SCOTUS grants review in two cases for October Term 2020-2021

On May 4, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) accepted two cases to its merits docket for its upcoming term scheduled to begin on October 5, 2020. The cases have not yet been set for argument.

Edwards v. Vannoy came on a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and concerns the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Ramos v. Louisiana.
  • The case: A non-unanimous jury found Thedrick Edwards guilty of five counts of armed robbery, one count of attempted armed robbery, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated rape. Edwards was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment on each armed robbery count and to life imprisonment on the aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape counts. Edwards appealed his conviction and sentence, which was denied in state and federal court. He then filed a petition for habeas corpus with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The district court denied Edwards’ claim. Edwards appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which refused to issue a certificate of appealability.
  • The issue: Whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Ramos v. Louisiana (2020) applies retroactively to cases on federal collateral review. In Ramos v. Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the 6th Amendment’s right to a unanimous jury verdict to support a conviction applies in both federal and state courts.
CIC Services v. Internal Revenue Service came on a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and concerns the Anti-Injunction Act, a federal law that bars lawsuits to stop the assessment or collection of taxes.
  • The case: In 2004, Congress authorized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify and gather details about potential tax shelters. The IRS set up requirements regarding transactions that are required to be reported to the IRS. In 2016, the IRS published a notice identifying certain “micro-captive transactions” as “transactions of interest,” under the umbrella of reportable transactions. In 2017, risk management consulting firm CIC Services challenged the updated requirements in district court as being beyond the scope of the IRS’ authority and sought to stop the notice’s enforcement. The IRS moved for the complaint’s dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court granted the defendant’s motion. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal.
  • The issue: “Whether the Anti-Injunction Act’s bar on lawsuits for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of taxes also bars challenges to unlawful regulatory mandates issued by administrative agencies that are not taxes.”

As of May 4, 2020, the court had agreed to hear 10 cases during its 2020-2021 term.

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