Petitions / Supreme Court Activity

Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. With respect to granted cases, ten amicus briefs were filed in support of the petitioner in Rudisill v. McDonough. With respect to petitions, three new petitions were filed with the Court, one in a patent case, one in a veterans case, and one in a pro se case. Additionally, two amicus briefs were filed in a Tucker Act case and a waiver of right to respond was filed in a patent case. Here are the details.

Granted Cases

Ten amicus briefs were filed in Rudisill v. McDonough, a veterans case regarding educational benefits. All support the petitioner:

  • American Legion filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.
  • National Veterans Legal Services Program, Service Women’s Action Network, Veterans Education Success, and Student Veterans of America filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.
  • The Edison Electric Institute, Center for Energy Workforce Development, Veterans in Energy, The American Public Gas Association, Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia, Inc. and The Nuclear Energy Institute filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.
  • Ten Veterans filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.
  • The National Institute of Military Justice filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.
  • Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.
  • Senator Tim Kaine, Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan, and fourteen other members of Congress filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.
  • The Commonwealth of Virginia, thirty-nine other states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands filed an amicus brief in support of petitioner.

Petition Cases

New Petitions

Three new petitions were filed with the Court.

In Intel Corp. v. Vidal, a patent case, Intel submitted the following question to the Court for review:

  • “[W]hether 35 U.S.C. § 314(d), which bars judicial review of ‘[t]he determination . . . whether to institute an inter partes review,’ applies even when no institution decision is challenged to preclude review of PTO rules setting standards governing institution decisions.”

In Crews v. McDonough, a veterans case, Crews asked the Court to review the following question:

  • “When Congress enacted 38 U.S.C. § 5121A to authorize for the substitution of a deceased claimant was its intent clear that a substituted appellant could take any action that the deceased claimant could have taken prior to his or her death?”

In Martin v. Bexar County, a pro se case, Martin submitted the following questions for review:

  1. “Whether a removal action supported by 28 USC 1338 and 1454 is justiciable by way of a district court order of remand issued pursuant to 28 USC 1447?”
  2. “Whether the jurisdictional scheme embodied by Sperry v. Florida, 373 U.S. 379 (1963), and by codified grants of jurisdiction in 28 USC 1295(a), confer exclusive appellate jurisdiction upon the Federal Circuit, notwithstanding an order of remand issued pursuant to 28 USC 1447 by the federal district court where the notice of removal was filed?”

Amicus Briefs

Two amicus briefs were filed in Indiana Municipal Power Agency v. United States, a case concerning the federal government’s alleged statutory and contractual obligations under the Tucker Act. The petition presented the following questions:

  1. “Whether a payment obligation imposed by Congress on the federal government under a money-mandating statute and specifically exempted from later reduction can be reduced, without congressional repeal, by agencies based on administrative interpretations of later-enacted statutes that make no reference to the payment obligation contained in the earlier statute.”
  2. “Whether a statutory provision creates a contractual obligation when its language and the parties’ course of dealing reflect an intent to contract by the government.”

International Municipal Lawyers Association filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioner. The Association explains how, under the Build America Bonds program (BABs), state and local bond issuers issued taxable bonds “in reliance on Congress’s promise to refund 35% of the interest payments on the bonds.” The Association argues that, if the federal government were then allowed to dismiss this promise, it would “make intergovernmental cooperation harder, compromise core state functions that merit constitutional protection, and allow unelected and unaccountable administrators to skirt the ‘political safeguards of federalism.’” According to the Association, moreover, not holding the federal government to its obligation would “force states and localities to shoulder unexpected financial burdens” and “have grave implications for our constitutional structure.”

American Public Power Association and Large Public Power Council filed an amicus brief also in support of Indiana Municipal Power Agency. They argue this case will have “significant ramifications for other existing and future government programs” because, they say, the government’s actions have “diminished many issuers’ faith that the agencies of the federal government will fairly administer these kinds of direct subsidy programs.” They assert the statutory language of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which established the BABs program, “reinforces the conclusion that Congress intended to bind the federal government.”

Waiver of Right to Respond

The County of Bexar, Texas; the City of San Antonio, Texas; and the San Antonio Independent School District waived their right to respond to the petition in Martin v. Bexar County, the pro se case already mentioned.