Courts & the Law, News

U.S. Supreme Court justices return today for January sitting; education, immigration cases set

U.S. Supreme Court Justices will return to the bench today for the January sitting. As usual, ScotusBlog has a great breakdown of cases that are on the docket.

One major case that education folks will likely be paying attention to is Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. Justices will decide whether schools should be required to provide students with disabilities an equal education to other students or just an adequate education.

Chief Justice John Roberts also asked last week for a response in North Carolina’s request to halt a federal Court of Appeals opinion that would require legislators to hold a special election this year after legislative district maps were ruled unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

Roberts requested the response to be submitted no later than today. North Carolina has requested a Supreme Court order by Wednesday in its emergency application to halt the special election pending an appeal.

Cases the high court is expected to explore this sitting involve monetary penalties in criminal cases, immigration issues and trademark questions. The following is ScotusBlog’s breakdown of the oral arguments to be heard:

Nelson v. Colorado: Whether Colorado’s requirement that defendants must 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.
Lewis v. Clarke: Whether the sovereign immunity of an Indian tribe bars individual-capacity damages actions against tribal employees for torts committed within the scope of their employment.
Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman: 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).
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger: 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.
Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District: What is the level of educational benefit that 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.
Lynch v. Dimaya: Whether 18 U.S.C. 16(b), as incorporated into the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provisions governing an alien’s removal from the United States, is unconstitutionally vague.
Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson: Whether the filing of an accurate proof of claim for an unextinguished time-barred debt in a bankruptcy proceeding violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; and (2) whether the Bankruptcy Code, which governs the filing of proofs of claim in bankruptcy, precludes the application of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to the filing of an accurate proof of claim for an unextinguished time-barred debt.
Lee v. Tam: Whether the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), 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.
Hasty v. Abbasi: (1) Whether, as the Second Circuit held, the judicially implied cause of action for damages against individual officials recognized in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, extends to detentions of foreign nationals after the September 11 attacks; (2) whether qualified immunity was property denied, notwithstanding the specific circumstances confronted by petitioners—including the FBI’s terrorism designations for respondents—because the Constitution “clearly” prohibits any “condition of pretrial detention not reasonably related to a legitimate governmental objective,” or imposed “because of . . . race, ethnicity, religion, and/or national origin;” and (3) whether the allegations against Hasty and Sherman (the Warden and Associate Warden at the Metropolitan Detention Center)—such as the assertion that they “knew” the FBI’s terrorism designations for respondents were wrong but imposed otherwise mandatory confinement conditions because they had discriminatory intent—are sufficiently plausible to state a claim under Ashcroft v. Iqbal.
Ziglar v. Abbasi: (1) Whether the Court of Appeals, in finding that Respondents’ Fifth Amendment claims did not arise in a “new context” for purposes of implying a remedy under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, erred by defining “context” at too high a level of generality where Respondents challenge the actions taken in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001 regarding the detention of persons illegally in the United States whom the FBI had arrested in connection with its investigation of the September 11 attacks, thereby implicating concerns regarding national security, immigration, and the separation of powers; (2) whether the Court of Appeals, in denying qualified immunity to Petitioner Ziglar erred: (A) by failing to focus on the specific context of the case to determine whether the violative nature of Mr. Ziglar’s specific conduct was at the time clearly established, instead defining the “established law” at the high level of generality that this Court has warned against; and (B) by finding that even though the applicability of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) to the actions of federal officials like Petitioner Ziglar was not clearly established at the time in question, Respondents nevertheless could maintain a § 1985(3) claim against him so long as his conduct violated some other clearly established law; and (3) whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding that Respondents’ Fourth Amended Complaint met the pleading requirements of Ashcroft v. Iqbal , and related cases, because that complaint relied on allegations of hypothetical possibilities, conclusional assumptions, and unsupported insinuations of discriminatory intent that, at best, are merely consistent with Petitioner Ziglar’s liability, but fall short of stating plausible claims.
Ashcroft v. Abbasi: (1) Whether the judicially inferred damages remedy under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, should be extended to the novel context of this case, which seeks to hold the former Attorney General and Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) personally liable for policy decisions made about national-security and immigration in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; and (2) whether the former Attorney General and FBI Director are entitled to qualified immunity for their alleged role in the treatment of respondents, because it was not clearly established that aliens legitimately arrested during the September 11 investigation could not be held in restrictive conditions until the FBI confirmed that they had no connections with terrorism; and (3) whether respondents’ allegations that the Attorney General and FBI Director personally condoned the implementation of facially constitutional policies because of an invidious animus against Arabs and Muslims are plausible, as required by Ashcroft v. Iqbal, in light of the obvious alternative explanation—identified by the Court in Iqbal—that their actions were motivated by a concern that, absent fuller investigation, the government would unwittingly permit a dangerous individual to leave the United States.

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