Conference Report: April 13, 2018 Conference

On Monday, the Supreme Court asked the United States Solicitor General to weigh in on four petitions for certiorari when it released the Order List from its April 13 Conference. And it denied the petition filed by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of seeking campaign contributions in exchange for official acts. Blagojevich was sentenced to fourteen years in prison and still has six left to serve, unless he receives a presidential pardon or commutation. Background both about the case in general and about the cert petition is provided in this Chicago Tribute article. Media Matters notes here that Blagojevich’s wife, Patti, appeared on Fox News on Monday appealing to President Trump for a pardon.

The cases in which the Court requested the views of the SG include Kansas v. Garcia, which addresses two issues relating to the interaction of Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) and state criminal law. First, does the IRCA preempt states from using any information gathered on the federal I-9 form — the forms employers must collect from their employees to demonstrate eligibility to work in this country — including name, date of birth, social security number, etc., when that same information also appears on non-IRCA documents such as tax forms, leases and credit applications. (IRCA provides that information provided on the I-9 can be used for only very limited purposes.) And second, if IRCA prevents states from using said information for any purpose, whether the Constitution permits Congress to so broadly preempt states from using their traditional police power to prosecute state law crimes.

In Gilead Sciences, Inc. v. U.S., ex rel. Campie, et al., the Court is asked to address an issue with the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act permits private individuals, known as relators, as well as the government itself, to sue entities that are overbilling, underdelivering, or otherwise defrauding the federal government about the use of federal dollars. The question in Gilead Sciences is whether an allegation under the Act fails when the government continued to approve and pay for products after learning of alleged regulatory infractions and the pleadings offer no basis for overcoming a strong inference of immateriality arising from those continued payments.

Finally, the Court asked the Solicitor General to weigh-in on two original jurisdiction cases. In Missouri, v. California, several egg-producing states are attempting to challenge California’s regulations that allow the sale of eggs in California only if the chickens that produce them are maintained under certain conditions, including, for example, being cage-free. And Indiana v. Massachusetts presents similar complaints about Massachusetts laws addressing the treatment of farm animals.

Anna Jirschele, ISCOTUS Editorial Coordinator and Chicago-Kent Class of 2018, and Carolyn Shapiro, ISCOTUS Co-Director and Chicago-Kent faculty member, contributed to this post.

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