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SCOTUS Grants 11 More Cases for 2014 Term; No Gay Marriage Yet

By William Peacock, Esq. on October 02, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The moment we've been waiting for, all summer, is here: the first cert. grants list after the Big Fall Conference. (Side note: I really need more hobbies. Oh wait, Hi Royals!)

Who got grants? A few of our picks made it, no denials have been issued yet, and much to the waiting world's chagrin, gay marriage has not yet made it to the docket. When will it? According to The Coloradoan, Justice Antonin Scalia quipped in a speech yesterday, "I know when, but I'm not going to tell you," before concluding, "Soon! Soon!" So ... soon.

Here's the full list of 11 new grants:

  1. Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Indep. Redistricting, et al. (Dist. Ct., D. Arizona): This is an interesting constitutional issue, though the Court isn't even sure that it can hear the case. It noted today that "Further consideration of the question of jurisdiction is postponed to the hearing of the case on the merits..." Arizona voters took redistricting out of the hands of the legislature and passed it to a nonpartisan commission. The Arizona legislature argues that the Elections Clause bars such a move. SCOTUSblog has a rundown on what's at stake.
  2. Tibble, Glenn, et al. v. Edison International, et al. (Ninth Circuit): Not every case is going to be interesting. This one is about fiduciary duties and purchasing retail-class investment fund shares instead of lower-cost institutional-class shares. There's also a statute of limitations issue. This is the rare SCOTUS case where only the parties to the case and their lawyers will actually care about the outcome.
  3. Coleman, Andre L. v. Tollefson, Todd, et al. (Sixth Circuit): Whew, this took some digging to find info on. (Even the Supreme Court's "Questions Presented" PDF is a dead link.) According to the cert. petition reply brief, this is about a circuit split on when a dismissal counts as a strike for purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act's "three strikes" provision (which denies in forma pauperis for chronic filers of frivolous crap) -- whether immediately or only after appellate review is concluded. More important than the case itself was counsel's use of the word "frippery," one that I'm adding to my own repertoire.
  4. Ohio v. Clark, Darius (Ohio Supreme Court): Does a mandatory child abuse reporter become an agent of law enforcement for purposes of the Confrontation Clause? Do the child's statements to a teacher qualify as "testimonial" for Confrontation Clause purposes? The Ohio Supreme Court answered in the affirmative on both points. Legally Speaking Ohio has a ton of coverage on the case.
  5. Texas Dept. Hous. & Com. Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project (Fifth Circuit): This is the third time the Court has tried to take up the issue of using the disparate impact theory to prove Fair Housing Act claims. The last two cases settled, reports The Associated Press. Maybe the third time will be the charm.
  6. Kerry, Sec. of State, et al. v. Din, Fauzia (Ninth Circuit): Can the U.S. government deny a visa on "terrorism grounds" without further explanation? Last year, the Ninth Circuit became an outlier by holding that the the government needed "a facially legitimate reason" for the denial. Courthouse News Service has more on the case.
  7. Williams-Yulee, Lanell v. Florida Bar (Fla. Supreme Court): Judges soliciting donations for their election campaigns. It's a dirty, nasty business, one that is prohibited by many state bars. It's also led to a circuit split and this cert. grant. Williams-Yulee signed on to a fundraising letter and was reprimanded by the Florida State Bar. She says her political speech is chilled. We name-dropped this case earlier this week when the Ninth Circuit granted en banc in a similar case out of Arizona, one that may be put on hold now that SCOTUS is taking on the issue.
  8. Rodriguez, Dennys v. United States (Eighth Circuit): From the Supreme Court's website: "This Court has held that, during an otherwise lawful traffic stop, asking a driver to exit a vehicle, conducting a drug sniff with a trained canine, or asking a few off-topic questions are 'de minimis' intrusions on personal liberty that do not require reasonable suspicion of criminal activity in order to comport with the Fourth Amendment. This case poses the question of whether the same rule applies after the conclusion of the traffic stop, so that an officer may extend the already-completed stop for a canine sniff without reasonable suspicion or other lawful justification."
  9. Armstrong, Richard, et al. v. Exceptional Child Center, et al. (Ninth Circuit): Can private-sector health care providers can force a state to raise its Medicaid reimbursement rates to keep up with the rising cost of services? That's the simplified version of this case, which involves Supremacy Clause, private rights of action to enforce Medicaid laws, and more. The Elder Law Prof Blog and PrawfsBlawg have additional coverage.
  10. EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (Tenth Circuit): Does an employer need an interviewee to spell out the obvious (the hijab is a religious practice) in order to be held accountable for discrimination? See our prior coverage.
  11. Baker Botts, LLP, et al. v. ASARCO, LLC (Fifth Circuit): Baker Botts not only got a big kicker (20 percent!) for doing a hell of a job on a bankruptcy case, but they also sought attorneys' fees for fighting for attorneys' fees. Well done counselors! Bleed 'em dry!

Which of these cert. grants will you be following? Tweet us your pick(s) @FindLawLP.

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