The Supreme Court released the argument calendar for the February sitting yesterday. Over a two-week period, the justices will hear oral arguments in seven cases on five different days, beginning on Tuesday, February 21. (Monday, February 20 is a federal holiday.) Only two of the five days – Tuesday, February 20 and Monday, February 27) – will feature two oral arguments; the remaining three days will feature only one argument per day.
Three cases that were granted in January 2016 – Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, Murr v. Wisconsin and Microsoft v. Baker – are once again absent from the argument calendar. Under the court’s normal procedures, they likely would have been slated for oral argument by fall of this year. There has been no explanation from the court for the delay in hearing oral argument in those cases, but all three address hot-button issues that could easily give rise to a four-four tie in the wake of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The justices are almost certainly delaying the oral argument in the hope that a ninth justice will be appointed, hoping to avoid a tie vote that would leave the law unsettled.
A list of the cases on the February calendar, along with a brief description of the issue in the case, follows.
- Hernández v. Mesa (February 21; granted October 11): Extraterritorial application of the Fourth Amendment to the cross-border shooting of a Mexican youth by a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
- McLane Co. v. EEOC (February 21; granted September 29): Standard of review for a district court’s decision to quash or enforce an EEOC subpoena.
- Kindred Nursing Centers v. Clark (February 22; granted October 28): Federal Arbitration Act and pre-emption of state-law contract rule.
- Packingham v. North Carolina (February 27; granted October 28): Constitutionality of state’s limits on use of social media by sex offenders.
- Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch (February 27; granted October 28): Whether a conviction for consensual sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old, when the defendant was 20 and 21, constitutes an “aggravated felony” for purposes of immigration law.
- Dean v. United States (February 28; granted October 28): Use of the mandatory consecutive sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), which makes it a crime to use or carry a firearm during a crime of violence, in determining a sentence for the felony that serves as the basis for the Section 924(c) conviction.
- Coventry Health Care of Missouri v. Nevils (March 1; granted November 4): Pre-emption by Federal Employee Health Benefits Act.