Supreme Court adds 8 cases to 2016 docket
Supreme Court adds 8 cases to 2016 docket

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in eight cases [SCOTUSblog report] following its September 26 conference. In Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine what level of educational benefit school districts must confer on children with disabilities to provide them with the free appropriate public education guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [official website]. The petitioner in the case is an autistic child whose parents’ dissatisfaction with his education in a local public school prompted them to enroll him in a private school and seek reimbursement for the cost of tuition.

In McLane Co. v. EEOC [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether a district court’s decision to quash or enforce an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) [official website] subpoena should be reviewed de novo, which only the Ninth Circuit does, or should be reviewed deferentially, which eight other circuits do. The question arises from a gender discrimination charge filed with the EEOC against McLane, a national distribution company that argues that the more deferential standard should apply.

In Nelson v. Colorado [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether Colorado’s requirement that defendants prove their innocence by clear and convincing evidence to get their money back, after reversal of conviction of a crime entailing various monetary penalties, is consistent with due process. The case concerns two Colorado residents convicted and sent to prison and ordered to pay restitution and a variety of fees. Their convictions were subsequently reversed on appeal and they unsuccessfully sought a refund of the money they had paid.

In Lee v. Tam [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act [text], which provides that no trademark shall be refused registration on account of its nature unless, inter alia, it “[c]onsists of … matter which may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute” is facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The dispute arises in relation to the denied registration of a band name, and the case is expected to have implications for the Washington Redskins trademark dispute [JURIST news archive].

In Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine, “whether state no-surcharge laws unconstitutionally restrict speech conveying price information (as the Eleventh Circuit has held), or regulate economic conduct (as the Second and Fifth Circuits have held).” The dispute arises because many merchants would prefer to describe the fees as surcharges to discourage their customers from using credit cards.

In Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger [docket; cert. petition, PDF], consolidated with Musnuff v. Haeger [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will determine whether a federal court is required to tailor compensatory civil sanctions imposed under inherent powers to harm directly caused by sanctionable misconduct when the court does not afford sanctioned parties the protections of criminal due process. The case arises from the imposition of sanctions against Goodyear and its attorney for alleged misconduct in a product liability case alleging that a defect in one of Goodyear’s tires caused a car accident.

In Lynch v. Dimaya [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine if a provision [text] of the Immigration and Nationality Act defining a crime of violence and governing an alien’s removal from the US is unconstitutionally vague. In a similar case the court ruled in Johnson v. United States [JURIST report] that the so-called “residual clause” in the Armed Career Criminal Act’s definition of “violent felony” was unconstitutionally vague.

Finally, Lewis v. Clarke [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine the scope of sovereign immunity of a member of an Indian tribe for damages sought against tribal employees for torts committed within the scope of their employment. The plaintiffs in the case, Brian and Michelle Lewis, were struck by a limousine driven by William Clarke, who was employed by an Indian tribe to drive casino patrons.