Brief filed: 09/25/2019
St. Hubert v. United States
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 19-5267
909 F.3d 335 (11th Cir. Nov. 15, 2018)
It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial branch to say what the law is, not what the law was. But in the Eleventh Circuit, petitioner and scores of other defendants like him have their cases decided on the basis of law otherwise recognized as repudiated by intervening precedent from this Court. Alone among the circuit courts, the Eleventh Circuit requires direct instruction from the Supreme Court to revisit its prior precedent; without it, rationale widely considered clearly erroneous in light of subsequent Supreme Court case law is still applied to defeat defendants’ appeals. Because the Eleventh Circuit’s internal rules require Supreme Court precedent to be “directly on point” to allow reconsideration of its past case law, it takes a narrower view of Supreme Court rationale than does this Court. Where, as in this case, a court acknowledges that the Supreme Court’s intervening rationale is “at odds with” its binding precedent and yet forecloses argument on the issue, a defendant’s due process right to a meaningful appeal is violated. Review is warranted because the Eleventh Circuit's practice is impermissible and inconsistent with all other circuits. The problem is important, recurring, and squarely presented. For this reason, and those in the petition, the Court should grant certiorari.
Daniel V. Ward, Janine M. Paré, Nicholas A. Dube, and Emma Notis-McConarty, Ropes & Gray LLP, Boston, MA; David Oscar Markus, NACDL, Miami, FL.