Last week, it seemed silly for the Supreme Court to waste time on its February oral argument calendar because -- hello -- the end of the world was scheduled for the end of the week.
But since that turned out to be a big dud, let's take a look at the key issues in the 10 cases on the High Court's post-Valentine's Day docket.
Tuesday, February 19:
- Millbrook v. United States -- Whether federal prison guards can be sued for sexual assault on an inmate.
- Bowman v. Monsanto Co. -- Examining patent exhaustion in the context of genetically-modified self-replicating seeds.
Wednesday, February 20:
- McBurney v. Young -- Whether states can limit non-citizens' access to public records.
- PPL Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue -- Refining the definition of foreign tax credit under U.S. tax code.
Monday, February 25:
- McQuiggin v. Perkins -- Whether there is an actual-innocence exception to the AEDPA requirement that a petitioner show an extraordinary circumstance that prevented timely filing of a habeas petition.
- Trevino v. Thaler -- Considering a procedural bar to an ineffective counsel claim.
Tuesday, February 26:
- Peugh v. United States -- Whether a defendant is entitled to a lesser sentence if the penalty for a crime is increased after the crime is committed, but before the defendant is tried.
- Maryland v. King -- Can authorities take DNA samples from arrested, but unconvicted, defendants?
Wednesday, February 27:
- Shelby County v. Holder -- Examining the Voting Rights Act.
- American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant -- Whether courts can invalidate arbitration agreements because they don't permit permit class arbitration of a federal-law claim.
The Voting Rights Act will get a lot of attention because everyone loves a VRA dispute, and a number of states will be watching the Maryland DNA collection test case to see if their own DNA collection laws will survive Supreme Court scrutiny.
- February Oral Argument Calendar (Supreme Court)
- 2012 Term: What's on the Calendar for the January Sitting? (FindLaw's Supreme Court Blog)
- Supreme Court Grants Same-Sex Marriage Petitions (FindLaw's Supreme Court Blog)