Supreme Court Docket – 1999-2000 Term



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March 2000


Wednesday, March 1, 2000


Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. Dedra Shanklin, Next Friend of Jessie Guy Shanklin (No. 99-312)

Subject:
Supremacy Clause, federal funding, railroad crossings, inadequate warning devices

Question:
Whether the court of appeals properly applied this Court's decision in CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Easterwood, 507 U.S. 658 (1993), when it held that claims of negligence based on inadequate warning devices at a railway grade crossing are not preempted even though the warning devices were installed with federal funds under a project approved by the federal government.

Decisions:

Briefs:


Public Lands Council, et al. v. Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior (No. 98-1991)

Subject:
Interior Department, range land reform, grazing

Question:

  1. Whether the Secretary acted within his his authority in issuing amended rules that (a) use the term "grazing preference" to denote the preference to be accorded qualified applicants for grazing permits, and (b) use the term "permitted use" to denote the extent of use of rangelands conferred by a grazing permit.

  2. Whether the Secretary acted within his authority in issuing a rule vesting title in the United States to new permanent improvements on rangelands owned by the United States.

  3. Whether the Secretary acted within his authority in issuing an amended rule identifying the "mandatory qualifications" for applicants for grazing permits on public rangelands.
Decisions: Briefs:


Monday, March 20, 2000


Maria Suzuki Ohler, Petitioner v. United States (No. 98-9828)

Subject:
Criminal appeals, prior criminal convictions

Question:
Whether a criminal defendant automatically waives the right to appeal a definitive, pre-trial ruling granting, over her objection, the government's in limine motion to impeach her with a prior conviction under Federal Rule of Evidence 609 if she attempts to mitigate the "sting" of such evidence by first testifying about the conviction on direct examination.

Decisions:

Briefs:


Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company, Petitioner v. Union Planters Bank, N.A. (No. 99-409)

Subject:
Bankruptcy, worker's compensation insurance, unpaid premiums

Question:
Does a postpetition administrative creditor in a bankruptcy case have standing under 11 U.S.C. 506(c) to seek payment of its administrative claim from property of the bankruptcy estate that is encumbered by a secured creditor's lien?

Decisions:

Briefs:


Tuesday, March 21, 2000


Dewey J. Jones, Petitioner v. United States (No. 99-5739)

Subject:
Commerce Clause, 18 U.S.C. § 844(i), arson

Question:
Whether, in light of United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), and the interpretive rule that constitutionally doubtful constructions should be avoided, see DeBartolo Corp. v. Florida Gulf Coast Trades Council, 485 U.S. 568, 575 (1988), Section 844(i) applies to the arson of a private residence; and if so, whether its application to the private residence in the present case is constitutional.

Decisions:

Briefs:


Roger Reeves, Petitioner v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc. (No. 99-536)

Subject:
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), standard of proof

Question:

  1. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, is direct evidence of discriminatory intent required to avoid judgment as a matter of law for the employer?

  2. In determining whether to grant judgment as a matter of law under Fed. R. Civ. P. 50, should a district judge weigh all of the evidence or consider only the evidence favoring the nonmoving party?
  3. Is the standard for granting judgment as a matter of law under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 the same standard for granting judgment as a matter of law under Fed. R. Civ. P. 50?

    Decisions:

    Briefs:


    Wednesday, March 22, 2000


    Natsios, MA Sec. of Finance v. Natl. Foreign Trade Council (No. 99-474)

    Subject:
    Massachusetts Burma Law, Supremacy Clause, Foreign Commerce Clause, foreign policy, human rights

    Question:
    Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit correctly held that the Commonwelth of Massachusett's selective purchasing law targeting commerce with Burma violates the Constitution's Foreign Commerce Clause, unconstitutionally infringes upon the federal government's exclusive authority to regulate foreign affairs, and is preempted by federal Burma sanctions legislation.

    Decisions:

    Briefs:


    Mobil Oil Exploration and Producing Southeast, Inc. v. United States (No. 99-244)

    Subject:
    Outer Banks Protection Act, breach of contract, oil exploration

    Question:
    Whether the United States, after having accepted consideration from a government contrator, is required to return that consideration (i.e. pay restitution) when subsequent government action bars the United States from performing its contractual obligations.

    Decisions:

    Briefs:


    Marathon Oil Company, Petitioner v. United States (No. 99-253)

    Subject:
    Outer Banks Protection Act, breach of contract, oil exploration

    Question:
    Whether the United States, after having accepted consideration from a government contrator, is required to return that consideration (i.e. pay restitution) when subsequent government action bars the United States from performing its contractual obligations.

    Decisions:

    Briefs: See Mobil.


    Monday, March 27, 2000


    Robin Free, et al. v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., et al. (No. 99-391)

    Subject:
    Civil procedure, jurisdiction, antitrust, price fixing

    Question:
    Whether the supplemental jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. 1367, overrules Zahn v. International Paper Co., 414 U.S. 291 (1973), and thus expands federal subject matter jurisdiction in a class action to encompass class members whose claims do not satisfy the amount-in-controversy requirment of 28 U.S.C. 1332, as long as diversity jurisdiction exists over the claims of one named plaintiff.

    Decisions:

    Briefs:


    Donald E. Nelson v. Adams USA, Inc., et al. (No. 99-502)

    Subject:
    Attorney fees

    Question:
    Whether a patent applicant who engaged in inequitable conduct may be joined as a party and held liable for attorneys' fees in litigation instituted by his corporation to enforce patents obtained as the fruits of his inequitable conduct, and if so, whether the District Court abused its discretion when it allowed such joinder.

    Decisions:

    Briefs:


    Tuesday, March 28, 2000


    Charles C. Apprendi, Jr. v. New Jersey (No. 99-478)

    Subject:
    Hate crime, sentence enhancement, burden of proof

    Question:
    Whether New Jersey violates Fifth Amendment Due Process rights and Sixth Amendment guarantees of notice and jury trial by providing that a defendant's maximum punishment may be increased from ten to twenty years based solely upon a finding by a sentencing judge under a preponderance of the evidence standard, without notice by indictment and jury trial, that the defendant had the requisite intent necessary to establish a "hate" crime.

    Decisions:

    Briefs:


    Juatassa Sims v. Kenneth S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security (No. 98-9537)

    Subject:
    Social Security, administrative appeal, waiver

    Question:
    Whether a federal court can impose an issue exhaustion requirement upon Social Security claimants to bar issues that were not specifically raised during the administrative process.

    Decisions:

    Briefs:


    Wednesday, March 29, 2000


    Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, Jane, etc., et al. (No. 99-62)

    Subject:
    First Amendment, Establishment Clause, school prayer

    Question:
    Whether petitioner's policy permitting student-led, student-initiated prayer at football games violates the Establishment Clause.

    Decisions:

    Briefs:


    Antonio Tonton Slack v. Eldon McDaniel, Warden, et al. (No. 98-6322)
    [Reargument, first argued October 4, 1999]

    Subject:
    Habeas corpus

    Question:

    1. Do the provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), specifically including 28 U.S.C. 2253(c) and 28 U.S.C. 2244(b) (Supp. III 1997), control the proceedings on appeal?

    2. If AEDPA does control the proceedings on appeal, may a certificate of appealability issue under 28 U.S.C. 2253(c) (Supp. III 1997)? Decisions: Briefs:

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