Petitions of the week

This week we highlight petitions pending before the Supreme Court that address, among other things, whether a noncitizen, who may not apply for relief from removal if he has been convicted of a disqualifying offense listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act, is barred from applying for relief if his record of conviction is merely ambiguous as to whether it corresponds with an INA offense; and whether the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury had statutory authority under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to expand the conscience exemption to the contraceptive-coverage mandate.

The petitions of the week are below the jump:

Athena Diagnostics Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services, LLC
19-430
Issue: Whether a new and specific method of diagnosing a medical condition is patent-eligible subject matter, when the method detects a molecule never previously linked to the condition using novel man-made molecules and a series of specific chemical steps never previously performed.

Sutherland v. United States
19-433
Issues: (1) Whether, when a defendant makes false statements to a United States Attorney’s Office in an effort to persuade that office to decline prosecution, the objective institutional relationship of that office with the grand jury satisfies the “nexus” required for obstruction or attempted obstruction of a grand jury proceeding under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), regardless of whether the defendant subjectively knew, understood or believed the false documents would be given to the grand jury; and (2) whether, when a prosecutor commits misconduct in summation by misstating evidence relevant to an essential element of the offense, but the defendant fails to object, the fact that the district court provided the jury a standard instruction that “arguments are not evidence” necessarily precludes reversal on appeal for plain error based on the prosecutor’s misconduct.

Pereida v. Barr
19-438
Issue: Whether a criminal conviction bars a noncitizen from applying for relief from removal when the record of conviction is merely ambiguous as to whether it corresponds to an offense listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Trump v. Pennsylvania
19-454
Issues: (1) Whether the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury had statutory authority under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to expand the conscience exemption to the contraceptive-coverage mandate; (2) whether the agencies’ decision to forgo notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing the interim final rules rendered the final rules – which were issued after notice and comment – invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act; and (3) whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit erred in affirming a nationwide preliminary injunction barring implementation of the final rules.

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