Supreme Court Opening Day

The first Monday in October (today) is Supreme Court opening day! Two other traditions coincide with this tradition. First is State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) Supreme Court Preview webinar. Second is the results of the Supreme Court’s “long” conference.

The SLLC Supreme Court Preview webinar is scheduled for October 13 at noon eastern time. The webinar is free; it will cover the cases of interest to state and local government, accepted so far, to be decided during its2016-2017 term. Speakers include Misha Tseytlin, Wisconsin Solicitor General, who will argue a takings case this term, Deepak GuptaGupta Wessler, who will write an amicus brief for the SLLC in a fair housing case, and Amy Howe, reporter, SCOTUSblog.

Petitions pile up over the summer. Right before the term begins the Justices meet for their “long” conference and typically accept about 10 cases. This year they accepted eight. Four of them affect state government and will be covered in more detail in this blog shortly. 

  • The issue in Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman is whether state statutes prohibiting vendors from charging more to credit-card customers violate the First Amendment. Ten states and Puerto Ricoprohibit credit-card surcharges.
  • The question in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District is whether student with disabilities must receive a “meaningful” education benefit versus “some” education benefit from their individualized education program, per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • The Colorado Supreme Court refused to refund to Shannon Nelson court fees and costs after her conviction for sexually assaulting her children was overturned and a jury acquitted her. The court ruled she must pursue a refund under Colorado’s Exoneration Act. The Court will decide in Nelson v. Colorado whether Colorado Exoneration Act’s requirement that defendants must prove their innocence by clear and convincing evidence to get their money back, after reversal of conviction of a crime entailing various monetary penalties, is consistent with due process.
  • At a glance Lee v. Tam may not see particularly relevant to state government. The issue in the case is whether the Lanham Act’s bar on registering scandalous, immoral, or disparaging marks violates the First Amendment. Most states adopted the Model State Trademark Act in the 1960s which also bars state mark registration for similar reasons.

The Court will continue accepting cases through the middle of January 2017 to be decided this term (ending June 30, 2017).