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Next Week's SCOTUS Oral Arguments: 3 Exciting, 3 Not So Much

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 31, 2014 1:25 PM

With all the holidays over the next couple of months, the U.S. Supreme Court is going to be in and out of session on a very irregular schedule. Some weeks will only have a few oral arguments, many weeks will have none. And next week? Next week's oral arguments at the Court are some of the most interesting you'll see before the New Year.

There's national security versus a whistleblower. There's sawed-off shotties, destroyed fish, presidential power versus passports, a Truth in Lending Act case, and a case about securities that few beyond the actual parties to the case will actually be paying attention to.

Here are three cases we're excited about, and three that ... well ... every record has a B-side, right?

Three to Watch

1. Zivotofsky v. Kerry (Monday, November 3): The Jerusalem passport case.

The United States refuses to recognize Jerusalem as a part of Israel, Palestine, or any other nation. Congress passed a law in 2002 that allows Jerusalem-born U.S. citizens to specify Israel as their birthplace.

Recognizing Jerusalem as part of Israel, or part of Palestine, or part of anything would make a lot of people angry. Both Bush and Obama have argued that the law is a constitutional overreach and the D.C. Circuit agreed with the executives' position. The Supreme Court will now decide "whether the provision impermissibly infringes on the President's exercise of the recognition power reposing exclusively in him."

2. Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean (Tuesday, November 4):

We won't spill too much more ink in this case (until the opinion drops) because we've already covered it exhaustively this month. Here's the one-liner: A federal air marshal learns that the TSA is planning on pulling marshals from all flights, leaks the news, is lauded as a hero by Congress and others, and then is fired after the information is retroactively designated as confidential. See our recent Federal Circuit post for everything you'll ever want to know about the case.

3. Johnson v. United States (Wednesday, November 5):

A white supremacist once had a sawed-off shotgun. Now, facing new gun charges after a series of other convictions, the courts want to classify mere possession of that shotgun as a violent felony for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA).

Three to Read About Later

1. Omnicare v. Laborers District Council (Monday, November 3):

I don't know how to make this case interesting. Omnicare was allegedly into some shady stuff involving false Medicare claims and kickbacks to pharmaceutical companies that overvalued its public offering of stock. Investors are pissed. According to Oyez, all of their claims, except one, were tossed because they couldn't show knowledge of wrongdoing.

The question is, does that one remaining claim, filed under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, require pleading scienter of wrongdoing on part of the defendant?

2. Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans (Tuesday, November 4):

This is a Truth in Lending Act (TILA) lawsuit involving rescinded loans. There is a three-year limit on rescinding the loan. The Jesinoskis told Countrywide within three years that they wanted to rescind their loan, but didn't file suit until after the deadline, reports Oyez. SCOTUSblog says that there is a big circuit split on the issue. Us? We need more coffee.

3. Yates v. United States (Wednesday, November 5):

OK, if fact patterns counted, this one would be on the "must watch" list. We covered it when it was granted on our Eleventh Circuit blog, so again, we'll keep it short: Dude got prosecuted under an Enron-inspired destruction of evidence law when he threw his frozen, too-short-to-be-legal red grouper back into the ocean. This one is all about notice: Is there any way someone would be put on notice that his conduct was illegal when he's getting prosecuted for flipping fish, rather than destroying banking records?

So why is case not on the must-watch list? We just figured ACCA gun violations were more common than red grouper cases.

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This has nothing to do with anything, but:

Which of these upcoming Supreme Court cases are you most excited about? Tell us on Twitter @FindLawLP.

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