Supreme Court adds two cases to docket

Supreme Court adds two cases to docket

The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in two cases on Monday.

In Knick v. Scott Township [cert. petition, PDF; docket], petitioner challenges a doctrine [text] that requires state remedies to be exhausted in constitutional takings before being allowed to file a federal lawsuit. Knick, the owner of land in Pennsylvania, was subject to an ordinance requiring all owners of cemeteries to provide public access during daylight hours through a right of way from the nearest road. The town agreed not to enforce the law against Knick, but she continues to protest its application, arguing it is unconstitutional on its face. The case also centers around the issue of ripeness, which under the same doctrine bars review of takings claims that assert a law causes an unconstitutional taking on its face.

Gundy v. US [cert. petition, PDF; docket] involves the interpretation of the Sex Offender Notification and Registration Act (SORNA) [text, PDF]. The petitioner challenges the authority granted to the US attorney general to decide whether SORNA registration requirements should apply to sex offenders who were convicted prior to the act’s passing. Gundy argues that the act does not provide “clear guidance” that the power to do so was extended to the US attorney general, thereby violating the nondelegation doctrine [text].

The court however declined to address Gundy’s other three arguments: (1) Whether convicted sex offenders are “required to register” under SORNA while in custody, regardless of how long they have until release; (2) whether all offenders convicted of a qualifying sex offense prior to SORNA’s enactment are “required to register” under SORNA no later than August 1, 2008; (3) whether a defendant travels in interstate commerce for purposes of 18 USC § 2250(a) when his only movement between states occurs while he is in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and serving a prison sentence.