Supreme Court  grants cert for anti-trust, bankruptcy, discrimination, federal jurisdiction, and citizenship cases
Supreme Court grants cert for anti-trust, bankruptcy, discrimination, federal jurisdiction, and citizenship cases

[JURIST] On Tuesday the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari [order, PDF] for eight new cases. In Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Company [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], the Court is asked to determine whether the “sue or be sued” provision of the Federal National Mortgage Association’s (“Fannie Mae”) [official website] federal charter confers original jurisdiction to federal courts in all cases involving Fannie Mae. It is also asked to reverse American National Red Cross v. S.G. [opinion], a 1992 decision finding that no such jurisdiction was conferred by similar language in another federally chartered corporation.

In Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne International [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], the Court, at the suggestion of the US Solicitor General, will make a determination upon whether the pleading standard for alleging that a case falls under the expropriation exception Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) [text] is more stringent than the “insubstantial and frivolous.” standard for pleading jurisdiction in a federal-question statute. The DC Circuit Court [official website] had previously held [opinion, PDF] that a lessened standard applied to claims being brought under the FSIA.

Next, in Ivy v. Morath [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], the Court is being asked to determine whether a government agency is liable under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [text, PDF] for discrimination against disabled people, where the discrimination was caused by private actors contracted to perform services for the public entity. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] had previously held [opinion, PDF] that such public agencies are only liable for discrimination “where the private actors had a contractual or agency relationship with the public entity.” The suit is being brought by hearing-impaired citizens seeking to force a private driver’s education program to provide a sign-language interpreter.

In Fry v. Napoleon Community School [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], the Court is asked to determine whether the Handicapped Children’s Protection Act of 1986 [text], the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act [text], require administrative alternatives be exhausted before a suit for damages may be brought, as is required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) [text]. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] had previously held [opinion, PDF] that the Frys’ claim did require them to exhaust the administrative process because their claim involved denial of “free appropriate public education,” defined under the IDEA. That court was reticent to allow evasion of the exhaustion requirement because, where IDEA procedures can remedy a child’s educational injury, the court would “prevent state and local educational agencies from addressing problems they specialize in addressing” and require courts to address issues which they are not particularly adept at solving.

In consolidating the claims in Visa v. Osborn and Visa v. Stoumbos [SCOTUSblog backgrounders], the Court will determine whether allegations that major credit card companies agreed amongst themselves, as well as with banks, to charge customers a certain rate for ATM use are sufficient to plead elements of conspiracy under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act [text]. The DC Circuit Court, below, ruled that such allegations were sufficient to bring conspiracy charges under the Sherman Act, but other appellate courts have split on the matter.

The Court also combined the cases of Bank of America v. Miami [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] and Wells Fargo v. Miami [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], seeking to answer whether a city constitutes an “aggrieved person” under the Fair Housing Act [text, PDF], and is thus allowed to bring suit against mortgage lenders and housing operators for racial (and other) discrimination in housing. The Court will also examine questions of whether use of the term “aggrieved person” in FHA Article III implies a more stringent, “zone-of-interest” standard than a typical “injury-in-fact” analysis.

In Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp. [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], the Court has been asked to decide whether the bankruptcy court may “dismiss a case that has been settled through an agreement that gives payment to lower-ranking creditors ahead of more senior-ranked creditors.” The Third Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] in January of last year that, while unsatisfactory, payment of a settlement against the statutory priority scheme was justified where the alternative meant the “lawsuit [would] proceed to deplete the estate…serv[ing] the interests of neither the creditors nor the estate.

Finally, the federal government, in Lynch v. Morales-Santana [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] asks the Court to approve its heightened citizenship requirements for children born abroad, and out of wedlock, where their father is a U.S. citizen and their mother is not, against the Fifth Amendment equal protection guarantee. In 2013 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] ruled against the government, holding that equal protection would not be satisfied unless 8 U.S.C. §§1401 and 1409 [text] were struck, or one continuous presence standard was uniformly applied to individuals in both categories.