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Supreme Court to hear Texas redistricting case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] added 12 cases to its docket on Friday, including two Texas redistricting cases.

The court had previously blocked [JURIST report] two lower court rulings that mandated the redrawing of Texas' congressional and state legislative [dockets] districts. The court has now added the cases, both called Abbott v. Perez, to its merits docket, consolidating them and allotting one hour for hour oral arguments.

In South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will rule on whether state and local governments can collect sales taxes from internet retailers. The Supreme Court has ruled that states may not require catalog retailers to collect sales tax on sales to state residents unless the retailer is "physically present" in the state. South Dakota passed a law in 2016 requiring out-of-state retailers that make 200 sales or $100,000 worth of sales to collect sales tax and then sued companies that did not comply. The Supreme Court of South Dakota ruled for the retailers [opinion, PDF], following Supreme Court precedent, set more than 50 years ago.

In Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether administrative law judges of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are officers of the United States within the meaning of the Appointments Clause [art. II, § 2, cl. 2]. If so, then they would have to be appointed by the commission rather than by SEC staff as is current practice. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that they are not officers of the United States.

In Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will decide to what extent US courts must defer to a foreign government's characterization of its own laws. The case involves an antitrust suit against Chinese companies that acknowledged they had engaged in price fixing but argued they were required to do so under Chinese law, which the Chinese government confirmed. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] in favor of the Chinese companies.

In WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corporation [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether a patentee who has shown patent infringement in the US can ever recover damages for the profits that it would have earned outside of the US if the infringement had not occurred. Justice Samuel Alito is recused.

In Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will decide whether a debtor's statement concerning a specific asset, provided to show the debtor’s ability to pay a debt, can be a "statement respecting the debtor's ... financial condition" for purposes of the Bankruptcy Code.

In Lagos v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court must decide whether the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act [text] covers costs for reimbursement that were "neither required nor requested" by the government, including costs incurred for the victim's own purposes and unprompted by any official government action.

In Washington v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether road culverts that reduce fish habitat in Washington state violate a Native American fishing treaty.

In Pereira v. Sessions [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will decide whether, to trigger the stop-time rule for a non-permanent resident's eligibility for cancellation of removal [8 USC § 1229b(a) and (b)] by serving a "notice to appear," the government must "specify" the items listed in the definition of a "notice to appear," including "[t]he time and place at which the proceedings will be held."

In Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether stock that a railroad transfers to its employees is taxable under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act [text].

Finally, in Chavez-Meza v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will decide whether, when a district court decides not to grant a proportional sentence reduction under 18 USC § 3582(c)(2), it must provide some explanation for its decision when the reasons are not otherwise apparent from the record, whether it can instead issue its decision without any explanation so long as it is issued on a preprinted form order containing the boilerplate language providing that the court has "tak[en] into account the policy statement set forth in 18 USSG § 1B1.10 and the sentencing factors set forth in 18 USC § 3553(a) [text], to the extent that they are applicable." Justice Neil Gorsuch is recused.

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