Sunday, September 29, 2019

SCOTUS 2019 term preview

The kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and you know what that means: It's Supreme Court season! The Court will hold its first conference of the term this week, and issue its first orders and hold oral argument next week. Here are the cases to be argued this term (so far) that we're watching (descriptions taken directly from the question presented in each petition for certiorari):

Second Amendment

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York: Whether [New York] City’s ban on transporting a licensed, locked, and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside city limits is consistent with the Second Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the constitutional right to travel.

Fourth Amendment

Kansas v. Glover: [W]hether, for purposes of an investigative stop under the Fourth Amendment, it is reasonable for an officer to suspect that the registered owner of a vehicle is the one driving the vehicle absent any information to the contrary.

Jurisdiction

Sharp v. Murphy (held over from last term for reargument): Whether the 1866 territorial boundaries of the Creek Nation within the former Indian Territory of eastern Oklahoma constitute an “Indian reservation” today under 18 U.S.C. § 1151(a).

Fraud

Kelley v. United States: 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?

Immigration-related state prosecutions

Kansas v. Garcia: 1. Whether IRCA expressly preempts the States from using any information entered on or appended to a federal Form I-9, including common information such as name, date of birth, and social security number, in a prosecution of any person (citizen or alien) when that same, commonly used information also appears in non-IRCA documents, such as state tax forms, leases, and credit applications.

2. [Question by the Court] Whether the Immigration Reform and Control Act impliedly preempts Kansas’s prosecution of respondents.


Insanity defense

Kahler v. Kansas: Do the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments permit a state to abolish the insanity defense?

Unanimous verdict

Ramos v. Louisiana: Whether the Fourteenth Amendment fully incorporates the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a unanimous verdict?  

Sentencing

Holguin-Hernandez v. United States: Whether a formal objection after pronouncement of sentence is necessary to invoke appellate reasonableness review of the length of a defendant’s sentence.

Shular v. United States: 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?

McKinney v. Arizona: 1. 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.

2. Whether the correction of error under Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104 (1982), requires resentencing.
 
The first question was stated more broadly within the petition as follows: Whether a court must apply the law as it exists today, rather than as it existed at the time a defendant’s conviction first became final, when correcting a defendant’s sentence or conducting a resentencing.


Postconviction

Mathena v. Malvo: Did the Fourth Circuit err in concluding—in direct conflict with Virginia’s highest court and other courts—that a decision of this Court (Montgomery) addressing whether a new constitutional rule announced in an earlier decision (Miller) applies retroactively on collateral review may properly be interpreted as modifying and substantively expanding the very rule whose retroactivity was in question?

Bannister v. Davis (cert granted on pro se petition): [Question by the Court] Whether and under what circumstances a timely Rule 59(e) motion should be recharacterized as a second or successive habeas petition under Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U. S. 524 (2005). 
 
For a deeper dive into this term's criminal cases, check out SCOTUSblog's analysis here.

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