9 Most Interesting Upcoming Supreme Court Cases


It's been a crazy week for the Supreme Court, with major decisions being handed down on key issues such as marriage equality and voting rights. With the current term drawing to a close, what better course of action to take then to look at some of the more intriguing cases that the court has decided to take up for the upcoming October term?

Here are the nine most interesting upcoming cases:

1. Lawson v. FMR, LLC

What's at stake here is a portion of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which stipulates that publicly-traded companies, mutual funds, or contractors cannot discriminate against employees under terms of employment as a result of protected activity. A First Circuit ruling held that under this portion of SOA, privately-held contractors/subcontractors are not subject to the discrimination clause. The question here is "Are employees working for privately held employer subject to protection outlined in SOA?"

2. Sandifer v. United States Steele Corp.

From the Supreme Court website:

"Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the period of time during which a covered employee must be paid begins when the worker engages in a principal activity. However, under section 203(o) of the Act an employer need not compensate a worker for time spent in "changing clothes" (even if it is a principal activity) if that time is expressly excluded from compensable time under a bona fide collective bargaining agreement applicable to that worker.

The interrelated questions presented are:

(1) What constitutes "changing clothes" within the meaning of section 203(o)?

(2) If a worker's actions are a principal activity but fall within the scope of the section 203(o) exemption, do those actions nonetheless commence the period of time during which (aside from the clothes-changing time) the worker must be compensated?

(3) If a worker engages in a principal activity which is not exempted by section 203(), but which involves only a de minimis amount of time, does the activity nonetheless commence the period of time during which the worker must be compensated?"

3. BG Group PLC v. Republic Of Argentina

It's rather straightforward. From the Supreme Court website:

In disputes involving a multi-staged dispute resolution process, does a court or instead the arbitrator determine whether a precondition to arbitration has been satisfied?

4. United States v. Apel

This case deals with whether 18 U.S.C. 1382, which prohibits a person from re-entering a military installation after a commanding officer has ordered him not to reenter, may be enforced on a portion of a military installation that is subject to a public roadway easement.

5. NLRB v. Noel Canning

This one deals with recess appointments. From the Supreme Court Website, the issues here are:

"1. Whether the President's recess-appointment power may be exercised during a recess that occurs within a session of the Senate, or is instead limited to recesses that occur between enumerated sessions of the Senate.

2. Whether the President's recess-appointment power may be exercised to fill vacancies that exist during a recess, or is instead limited to vacancies that first arose during that recess."


6. Walden v. Fiore:

This case deals more with issues of jurisdiction. Questions raised here are:

"1. Whether due process permits a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant whose sole 'contact' with the forum State is his knowledge that the plaintiff has connections to that State.

2. Whether the judicial district where the plaintiff suffered injury is a district 'in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred' for purposes of establishing venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) even if the defendant's alleged acts and omissions all occurred in another district."

7. Burrage v. United States

According to the Supreme Court Website, the issues here are:

"1. Whether the crime of distribution of drugs causing death under 21 U.S.C. § 841 is a strict liability crime, without a foreseeability or proximate cause requirement. 

2. Whether a person can be convicted for distribution of heroin causing death utilizing jury instructions which allow a conviction when the heroin that was distributed 'contributed to,' 

8. DaimlerChryslerR AG V. Bauman

The issue here appears to be one of jurisdiction vis-à-vis international corporations, as spelled out here:

"The question presented is whether it violates due process for a court to exercise general personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation based solely on the fact that an indirect corporate subsidiary performs services on behalf of the defendant in the forum State."

9. Michigan V. Bay Mills Indian Community

From the Supreme Court Website:

"The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq. (IGRA), authorizes an Indian tribe to conduct class III gaming under limited circumstances and only on 'Indian lands.' 25 U.S.C. § 2710(d)(1). This dispute involves a federal court's authority to enjoin an Indian tribe from operating an illegal casino located off of 'Indian lands.' The petition presents two recurring questions of jurisprudential significance that have divided the circuits:

1. Whether a federal court has jurisdiction to enjoin activity that violates IGRA but takes place outside of Indian lands.

2. Whether tribal sovereign immunity bars a state from suing in federal court to enjoin a tribe from violating IGRA outside of Indian lands."