On Monday, the Supreme Court granted six petitions for certiorari in five cases. Two of those petitions were printed here at Cockle.
1. Where Congress has provided that compliance with a federal motor vehicle safety standard “does not exempt a person from liability at common law,” 49 U.S.C. § 30103(e), does a federal minimum safety standard allowing vehicle manufacturers to install either lap-only or lap/shoulder seatbelts in certain seating positions impliedly preempt a state common-law claim alleging that the manufacturer should have installed a lap/shoulder belt in one of those seating positions?
2. Under this Court’s recent ruling in Wyeth v. Levine, __ S. Ct. __, 2009 WL 529172 (2009), does a federal motor vehicle safety standard allowing vehicle manufacturers to install either lap-only or lap/shoulder seatbelts impliedly preempt a state tort suit alleging that the manufacturer should have warned consumers of the known dangers of a lap-only seatbelt installed in one of its vehicles?
Under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) Section 43-1089, individuals who contribute money to school tuition organizations (STOs) that provide scholarships to students wishing to attend private schools are entitled to an income tax credit. Respondents alleged that Section 1089’s neutral language and the Legislature’s stated secular purpose for enacting it were a pretense and that the tuition tax credit program had the primary effect of advancing religion because a majority of taxpayers who contributed to STOs chose to contribute to STOs that awarded scholarships to students attending religious schools.
The question presented is the following:
Did the court of appeals err in holding that if most taxpayers who contribute to STOs contribute to STOs that award scholarships to students attending religious schools, Section 1089 has the purpose and effect of advancing religion in violation of the Establishment Clause even though Section 1089 is a neutral program of private choice on its face and the State does nothing to influence the taxpayers or the STOs’ choice?
The Court also granted petitions in Sossaman v. Texas, No. 08-1438; AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, No. 09-893; Skinner v. Switzer, No. 09-9000; and Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, No. 09-987—the companion case to Garriott.