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Supreme Court to hear capital, labor, endangered species cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] Friday granted certiorari in seven cases [order list, PDF], including a capital case, an endangered species case, and two labor-related cases among others. In the Texas death row case Panetti v. Quarterman (06-6407) [docket], the Court will determine whether it is unconstitutional to execute an mentally ill individual who has a delusion about the actual reason he faces execution despite being factually aware of the reason. Scott Louis Panetti [advocacy website] knew he was being executed after killing his wife's parents, but he believed that it was actually because he was "preaching the gospel." The endangered species case stems from two consolidated cases, National Association of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife (06-340) [docket] and EPA v. Defenders of Wildlife (05-549) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], and allows the Court to examine whether the Endangered Species Act [text] permits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] to transfer permitting authority for the discharge of pollutants to the state of Arizona.

In one labor-related case, BCI Coca-Cola Co. of Los Angeles v. EEOC (06-341) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will determine whether an employer may be held liable for a subordinate worker's alleged bias where the worker did not make the employment decision at issue. In a second labor-related case, Long Island Care at Home v. Coke (06-593) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will decide whether home care workers employed by outside agencies, not directly by families, should receive overtime pay. In other cases, the Court will examine federal law liability for lost or damaged freight, whether private prep schools can talk to prospective student athletes despite their voluntary agreement to obey a no-recruiting rule, and whether courts may consider inferences of innocence when deciding whether someone sued for federal securities violations has a guilty state of mind. SCOTUSblog has more.

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