The U.S. Supreme Court’s fall term starts October 1…check out this preview of some noteworthy cases from FNC’s Shannon Bream.
SHELL OIL ACCUSED OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
OCTOBER 1ST Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co: This stems from a huge international uproar. A number of Nigerian citizens say they (or relatives) were injured/tortured/killed by the Nigerian government – which used military forces to “quell” resistance to a number of oil companies’ drilling in the Ogoni region. SHELL OIL is named in this case. It has been through several federal courts – including a brief visit to SCOTUS once before. Bottom line question is sort of a technical one – whether corporations can be sued for human rights abuses under certain circumstances.
FED GOVT VIOLATING ONLINE PRIVACY?
OCTOBER 2nd: US v. Bormes: An atty who used his credit card to pay filing fees on line is suing because the govt. allegedly allowed his some of his credit card info to be exposed. He’s filed a class action lawsuit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Question: does the fed govt have immunity from these kinds of lawsuits?
STATES RIGHTS: ARKANSAS VS. THE FEDS
OCTOBER 3rd: Arkansas Game & Fish v. US: The feds periodically released water from an upstate dam – flooding timber land and hunting land owned by the state. The state argues that the flooding amounts to a “taking” because of lost revenue – and the feds should pay up. Feds say the flooding is temporary – never permanent – so there’s no “taking”.
*** THE BIGGIE – AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ***
Fisher v. University of Texas – A white female says she was passed over for admission b/c the UT criteria does consider race. She’s suing under the Equal Protection Clause of 14th Amendment – arguing that the policy allowed less qualified minorities to take her spot. This is EASILY one of the biggest cases of the entire term. It will force the Court to revisit its key affirmative action cases – and the make-up of the bench has changed quite a bit since the last one in 2003.
CHALLENGE TO WIRETAP LAW
OCTOBER 29th: Clapper v. Amnesty Intl USA: This lawsuit comes from lawyers, journalists and other organizations who fear their sensitive communications may inadvertently be monitored by the government under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). At issue is whether these groups have STANDING to go ahead and sue when none can prove that this has actually happened to them.
SEARCH AND SEIZURE SHOWDOWN
OCTOBER 30TH: Bailey v. US: Police were watching a man and his apt while awaiting a search warrant. The suspect left and police followed him, stopping him about a mile away and taking him back to the apt. Once the search warrant was executed – police found enough evidence that led to a conviction and 30 yr sentence on drug/weapons charges. The defendant argues that his 4th Am rights against unlawful search and seizure were violated because he had LEFT the area that was subject to the search warrant – and “unconstitutionally” taken back there by police.
DOG SNIFF SNAFU?
OCTOBER 31ST: Florida v. Jardines: Police in Miami-Dade got a Crimestoppers tip about possible drug activity. Officer approached the apt in question with a drug sniffing dog. The dog alerted to narcotics and one officer smelled marijuana. They left and got a search warrant based on those two things – then returned. A drug growing operation was uncovered inside the apt – the resident was arrested and charged with trafficking. He fought to have all the evidence suppressed – arguing that the initial dog sniff that started the whole case wasn’t legit. Was the dog sniff a search triggering 4th Amendment protections?
***A related case (Florida v. Harris) will be heard the same day – it deals with a drug sniffing dog alerting on a vehicle during a routine traffic stop. Meth supplies were uncovered, defendant eventually convicted on drug charges.