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What's Next on the SCOTUS Docket?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

The High Court has accepted five new cases for argument in the upcoming term.

Notably, the Court also rejected a big case involving a Guantanamo Bay detainee who has been held for over 15 years without being charged. The rejection came with a separate opinion from Justice Breyer explaining that the man could be held indefinitely as long as the terrorist organizations al-Qaeda and the Taliban were enemies of the United States.

New Fall Cases

The cases picked up by the High Court vary quite a bit. One considers a procedural question surrounding a death row inmate's resentencing to death, while another challenges the rights of private citizens to seek state relief rather than federal relief from an EPA superfund site in Montana.

McKinney v. Arizona

In the death penalty case, the appellant won an appeal requiring resentencing, and a judge resentenced him to death. The law at the time of resentencing required a jury to hand down the death sentence, but the judge made that decision because a jury wasn't required at the time of the original sentencing. SCOTUS will decide whether the resentencing absent the jury was proper.

Comcast v. National Association

A case against Comcast alleges the company discriminates against black-owned media companies in accepting distribution of their assets. At issue is whether a “but for” or “motivating factor” test is correct in these types of discrimination cases.

Intel v. Sulyma

The High Court also accepted a case challenging the “actual knowledge” standard for an ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claim. In the case, a recent grad alleges his 401k administrator breached its fiduciary duty to him by investing in hedge funds that crashed hard, tanking his 401k savings.

Monasky v. Taglieri

Lastly, a somewhat controversial case involving the Hague Convention asks the Court to weigh in on what an infant’s “habitual residence” means. The case involves an American mother and Italian father. The mother took their child, who was born in Italy, to the United States, seemingly with the consent of the father. However, the father is now demanding the child be returned to Italy. In short, it seems the answer will very likely depend on how the phrase “habitual residence” is defined.

These cases are expected to be argued in the fall 2019 term. You can likely expect to see some high-profile amicus briefs to be filed on both sides of each of these cases, as each seems to hit upon big issues that will matter to businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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