Judges add three new cases, including animal welfare law challenge and Warhol copyright dispute


The Supreme Court on Monday issued orders from the judges’ private conference last week, adding three new cases to the docket for the next term. The new cases involve an animal welfare law challenge in California, a death penalty issue in Arizona and a copyright dispute over a work by Andy Warhol. The justices also rejected a Texas request to weigh in on the doctrine of private non-delegation, a principle that prohibits Congress from delegating its law-making powers to other entities – but with three justices indicating they would like to address the issue in a future case.

The judges granted a review in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, a case arising from a challenge to a California law that makes the sale of pork in California conditional on meeting conditions that virtually no existing commercial farm meets – in particular, that the pig from which the pig is sourced is born from a sow which was housed in a 24 square foot space and could rotate freely without hitting any barriers. Trade associations representing the hog industry and farmers have sued, alleging that the law violates the “dormant” trade component of the Trade Clause of the Constitution by regulating (among other things) trade that is conducted almost entirely in outside of California, which imports over 99% of its pork. The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed with the challengers that the law “would require pervasive changes to the nationwide pork production industry,” but ruled that the challengers did not had failed to make a claim for breach of the trade clause. The judges will reconsider this decision.

In Cruz vs. Arizonajudges have agreed to take on the case of an Arizona death row inmate who asked judges to intervene in a dispute over whether Lynch vs. Arizonathe 2016 Supreme Court ruling finding that the court’s 1994 ruling in Simmons v. South Carolina applies to Arizona, also applies to cases pending collateral examination. In Simmons, the court held that when the future dangerousness of a defendant in a capital case is in question, the defendant has the right to tell the jury that he will not be eligible for parole if he does not convict him to death. However, the justices agreed to address a narrower issue: Whether the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling that a state rule of criminal procedure barred inmate John Cruz from obtaining relief is grounds of adequate and independent state law for the judgment against him.

And in Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts vs. Goldsmith, the judges will address an important issue of copyright law: what it means for a work of art to be “constructive” for purposes of fair use under the Copyright Act. author. The case involves a series of images created by Warhol from Lynn Goldsmith’s photo of Prince. The United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that Warhol’s images were not transformative, prompting the foundation to go to the Supreme Court in December. Judges agreed on Monday to decide whether a work is transformative if it conveys a different meaning or message from its source material, or rather whether courts cannot consider meaning if it “recognisably drifts”.[es] from » its source material.

The judges refused the examination in Texas v. Internal Revenue Commissioner, a challenge to a rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services to reimburse states for Medicaid costs incurred under a managed care model. States challenging the rule, led by Texas, argue that the rule violates the non-delegation doctrine. Specifically, according to the states, the rule entrusted a private panel of actuaries with the decisions on what it means for reimbursement rates to be “actuarially sound, as required by federal law. The states asked the judges to rule on this issue, as well as when the statute of limitations on their challenge would begin to run. After reviewing the case at seven consecutive conferences, the judges denied their request.

Judge Samuel Alito wrote a statement regarding the court’s decision not to hear the case, which was joined by Judges Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. According to Alito, the case presented “a fundamental question about the limits of the power of the federal government to delegate its powers to private actors” that “cost the states hundreds of millions of dollars.” But due to thorny procedural issues – the tax at the center of the case has been repealed, so that the states will not be harmed in the future, and it is too late to directly challenge the 2002 settlement giving their power to the actuaries – Alito has accepted the decision not to grant review now. But he left open the possibility that, if the actuaries’ decisions “have future effect, a review will be granted in an appropriate case”.

The judges will meet again for another private conference on Friday, April 1. Orders for this conference are likely Monday, April 4 at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

This article was originally published in Howe on the Court.