The US Supreme Court granted certiorari in four cases Friday in addition to the Maryland cross case.
In Smith v. Berryhill the court will answer the question of “whether the Appeals Council’s decision to reject a disability claim on the ground that the claimant’s appeal was untimely is a ‘final decision’ subject to judicial review under Section 405(g).” The case began when Smith applied “for supplemental security income resulting from disability.” His application was denied, and his lawyer subsequently made an appeal to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council said that this appeal never arrived, and therefore dismissed the case because it was not filed on time.
In Gray v. Wilke the court will answer the question of “whether the Federal Circuit has jurisdiction under 38 USC § 502 to review an interpretive rule reflecting VA’s definitive interpretation of its own regulation, even if VA chooses to promulgate that rule through its adjudication manual.” The question arises out of the VA’s interpretation of the Agent Orange Act, an act that made it easier for veterans “to obtain disability compensation.” The Agent Orange Act “creates an automatic presumption of service connection” for any veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam and developed “one of several diseases medically linked to Agent Orange.” However, “[o]ver the past 20 years, VA has repeatedly narrowed its understanding of which Vietnam War veterans ‘served in the Republic of Vietnam’ and thus qualify for the Agent Orange Act’s automatic presumption.”
In Mont v. United States the court will answer the question of “[w]hether a period of supervised release for one offense is tolled under 18 USC § 3624(e) during a period of pretrial confinement that upon conviction is credited toward a defendant’s term of imprisonment for another offense.” Mont was sentenced to seven years in prison and five years of supervised release. During the last year of his supervised release, he was arrested and sentenced to six years in prison. By the time he was sentenced, his time on supervised release had expired, and therefore when his supervised release violation hearing, he argued that “the district court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicated the alleged violations.”
In Flowers v. Mississippi the court will answer the question of “[w]hether the Mississippi Supreme Court erred in how it applied Batson v. Kentucky in this case.” The court will “review the case of Curtis Flowers, who was sentenced to death for an infamous quadruple murder at a furniture store in Winona, Mississippi.” Flowers was put on trial six times, and during the first four trials, “prosecutor Doug Evans was twice found to have violated the constitutional ban on racial discrimination in selecting jurors”. Flowers’ fifth trial was “deadlocked, but at his sixth trial, Evans allowed the first African-American juror to be seated but then struck the remaining five African-American jurors.”