high profile petitions they considered at Friday’s conference that concerned (among other things) abortion, a dispute over the Colonel’s extension of the deadline for absentee votes for the 2020 election Pennsylvania Court of Justice. and the right to sue the President under the constitutional remuneration clause.

In the Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra and Thomas More Law Center v. Becerra case, which the court has consolidated for an hour of contention, judges will hear two challenges against a California Attorney General’s policy requiring charities to provide names and addresses their main donors. Two conservative advocacy groups went to federal court arguing that the policy violated the first amendment, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled on behalf of the Attorney General. The groups then came to the Supreme Court, which asked the federal government for their views last year. The government asked the judges to allow a review of what they did on Friday.

With their announcement of a review against BL in the Mahanoy Area School District, the judges returned to the often complicated issue of students’ speaking rights. More than 50 years ago, the Supreme Court in the Independent School District of Tinker v. Des Moines ruled that while students have initial adjustment rights while at school, school officials can regulate the language that would disrupt the work of the school significantly. On Friday, the judges agreed to decide whether their decision in Tinker applies to off-campus speech by students. The question comes to court in the case of a Pennsylvania student who was removed from her high school junior varsity cheerleading team after posting offensive Snapchat messages after failing to form the varsity team. The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the student’s behalf that Tinker does not allow schools to punish off-campus speaking. The school district asked the Supreme Court to weigh what it agreed on Friday.

In Terry v. The United States, judges agreed to ponder a technical conviction issue that will have a significant impact on thousands of inmates: whether a group of defendants convicted in Congress of minor crack cocaine offenses should pass the law About fair convictions issued from 2010 can be re-convicted under the First Step Act of 2018. The Fair Sentencing Act has reduced (but not eliminated) the inequality of penalties for convictions for crack and powder cocaine, and the First Step Act made the Fair Sentencing Act retrospective. The specific question that the court agreed to is whether the changes made by the First Step Act extend to inmates convicted of the most petty crack cocaine offenses.

In a letter from a “friend of the court” asking the judges to allow a review in another case where the same question was asked, the National Association of Defense Lawyers stated that the lower courts are divided on the issue. As a result, the NACDL wrote, a Supreme Court review is needed “to prevent thousands of mostly black defendants from being forced to spend years longer in prison than identically situated defendants” elsewhere in the country, and to ensure that the target is achieved of Congress is to dismantle racial disparities when sentencing under the severe 1986 sentencing regime is implemented. “

Other grants on Friday are:

  • Greer v United States: Whether an appellate court, in applying a simple error review based on a Supreme Court interlocutory decision, can examine matters outside of the trial record to determine whether the error affected a defendant’s essential rights or those of the trial in fairness, Integrity or public reputation.
  • Sanchez v. Wolf: Whether an immigrant who entered the country without proper authorization but is granted “temporary protection status” that allows people from countries in humanitarian crisis to temporarily live and work in the United States can be a legal permanent resident will.
  • City of San Antonio v. Hotels.com: Whether the district courts lack the discretion to decline or reduce costs after a successful appeal.
  • Guam versus United States: Whether Guam or the United States have financial responsibility for the rehabilitation of a hazardous waste site created by the Navy on the island of Guam.
  • US v Palomar-Santiago: Whether to dismiss charges of illegal re-entry of a non-national into the US if the non-national’s removal was based on misclassification of a previous conviction.
  • Minerva Surgical v Hologic, Inc .: Whether a defendant in a patent infringement suit who has assigned the patent can have a hearable defense of nullity.
  • United States vs. Gary: Whether a defendant pleaded guilty of being a criminal in possession of a firearm is automatically entitled to relief for a simple mistake if the district court has not told him that one element of that offense is knowing that he’s a criminal.
  • Hollyfrontier Cheyenne Refining v Renewable Fuels Association: Can a small refinery qualify for a hardship exemption from the standard renewable fuel program in the Clean Air Act if it has not received a continuous prior renewal of the original exemption?
  • Mnuchin v Confederated Tribes & Alaska Native Village Corp. vs. Confederated Tribes: Whether Alaska Native Corporations are “Indian tribes” eligible for federal COVID aid.

The judges are expected to issue further orders from the conference on Friday at 9:30 a.m. on Monday. The judges could then respond to some of the other high profile petitions they considered Friday, including Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Org., Challenging a Mississippi law that generally bans abortion after 15 weeks of gestation; Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley versus Sisolak, a Nevada church’s challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s COVID residency warrants; Scarnati v Pennsylvania Democratic Party & Republican Party of Pennsylvania v Boockvar, the dispute over the Pennsylvania Supreme Court extending the mail-in deadline for the November 2020 election; and United States v Tsarnaev, the federal government’s petition to review the case of the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose death sentences were overturned by the 1st Circuit.

The judges also failed to respond to a petition from President Donald Trump asking them to determine whether Trump was in breach of the First Amendment by banning people from his personal Twitter account based on their views. However, around the same time the judges issued their orders on Friday, Twitter announced that Trump had been permanently suspended from Twitter because of the risk of “further incitement to violence”. In a statement Friday night, Jameel Jaffer, the lead attorney for those blocked by the president, argued that Twitter’s decision “effectively challenges” Trump’s motion for review.

This article was originally published by Howe on the Court.

Posted in Featured, Merits Cases

Recommended citation:
Amy Howe, judge grants review in 14 new cases but does not act on hot button issues.
SCOTUSblog (January 8, 2021, 9:19 p.m.), https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/01/justices-grant-review-in-14-new-cases-but-dont-act-on-hot – Button problems /