Filed State Amicus Briefs 2007-2009 AG Carter

Case/Issue Name Case No. Stage Authoring State Join Deadline Case Summary Joined?  
Virginia v. Jaynes 08-765 SCOTUS Cert AL 1/7/09 The petition seeks review of a Virginia Supreme Court decision striking down Virginia's anti-spam statute on its face, even though the vast majority of the statute's applications are constitutional. (The court held that the statute was unconstitutional as applied to political and religious speech, but did not dispute that it is constitutional as applied to commercial speech - the predominant type of spam. It then held that the statute must be invalidate on its face.) Yes  
Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs 07-1372 SCOTUS Cert WA 12/10/08 The question presented in this case is: "In the Joint Resolution to Acknowledge the 100th Anniversary of the January 17, 1893 Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Congress acknowledged and apologized for the United States' role in that overthrow. The question here is whether this symbolic resolution strips Hawaii of its sovereign authority to sell, exchange, or transfer 1.2 million acres of state land - 29 % of the total land area of the State and almost all the land owned by the State - unless and until it reaches a political settelment with native Hawaiians about the status of that land." Yes  
North Carolina v. EPA 05-1244 US DC Cir NY 11/4/08 Arguing that the D.C. Circuit should stay its mandate vacating a Clean Air Act rule while EPA fixes the flaws the court has identified with the rule. Because this is an unusual posture in which to file an amicus, New York has also prepared a motion for permission to file an amicus.

New York and other states filed an amicus brief in partial support of North Carolina at the merits stage of this case, challenging one aspect of the rule. This amicus brief addresses the separate issue of an interim remedy.
Vermont v. Brillon 08-88 SCOTUS Merits UT 11/3/08 Under review is a Vermont Supreme Ccourt decision vacating a conviction on the ground that the defendant's speedy trial rights were violated - even though though the continuances and delays were caused by the indegent defendant's public defenders. The Vermont Supreme Court reasoned that the public defender's "office is part of the criminal justice system," and that, therefore, "a significant portion" of the delay "is attributable to the criminal justice system provided by the state." Yes  
Alabama v. Pope 08-345 SCOTUS Cert VA 10/16/08 Whether a litigant who requests and obtains the same relief as the party from whom he seeks attorneys' fees-and whose interests are therefore aligned with those of the would-be fee payer-is a "prevailing party" entitled to fees within the meaning of federal fee-shifting statutes Yes  
Graham Cty Soil & Water v. USA 08-304 SCOTUS Cert PA 10/7/08 The question presented is whether an audit and investigation performed by a State or its political subdivision constitutes an "administrative . . . report . . . audit, or investitgation" within the meaning of the public disclosure jurisdictional bar of the False Calims Act, 31 USC 3730(e)(4)(A). Yes  
Bell v. Kelly 07-1223 SCOTUS Merits ID 10/1/08 In this capital case, petitioner claims he is entitled to relief under Strickland v. Washington based upon his trial counsel's constitutionally deficient mitigation investigation. Applying the deferential standard of 28 USC 2254(d), the Fourth Circuit held that the state court did not act unreasonably in concluding that petitioner failed to show prejudice. The question presented is whether "the deferential standard of 28 USC 2254(d), which is reserved for claims 'idjudicated on the merits' in state court, [applies] to evaluate a claim predicated on evidence of prejudice the state court refused to consider and that was properly received for the first time in federal evidentiary hearing." Yes  
Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts 07-591 SCOTUS Merits AL 9/5/08 At issue is whether a state forensic analyst's laboratory report prepared for use in a criminal prosecution is "testimonial" evidence subject to the Confrontation Clause as set forth in Crawford Yes  
Arizona v. Johnson 07-1122 SCOTUS Merits IL 9/4/08 At issue is whether, in the context of a vehicular stop for a minor traffic infraction, an officer may conduct a pat-down search of a passenger when the officer has an articulable basis to believe that the passenger might be armed and presently dangerous, but has no reasonable grounds to believe that the passenger is committing, or has committed, a criminal offense. Yes  
Hannon v. Beard 08-326 SCOTUS Cert IN 8/20/08 The question presented will be: "May a state official be sued in another state, consistent with principles of due process and state sovereignty, for a decision made in the official's home state and pursuant to the official's duties?" Authored  
Wyeth v. Levine 06-1249 SCOTUS Merits VT 8/8/08 FDA's approval of a label for a drug does not impliedly preempt a state tort law failure-to-warn claim that is premised on the inadequacy of the drug label Yes  
Utility Water Act Grp v. Riverkeeper 07-588 07-589 07-597 SCOTUS Merits NE 7/18/08 The question presented in these consolidated cases is whether 316(b) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1326(b), authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to Compare costs with benefits in determining the "best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact" at cooling water intake structures.
Siesta Village Market v Perry 08-10146 US 5th Cir OH 7/11/08 Under review is a district court ruling that provisions of the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code violate the dormant Commerce Clause. Yes  
Van de Kamp v. Goldstein 07-854 SCOTUS Merits KS 7/3/08 The issue in the case can be described as follows: Under Imbler v. Pachtman 424 U.S. 409 (1976), individual prosecutors are absolutely immune for 1983 liability based on their decision to present false testimony or suppress evidence. At issue here is whether an elected District Attorney and his chief deputy can nonetheless be subjected to liability based on their (alleged) "failure to promulgate policies regarding the sharing of information relating to informants and their failure to adequately train and supervise deputy district attorneys on that subject." Yes  
Altria Group v Good 07-562 SCOTUS Merits ME 6/16/08 At issue is whether claims that a "light" cigarette manufacturer violated state law prohibiting deceptive trade practices are expressly pre-empted by 15 USC 1334(b) on the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (FCLAA), or impliedly pre-empted by the Federal Trade Commission's policy regarding tar and nicotine descriptors. The amicus brief will argue that the claims are not preempted. Yes  
Pearson v. Callahan 07-751 SCOTUS Merits IL 6/11/08 This case presents three questions: (1) Does the "consent-once-removed" exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement authorize police officers to enter a home without a warrant immediately after an undercover informant buys drugs inside (as Sixth and Seventh Circuits have held), or does the warrantless entry in such circumstances violate the Fourth Amendement (as the Tenth Circuit held below)? (2) Did the Tenth Circuit properly deny qualified immunity when the only decisions directly on point had all upheld similar warrantless entries? (3) Should the Supreme Court's decision in Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194 (2001), be overruled? Yes  
Oregon v. Ice 07-901 SCOTUS Merits IN 6/9/08 Whether, under Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) and Blakely v. Washington (2004), a sentencing judge violates the Sixth Amendment by imposing consecutive sentences based on a fact not found by the jury or admitted by the defendant. Authored  
Ysursa v. Pocatello Educ Assn 07-869 SCOTUS Merits UT 5/30/08 Idaho law prohibits payroll deductions for unions' political activities. Under review is a Ninth Circuit decision holding that application of that law to school districts and other local governmental entities violates the First Amendment. The court ruled that, even though local governments may decline thier employees' requests for political-activity payroll deductions, the state government may not mandate that rule because the state is not the "proprietor" of the local governments's payroll systems Yes  
Kansas v Ventris 07-1356 SCOTUS Cert NM 5/28/08 "Whether a criminal defendant's 'voluntary statement obtained in the absence of a knowing and voluntary waiver of the [Sixth Amendment] right to counsel,' Michigan v. Harvey, 494 U.S. 344, 354 (1990), is admissible for impeachment purposes -- a question the Court expressly left open in Harvey, and which has resulted in a deep and enduring split of authority in the Circuits and state courts of last resort?" Yes  
Arizona v. Gant 07-542 SCOTUS Merits FL 5/16/08 The question presented is: Does the Fourth Amendment require law enforcement officers to demonstrate a threat to their safety or a need to preserve evidence related to the crime of arrest in order to justify a warrantless search incident to arrest conducted after the vehicles recent occupants have been arrested and secured? Yes  
Giles v California 07-6053 SCOTUS Merits IL 3/25/08 At issue is whether a criminal defendant forfeits his or her Confrontation Clause rights upon a showing that the defendant engaged in intentional misconduct that foreseeably caused a crucial prosecution witness to become unavailable to testify at trial, or whether there must also be a showing that the defedant's actions were undertaken with the specific intent of preventing the witness's testimony.
District of Columbia v. Heller 07-290 SCOTUS Merits TX 2/8/08 Whether the Second Amendment forbids the DC from banning private possession of handguns while allowing possession of rifles and shotguns Yes  
State of Iowa v. Bentley 07-886 SCOTUS Cert MO 2/5/08 Whether a child hospitalized for psychiatric treatment gives "testimony" for purposes of the Confrontation Clause as enunciated in Crawford v. Washington Yes  
Baze v. Rees 07-5439 SCOTUS Merits TX 12/6/07 Whether Kentucky’s protocol for administering lethal injections violates the Eighth Amendment Yes  
Meadwestvaco v. Illinois 06-1413 SCOTUS Merits CA 12/5/07 Whether due process clause permits Illinois to tax income earned by petitioner a non-domicilliary corp on the sale of one of its subsidiaries on the theory that the subsidiary performed an operational function for petitioner Yes  
Medellin v. Texas 06-984 SCOTUS Merits VA 8/21/07 The President's unilateral decision that private parties should be able to enforce a decision of the International Court of Justice in state courts Yes  
Rowe v. NH Motor transport Ass'n Amicus 06-457 SCOTUS Cert CA 8/21/07 Review of a 1st Cir decision holding that the FAA Auth Act of 1994 preempts key provisions of Maine's Tobacco delivery law Yes  
Figueroa v. Sharper Image Corp 05-21251 US SD of FL TN 7/18/07 The amicus brief argues that the class action settlement proposed by both the plaintiffs and the defendant - which provides each household with a $19 coupon to be used within a year only on Sharper Image branded merchandise - shold be rejected by the court because it does not address the plaintiffs' central allegations that Sharper Image's Ionic Breeze line of air purifiers are ineffecte at performing their chief air purifying function, and emit harmful levels of ozone. Yes  
Kentucky Department of Revunue v. Davis 06-666 SCOTUS Merits NC 7/15/07 At issue is whether a state violates the dormant Commerce Clause by providing an exemption from its income tax for interest income derived from bonds issued by the state and its political subdivision, while treating interest income realized from bonds issued by other states and their political subdivisions as taxable to the same extent, and in the same manner, as interest earned on bonds issued by commercial entities, whether domestic or foreign. Yes  
Cherry Hill Vineyard v. Baldacci 07-1513 US 1st Cir NJ 7/5/07 Maine law prohibits the direct shipment of alcohol to consumers. With some exceptions, producers of alcohol must sell to wholesalers, who then sell to reailers, who then sell to consumers. One exception is that small wineries (known as "farm wineries") may sell directly to consumers, but only in an on-site face-to-face transaction. The face-to-face transaction requirement is intended tolimit the ability of minors to purchase alcohol. Plaintiffs argued that the face-to-face transaction requirment violates the Commerce Clause because, as a practical matter, it makes it more difficult for out-of-state farm wineries to sell directly to Maine consumers. The district court rejected this argument and held that the Maine law "readily passes" the Pike balancing test. the plaintiffs have appealed. Yes  
Goddard v. Fields CV-07-0096-PR AZ SC OH 7/2/07 At issue is whether the Arizoae Court of Appeals erroneously councluded that the Arizone Attorney General is not entitled to absolute immunity from a state-law action alleging he made defamatory statements in a press release announcing the filing of a civil-enforcement lawsuit. Yes  
Lundeen v. Candadian Pacific Railway 06-528 SCOTUS Cert ND 5/23/07 The petition seeks review of an Eighth Circuit ruling that the Federal Railroad Safety Act authorizes “complete preemption” of state law tort claims over railroad accidents, thereby conferring jurisdiction on federal courts even when the only causes of action pleaded by the plaintiffs in state court were state-law tort claims Yes  
United States v. Atlantic Research Corp. 06-562 SCOTUS Merits WA 4/3/07 At issue is whether a party that is potentially responsible under CERCLA for cleaning up contaminated property that does not meet the elements of section 113 of CERCLA may bring an action against another responsible party seeking to recover its costs pursuant to section 107(a) of CERCLA. The brief argues that a potentially responsible party may bring such an action. Yes  
Watson v. Philip Morris, Inc. 05-1284 SCOTUS Merits IL 2/26/07 Whether a private actor doing no more than complying with federal regulation is a “person acting under a federal officer” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1), entitling the actor to remove to federal court an action brought in state court under state l Yes  
Struhs v. Wyner 06-531 SCOTUS Merits VA 2/23/07 Whether 11th Cir erred in holding that a preliminary injunction constitutes relief on the merits or whether a preliminary injunction is not a ruling on the merits and thus cannot be the basis for obtaining attorney's fees as a prevailing party under 42 USC 1988 Yes  
Kephart v. Belleque 06-1015 SCOTUS Cert CA 2/22/07 Whether habeas petition filed after expiration of AEDPAs 1 year can be equitably tolled Yes  
Fry v. Pliler 06-5247 SCOTUS Merits MO 2/22/07 If constitutional error in a state trial isz not recognized by the judiciary until the case ends up in fed court under 28 USC 2254 is the prejudicial impact of the error assessed under standard set forth in Chapman v. California or that enunciated in Brecht v. Abramson Yes  
Jeffrey a. Uttecht v. Cal Coburn Brown 06-413 SCOTUS Merits OR 2/20/07 Did the Ninth Circuit err by not deferring to the trial judge’s observations and by not applying a statutory presumption of correctness in rulin Yes  
United States v. Williams 06-694 SCOTUS Merits AL 1/7/07 The Eleventh Circuit ruled that the PROTECT Act's pandering provision (18 U.S.C. 2252A(a)(3)(b) is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The statue applies to one who "knowingly advertises, promotes, presents, distributes, or solicits. . . any material or purported material in a manner that reflects the belief, or that is intended to cause another to believe, that the material or purported material is or contains" illegal child pornography. It therefore reaches a distributor who offers to transact in illegal child pornograhy even if he posts material that was not made with real children (or where the government is unable to prove that real children were involved.) We argue that the eleventh Circuit misread the statute's intent requirment, that the statute is neither overbroad nor vague, and that the statute is a vital tool in the effort to close the netowrk for illegal child pornography. We argue that Congress' approach is supported by the congressional findings and comparable state statutes. Yes