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Supreme Court

Cases explained in infographics



by date

April 25, 2018 Argument:


Trump v. Hawaii

Does the latest version of Trump's travel ban violate federal law or the Constitution?


April 24, 2018 Arguments:

Abbott v. Perez

Did the federal court in Texas already conclude that Texas' voting maps were non-discriminatory?

Animal Science Products v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical

The Chinese government filed a brief in a case to help the court interpret Chinese law. Was the court supposed to follow that interpretation blindly or make its own judgment?

April 23, 2018 Arguments:

Chavez-Meza v. United States

Did the court need to explain its reasoning for choosing a certain sentence reduction?

Pereira v. Sessions

Will a noncitizen's period of living continuously in the U.S. end with a notice of a hearing that doesn't include time and place?


Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission

Are the SEC judges "Officers," which would require them to be formally appointed?


April 18, 2018 Arguments:

Washington v. United States

Must the State of Washington spend billions in infrastructure repairs to guarantee a "fair share" of salmon into Indian tribe fisheries?

Lagos v. United States

Lagos' fraud caused large costs to a company. Can the criminal provision order Lagos to pay the company's internal investigation costs and other legal fees?

April 17, 2018 Arguments:

South Dakota v. Wayfair

Can states charge sales taxes to online businesses?

Lamar, Archer and Cofrin v. Appling

Can Appling get the debt owed to his lawyers discharged in bankruptcy?

April 16, 2018 Arguments:

Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States

Will railroad employees get taxed on stock compensation?

WesternGeco v. ION Geophysical

Can WesternGeco get damages it lost abroad for ION's patent violation?

March 28, 2018 Argument:


Benisek v. Lamone

How will Maryland Republicans fare with a First Amendment challenge to political gerrymandering?


March 27, 2018 Arguments:

Hughes v. United States

Was the plea deal sentence "based on" the Sentencing Guidelines? If so, Hughes may qualify for a sentence reduction.

Koons v. United States

Defendants were given reduced sentences because they assisted prosecutors. Can they now take advantage of a different reduction rule?

March 26, 2018 Arguments:

United States v. Sanchez-Gomez

Several detainees sued against a court practice of keeping defendants in shackles. Could the detainees' lawsuit continue despite mootness?

China Agritech v. Resh

Resh wanted to file the third class action against China Agritech. But the time period had expired. Can Resh take advantage of a tolling (time-pausing) rule?

March 21, 2018 Argument:

Upper Skagit Indian Tribe v. Lundgren

The Lundgrens have a property dispute with the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe. The tribe claims immunity, but can the disputed property be pulled into court regardless?

March 20, 2018 Argument:

National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra

A California law requires anti-abortion pregnancy centers to tell women that abortions are available. NIFLA argues the law violates the centers' First Amendment rights.

March 19, 2018 Argument:


Sveen v. Melin

Sveen left his ex-wife designated as his life insurance beneficiary. Can a Minnesota law apply retroactively to revoke the ex-spouse designation? 


February 28, 2018 Argument:


Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky

Can Minnesota ban political apparel on clothes around polling places? MVA argues the law violates the First Amendment.


February 27, 2018 Arguments:

United States v. Microsoft

Can the government force Microsoft to hand over consumer information stored overseas?

Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, FL

Can the police get in trouble for retaliatory arrest if they had probable cause to arrest anyway?

February 26, 2018 Arguments:

Ohio v. American Express

Can the states prove Amex's contract with merchants is illegal without proving negative effects on cardholders?

Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Can government employees be required to pay union collective bargaining fees?

February 21, 2018 Arguments:

Rosales-Mireles v. United States

What happens when the judge messes up? The Supreme Court will decide if the mistake in Rosales-Mireles' case was serious enough that it must be fixed.

Dahda v. United States

The judge issued wiretap orders outside of the judge's jurisdiction. Can Dahda get the wire-tapped communications suppressed?

February 20, 2018 Arguments:

Currier v. Virginia

Can Currier be convicted of firearm possession if a different jury decided he wasn't involved?

City of Hays, Kansas v. Vogt

Is the city liable for using coerced statements in the pre-trial hearing?

January 17, 2018 Arguments:

McCoy v. Louisiana

Did McCoy's lawyer have the right to overrule McCoy's choice to plead innocent?

Encino Motorcars v. Navarro

Does the service advisor at a car dealership get overtime pay?

January 16, 2018 Arguments:

Consolidated Military Court Appeals

Can the appeals court judges serve on both the military court and the civil court? Petitioners argue no, and that their appeals should be voided.

Ortiz v. U.S.

Cox v. U.S.

Dalmazzi v. U.S.

Hall v. Hall

The lower court tried two related cases together. While one of them is still ongoing, can the other be appealed?

January 10, 2018 Argument:


Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute

Plaintiffs claim Ohio's voter roll purging process kicks people off the list illegally. Does the process violate federal law?


January 9, 2018 Arguments:

Byrd v. United States

Can you expect privacy (i.e. Fourth Amendment protections) in a rental car if you are not on the lease?

Collins v. Virginia

Can police search a motorcycle parked outside a home, covered almost fully by a tarp without a warrant?

January 8, 2018 Arguments:

Texas v. New Mexico

Texas argues New Mexico is violating a 1938 agreement that allocates usage of the Rio Grande River water. New Mexico argues Texas doesn't have a case. Will the Supreme Court dismiss it?

Florida v. Georgia

Florida argues Georgia is using up too much river water that Florida needs for its ecosystem and economy. Will the Supreme Court grant Florida an "equitable apportionment"?

December 6, 2017 Arguments:

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Marinello v. United States

Does the felony tax provision apply to Marinello?

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Murphy v. Smith

How much of the prisoner's monetary award must go to his attorney's fees?

December 5, 2017 Argument:

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Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Part II: Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. Colorado said the cake shop must sell the couple a cake if it sells wedding cakes to the public generally. Is Colorado compelling the cake shop to express a government view (in favor of same-sex marriage) on its cake-art?

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Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Part I: Understanding the Legal Claims. How does this case differ from the same-sex marriage case?

December 4, 2017 Arguments:

Rubin v. Iran

Plaintiffs are victims of a terrorist attack that won a $71.5 million judgment against Iran for sponsoring the attack. Can Rubin, et al. attach Iran's artifacts in the U.S. to collect on the judgment?

Christie v. NCAA

New Jersey wants to legalize sports betting, but a federal law says it can't. Does the federal law violate the Constitution?


November 29, 2017 Argument:

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Carpenter v. United States

Can the government get our cell phone location data without 4th Amendment protections?


November 28, 2017 Arguments:


Cyan v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund

Plaintiffs are shareholders of Cyan that accused the company of misleading in its securities filings. Can the plaintiffs' case continue in state court, or will it be stopped by a policy that prevents "forum shopping"?

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Digital Realty Trust v. Somers

Paul Somers was Vice President of Digital Realty Trust. He reported potential securities law violations to upper management, then got fired. Can Somers claim whistleblowing protection under Dodd-Frank?

November 27, 2017 Arguments:

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SAS Institute v. Matal

SAS challenged Matal's patent, and the review board did not address all of SAS's claims. Can the patent review board pick and choose the claims it will start a review for?

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Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group

Oil States Energy Services lost its patent protection. Now it argues the administrative court did not have the Constitutional authority to take away its right. See if the case belonged in a "real" judicial court instead.

November 6, 2017 Argument:

November 7, 2017 Argument:


Patchak v. Zinke

Congress used its power to establish jurisdiction in a unique way: instead of establishing jurisdiction generally, it aimed to end a particular case. Did Congress encroach on the judicial power?

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Merit Management Group v. FTI Consulting

Two Pennsylvania racetracks merged to build a "racino" (race track + casino). The surviving company couldn't get the permit and filed for bankruptcy. Can the company that sold out of the deal keep its distance, or will bankruptcy law take suspicion?

October 31, 2017 Argument:

November 1, 2017 Argument:

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Artis v. District of Columbia

Did Artis file her D.C. law claims too late? See how the Supreme Court interprets a claim filing deadline in a law on jurisdiction.

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U.S. Bank National Association v. Village at Lakeridge

Shortly after Village at Lakeridge filed for bankruptcy, Dr. Rabkin bought a claim worth $2.76 million for $5,000.  How strictly should the appellate court review the bankruptcy court decision that Rabkin was not a statutory insider?

October 30, 2017 Arguments:


Ayestas v. Davis

Is Ayestas entitled to a government-paid investigator?

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Wilson v. Sellers

Will Wilson's last chance to avoid the death penalty be based on review of a one-sentence decision?

Week 2 Arguments (October 10-11, 2017):

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Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago

This case gets to the heart of what it means to be a lawyer.  The Court will determine if a court filing rule can be waived, or if a court can give an exception to it.

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National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense

Should these EPA challenges start directly in the appeals courts?

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Jesner v. Arab Bank

Plaintiffs, victims of terrorist attacks, sued a foreign bank claiming the bank held accounts for known terrorists. The Court will decide if the bank - a corporate defendant - can be sued under the Alien Tort Statute (the law the plaintiffs are using).


Week 1 Arguments (October 2-4, 2017):

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District of Columbia v. Wesby

Did the officers have probable cause to arrest the plaintiffs, who were partying in a house that turned out not to belong to the person who invited them?

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Class v. United States

Class wants to challenge the law he violated as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. But he pled guilty. Can he do that?

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Gill v. Whitford

The Supreme Court may invoke the "political question" doctrine to avoid this case. Learn why a political gerrymander case might be outside the judiciary's province.

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Jennings v. Rodriguez

Are noncitizens entitled bond hearings when detained 6 months or more awaiting a decision on deportation?

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Employment Contracts Cases

Can you sign away your right to bring a class action against your employer?

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Sessions v. Dimaya

The Immigration and Nationality Act says foreign residents who serve time twice for a "crime of violence" can be deported. Is the definition of "crime of violence" well enough defined, or does it violate the Constitution?