Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. With respect to the Supreme Court’s October 2021 term, the Court still has not granted any petitions to hear any case decided by the Federal Circuit. As for still-pending petitions, one new petition was filed in a veterans case challenging the Federal Circuit’s alleged failure to apply the pro-veteran canon of statutory interpretation. Additionally, a petitioner filed a reply in support of its petition, which raised questions relating to the application of equitable tolling for recovering retroactive disability benefits. Moreover, since our last update, one waiver of right to respond was filed in a patent case. Lastly, the Supreme Court denied four petitions: two in patent cases, one in a veterans case, and one filed by a pro se petitioner. Here are the details.
As mentioned, this term the Court has not granted any petitions to hear any case decided by the Federal Circuit.
One new petition was filed in Buffington v. McDonough, asking the Court to review the following two questions:
- “Whether the Chevron doctrine permits courts to defer to VA’s construction of a statute designed to benefit veterans, without first considering the pro-veteran canon of construction.”
- “Whether Chevron should be overruled.”
In Arellano v. McDonough, which raises questions relating to the application of equitable tolling for recovering retroactive disability benefits, Arellano filed a reply in support of the petition. In the reply, Arellano challenged the respondent’s contention that “the rebuttable presumption of equitable tolling applies only to traditional statutes of limitations.” According to Arellano, previous case law establishes that “equitable tolling can apply to unique timing provisions found in statutory schemes such as government benefits programs, even if they do not have a precise private analogue and do not necessarily satisfy a traditional or strict definition of a statute of limitations.” Given a Federal Circuit split regarding key issues in this case, Arellano maintained that this case is ripe for review and is an ideal vehicle for the Supreme Court to resolve the disputed issues.
Waiver of Right to Respond
The Court denied four petitions: