Supreme Court Docket – 1999-2000 Term



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January 2000


Monday, January 10, 2000


Cortez Byrd Chips, Inc., v. Bill Harbert Construction Company, etc.
(No. 98-1960)

Subject:
Arbitration

Question:

  • Whether an action to vacate an arbitration award may be brought in the district in which the events in the underlying dispute occurred.

Decisions:

Briefs:


Village of Willowbrook, et al., Petitioners v. Grace Olech
(No. 98-1288)

Subject:
Equal Protection, no protected class

Question:

  • Whether the Equal Protection Clause gives rise to a cause of action on behalf of a "class of one" where the plaintiff does not allege discrimination based on membership in a vulnerable group, but alleges that ill will motivated the government to treat her differently from others similarly situated.

Decisions:

Briefs:


Tuesday, January 11, 2000


Christy Brzonkala, Petitioner v. Antonio J. Morrison, et al.
(No. 99-29)

Subject:
Commerce Clause, Violence Against Women Act (42 U.S.C. § 13981), rape

Question:

  • Whether 42 U.S.C. 13981, the provision of the Violence Against Women Act that creates a private right of action for victims of gender-motivated violence, is a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

  • Whether 42 U.S.C. 13981 is a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Enforcement Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Decisions:

  • Fourth Circuit: Nos. 96-1814, 96-2316, Decided: 12/23/97
    District Court judgment reversed. Judge Motz wrote the majority opinion, in which Judge Hall joined. Judge Luttig wrote a dissenting opinion.
  • Fourth Circuit: Nos. 96-1814, 96-2316, Decided: 03/05/99
    District Court judgment affirmed. Judge Luttig wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge Wilkinson and Judges Widener, Wilkins, Niemeyer, Hamilton, and Williams joined. Chief Judge Wilkinson wrote a concurring opinion. Judge Niemeyer wrote a concurring opinion. Judge Motz wrote a dissenting opinion, in which Judges Murnaghan, Ervin, and Michael joined.
  • United States Supreme Court, Decided: May 15, 2000

Briefs:

* See United States v. Morrison


United States v. Morrison
(No. 99-5)

Subject:
Commerce Clause, Violence Against Women Act (42 U.S.C. § 13981), rape

Question:

  • Whether 42 U.S.C. 13981, the provision of the Violence Against Women Act that creates a private right of action for victims of gender-motivated violence, is a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

  • Whether 42 U.S.C. 13981 is a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Enforcement Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Decisions:

  • Fourth Circuit: Nos. 96-1814, 96-2316, Decided: 12/23/97
    District Court judgment reversed. Judge Motz wrote the majority opinion, in which Judge Hall joined. Judge Luttig wrote a dissenting opinion.
  • Fourth Circuit: Nos. 96-1814, 96-2316, Decided: 03/05/99
    District Court judgment affirmed. Judge Luttig wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge Wilkinson and Judges Widener, Wilkins, Niemeyer, Hamilton, and Williams joined. Chief Judge Wilkinson wrote a concurring opinion. Judge Niemeyer wrote a concurring opinion. Judge Motz wrote a dissenting opinion, in which Judges Murnaghan, Ervin, and Michael joined.
  • United States Supreme Court, Decided: May 15, 2000

Briefs:

* See Brzonkala v. Morrison


J. Wayne Garner v. Robert L. Jones
(No. 99-137)

Subject:
Ex Post Facto, Parole

Question:

  • Whether the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution bars the State of Georgia from applying its amended parole regulations to inmates whose crimes predated the amendment, where the amendment increases the maximum time between life-sentenced inmates' parol reconsideration from three to eight years without procedural safeguards.

Decisions:

Briefs:


Wednesday, January 12, 2000


Jenifer Troxel, et vir v. Tommie Granville
(No. 99-138)

Subject:
Parental rights, Grandparents, Visitation

Question:

  • Do Washington Revised Code 26.10.160(3) and the former RCW 26.09.240, granting third parties, including grandparents, the right to petition for visitation rights with a minor child if the visitation is "in the best interests of the child," impermissibly interfere with a parent's fundamental interest in the "care, custody and companionship of a child" as defined by the liberty and privacy provision of the United States Constitution?
  • Did the Supreme Court of Washington err in Custody of Smith, 137 Wn. 2d 1, 969 P.2d 21 (1998), in holding that Washington Revised Code 26.10.160(3) and the former RCW 26.09.240 are unconstitutional based upon the liberty interest of the Fourteenth Amendment and the fundamental right to privacy inherent in the United States constitution, when it used the flawed premise that a parent's fundamental right to autonomy in child rearing decisions is unassailable and that the state's parens patriae power to act in a child's welfare may not be invoked absent a finding of harm to the child or parental unfitness?

Decisions:

Briefs:


Hunt-Wesson, Inc. v. Franchise Tax Board of California
(No. 98-2043)

Subject:
Commerce Clause, Interest Offset Rule, Due Process Clause

Question:

  • Under the Commerce and Due Process Clauses, a State may not tax the dividends that a nondomiciliary corporation receives from its nonunitary subsidiaries. Allied-Signal, Inc. v. Director, Div. of Taxation, 504 U.S. 768 (1992); ASARCO, Inc. v. Idaho State Tax Comm'n, 458 U.S. 307 (1982); F.W. Woolworth Co. v. Taxation & Revenue Dep't, 458 U.S. 354 (1982). California law nevertheless requires that a nondomiciliar corporation reduce its deductible net interest expense–and thereby increase its apportionable income subject to tax–by the amount of such exempt dividends. Moreover, this requirement applies even when the disallowed interest expense is unrelated to the production of exempt dividend income. The question presented is:
    Whether a State may tax constitutionally exempt income under the guise of denying a deduction for expenses in an amount equal to such income when there is no evidence that the expenses relate to the production of exempt income?
  • Whether a State tax discriminates against interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause by disallowing an otherwise deductible expense, thereby increasing California taxable income, solely because the corporation is not domiciled in the State or does not have subsidiaries that engage in taxable in-state activity?

Decisions:

Briefs:


Tuesday, January 18, 2000


David H. Baral v. United States
(No. 98-1667)

Subject:
Taxes, estimated taxes, withholding

Question:

  • Whether a remittance of estimated taxes or of taxes withheld from wages is a payment of tax that is subject to the limitation on tax refunds set forth in Section 6511(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 6511(b).

Decisions:

Briefs:


Chad Weisgram, et al. v. Marley Company, et al.
(No. 99-161)

Subject:
Expert testimony

Question:

  • Did the Eighth Circuit panel majority err when, after deciding to exclude certain expert testimony, it reviewed the record to see what valid evidence remainded, and then ordered judgment entered for respondent, instead of considering whether petitioner should be allowed another opportunity to prove his claim or at least allow the district court that had heard the trial to make the new trial determination?

Decisions:

Briefs:


Wednesday, January 19, 2000


Leila Jeanne Hill, et al. v. Colorado, et al.
(No. 98-1856)

Subject:
1st Amendment, abortion, clinic buffer zones

Question:

  • Does Colorado's statutory requirement that speakers obtain consent from passerby on public sidewalks and streets before speaking, displaying signs, or distributing leaflets unconstitutionally burden protected expressive rights in a traditional public forum?

  • Does Colorado's statutory designation of private citizens as censors of speech, picket signs, and leaflets on public streets and sidewalks impose an unconstitutional prior restraint?

  • Is a statute that gives broad discretion to passerby in public places to act as censors of speech, picket signs, and leaflets and which fails to prohibit content-based denials of the right to speak, to display signs, or to pass leaflets subject to strict scrutiny?

  • Is a statute that gives broad discretion to passerby in public places to act as censors of speech, picket signs, and leaflets and which fails to prohibit viewpoint-based denials of the right to speak, to display signs, or to pass leaflets unconstitutional per se?

Decisions:

Briefs:


Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Petitioner v. Samara Brothers, Inc.
(No. 99-150)

Subject:
Lanham Act, trade-dress protection, clothing knockoffs

Question:

  • What must be shown to establish that a product's design is inherently distinctive for purposes of Lanham Act trade dress protection?

Decisions:

Briefs:

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