Notable Oral Arguments in Seventh Circuit Cases available on the Web

The Library Staff has selected Oral Arguments from notable cases heard before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 2000 to present. Cases have been selected based on a variety of factors, including the legal issue(s) involved, the parties, and public interest in the case. A complete listing of all available audio Oral Arguments can accessed at the Court of Appeals web site,

Venckiene v. United States 18-2529 (2018)
Venckine is trying to get a stay of extradition based on the political offenses exception. Issue is what is the role of courts in determining what is a political offense when there is no traditional war, revolution or rebellion..
Date of oral argument: 11/27/2018
Length of oral argument: 31 minutes
Panel: Bauer, Hamilton, Barrett

Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community, 17-1322 (2018)
Issue is whether the Fair Housiing Act covers a hostile housing environment when a tenant in a senior living facility is harassed by other tenants on the basis of her sexual orientation and whether the landlord is responsible for tenants' acts when the landlord is informed of the harassment.
Date of oral argument:2/6/2018
Length of oral argument: 41 minutes
Panel:Wood, Hamilton, Kanne

City of Chicago v. Sessions, 17-2991 (2018)
Issue is whether the executive branch may add conditions to law enforcement grants passed by Congress when the statute does not authorize the adding of conditions in order to penalize cities that have declared themselves sanctuary cities for immigration purposes.
Date of oral argument: 1/19/2018
Length of oral argument: 43 minutes
Panel: Bauer, Manion, Rovner

Dassey v. Dittman 16-3397
Issue is whether the district court properly granted habeas corpus in that the confession of a juvenile who is mentally limited was involuntary. Dassey is featured in the Netflix series "Making of a Murderer".
Date of oral argument: 9/26/2017
Length of oral argument: 63 minutes
Panel: en banc

Lewis v. Epic Systems 15-2997 823 F.3d 1147 (2016)
Issue is whether an agreement that requires an employer and an employee to resolve employment-related disputes through individual arbitration, and waive class and collective proceedings, is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act, notwithstanding the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. Much of the argument discusses the likelihood this case will go to the United States Supreme Court.
Date of oral argument: 2/12/2016
Length of oral argument: 35 minutes
Panel: Wood, Rovner, Blakey

Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, 15-1720 >853 F.3d 339 (2017)
Issue is whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect employees or offer redress for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Date of oral argument:11/30/2016
Length of oral argument: 55 minutes
Panel: en banc

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin v. Schimel, 15-1736 806 F.3d 908(2015)
Issue is whether the Wisconsin law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles from the abortion clinic is constitutional. Circuit court upheld the permanent injunction issued by the district court.
Date of oral argument:10/1/2015
Length of oral argument: 57 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Manion, Posner

Frank v. Walker, 14-2058 768 F.3d 744 (2014)
Issue is whether the Wisconsin Voter ID violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against poor and minorities. Arguments raised included what effect changes in getting state IDs and a recent WI Supreme Court decision would have on the district court opinion. The panel issued an order on the day of the oral argument which would allow the Voter ID law to be effective for the upcoming November election.
Date of oral argument: 9/12/2014
Length of oral argument: 60 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Sykes, Tinder

O'Keefe v. Chisholm, 14-1822 769 F.3d 936 (2014)
Wisconsin has a John Doe proceeding, which can be used to investigate crimes instead of using a grand jury. A John Doe proceeding was open to investigate whether there was illegal coordination between Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign and several interest groups. There were proceedings in state court as well. Issues raised on appeal include whether the prosecutors enjoy immunity in a John Doe investigation, abstention, federalism, and issue advocacy rights under the First Amendment.
Date of oral argument: 9/9/2014
Length of oral argument: 1 hour 6 minutes
Panel: Wood, Bauer, Easterbrook

Baskin v. Bogan, 14-2386 766 F.3d 648 (2014)
Issue is whether the Indiana statute against same sex marriages is constitutional. State rationale is that marriage is the mechanism to provide for babies. Discussion of where the line should be drawn.
Date of oral argument: 8/26/2014
Length of oral argument: 44 minutes
Panel: Posner, Hamilton, Williams

University of Notre Dame v. Sebelius, 13-3853 786 F.3d 606 (2014)
Appeal by Notre Dame to provisions of the Affordable Care Act that requires an organization to file paperwork to be exempt from providing contraceptive care because of religious beliefs. Notre Dame argued that filing the paperwork, which would allow a third party to provide the care, makes them complicity. Noted for the argument between Judge Posner and Notre Dame's attorney who interrupted the judge and refused to answer yes or no questions.
Date of oral argument: 2/12/2014
Length of oral argument: 45 minutes
Panel: Flaum, Hamilton and Posner

University of Notre Dame v. Burwell, 13-3853 786 F.3d 606 (2015)
Case after remand by the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the effect of Hobby Lobby. (See below for the earlier decision).. Continues the heated discussion between Judge Posner and Notre Dame's attorney..
Date of oral argument: 4/22/2015
Length of oral argument: 1 hour 50 minutes
Panel: Flaum, Hamilton and Posner

United States v. Blagojevich, 11-3853 (2013) 794 F.3d 729 (2015)
Appeal of former Governor Blagojevich who was convicted of trying to arrange bribes from candidates to fill President Barack Obama's senate seat. Appeals focus on the issues of willfulness, horse trading and ignorance of the law. Judge Easterbrook admonishes counsel to answer his yes or no questions.
Date of oral argument: 12/13/2013
Length of oral argument: 1 hours, 2 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Kanne and Rovner

United States v. Burge, 11-1277 711 F.3d 803 (2013)
Burge was a former police commander in charge of Area 2 who presided over using torture techniques to interrogate criminal suspects. In a civil law suit, he lied when answering interrogatories about Area 2 interrogation practices. Issues on appeal were whether he lied, whether the false statements impeded an official investigation and whether they were material to the outcome of the civil case.
Date of oral argument: 3/29/2012
Length of oral argument: 36 minutes
Panel: Kanne, Rovner, Williams

Sherman v. Illinois, 11-1566, 682 F.3d 643 (2012)
Issue is whether taxpayer has standing to challenge a grant to repair a 111 foot tall cross in downstate Illinois when the legislation did not specifically mention this project. Focus was on Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, 551 U.S. 587.
Date of oral argument: 11/2/2011
Length of oral argument: 33 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Posner, Wood

Ryan v. United States, 10-3964, 645 F.3d 913 (2011)
Issue on a 2255 motion is whether, after the Supreme Court decided Skilling, the jury had enough evidence to convict without relying on the honest services fraud theory and what is the proper standard of review in this case.
Date of oral argument: 5/31/2011
Length of oral argument: 36 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Tinder, Wood

Sherman v. Koch, 09-1455, 623 F.3d 501 (2010)
Issue is whether the Illinois Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Court decided the statute was not unconstitutionally vague and that there was a legitimate secular purpose.
Date of oral argument: 2/2/2010
Length of oral argument: 51 minutes
Panel: Manion, Ripple, Williams

Bodum USA v. LaCafetiere, 09-1892, 621 F.3d 624 (2010)
In interpreting a French contract, courts do not need to rely on expert testimony but may consider any relevant source including English language treatises. In this case, the contract's meaning was clear from the negotiating history and there was no need to further discover the parties' intent. Posner concurred to decry the use of foreign experts to offer interpretations of foreign law.
Date of oral argument: 9/14/2009
Length of oral argument: 33 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Posner, Wood

United States v. Black, 07-4080, 625 F.3d 386 (2010)
On remand from the Supreme Court, the issue is whether there is enough to support the jury conviction on obstruction of justice and other counts absent the honest services fraud conviction.
Date of oral argument: 9/29/2010
Length of oral argument: 45 minutes
Panel: Posner, Kanne,Sykes

Vainsi v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 09-3314, 599 F.3d 567 (2010)
Issue is whether S corporations and Qsubs can deduct all or merely part of the interest expense that they incur purchasing certain tax exempt bonds. Case looks at the interpretation and application of IRC sec. 291 and sec. 1363(b)(4). Held that once a bank has been a S corporation or Qsub for three years, they are entitled to deduct the entire amount of the interest expense. Overturns a Tax Court decision.
Date of oral argument: 2/23/2010
Length of oral argument: 31 minutes
Panel: Posner, Bauer, Sykes

United States v. Vrdolyak, 09-1891, 593 F.3d 676 (2010)
Ald. Vrdolyak pleaded guilty to fraud involving the sale of a Gold Coast medical school building where he was to split a $1.5 million bribe. The judge imposed a sentence of probation with no jail time. Issue was whether the court understood the nature and amount of the loss and whether the sentence was unreasonable in light of the loss. Held the sentencing judge made several errors in sentencing and a new sentencing judge should be appointed.
Date of oral argument: 12/10/2009
Length of oral argument: 33 minutes
Panel: Posner, Hamilton, Manion

Singer v. Raemisch, 07-3400, 593 F.3d 529 (2010)
Singer sued prison officials after they confiscated all of his Dungeons and Dragons materials and prohibited the playing of that role game at Wapun prison. Court upheld the granting of summary judgement based on a prison official's affidavit that such games and materials could lead to gang development and addictive escapism which could hinder rehabilitation attempts.
Date of oral argument: 9/18/2009
Length of oral argument: 23 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Tinder, Williams

NRA v. Chicago, 08-4241, 567 F.3d 856 (2009)
Challenge by the NRA to Chicago's handgun restrictions on the basis that the Second Amendment applies to the states. Court refused to make such a holding, noting that it is up to the Supreme Court to overrule contrary precedent.
Date of oral argument:5/26/2009
Length of oral argument:34 minutes
Panel:Easterbrook, Posner, Bauer

Wiesmueller v. Kosobucki, 08-2527, 571 F.3d 699 (2009)
Wisconsin allows graduates of the two Wisconsin law schools to be admitted to the bar without having to take an bar exam, that is, on a "diploma privilege". This practice is being challenged on equal protection and commerce clause grounds. This appeal is from Rule 12 dismissal. Judges Posner and Woods question whether Wisconsin law school teach Wisconsin law or use national casebooks.
Date of oral argument: 4/07/2009
Length of oral argument: 26 minutes
Panel:Posner, Ripple, Wood

UAL v. Air Line Pilots Ass'n, 08-415, 563 F.3d 257 (2009)
United Air Lines sought a preliminary injunction against the defendants to prevent them from interfering with United's operations. Defendants allegedly engaged in a variety of unlawful practices to try to force United to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement before the time for renegotiation. Held the injunction was proper.
Date of oral argument:2/24/2009
Length of oral argument: 46 minutes
Panel:Rover, Wood and Sykes

Hecker v. Deere, 07-3605, 556 F.3d 575 (2009)
ERISA litigation regarding the fiduciary duty of the plan's sponsor and service provider for allegedly excessive fees(same as retail market, rather than negotiated)and for the limited disclosure to participants about fees. Case was disposed of at trial court by Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Held that the complaint failed to state a claim that Fidelity Trust was a "functional fiduciary", that Deere and Fidelity met all of the requirements of the statute and regulations regarding disclosure and that given the options available to participants the fees were not excessive.
Date of oral argument: 9/5/2008
Length of oral argument: 54 minutes
Panel: Manion, Wood and Tinder

Andrews v. Chevy Chase Bank, 07-1326, 545 F.3d 570 (2008)
Attempt to certify a class action lawsuit against a bank for violations of the Truth in Lending Act regarding several nonstandard mortgage instruments. Plaintiffs were seeking recission. Held as a matter of law class actions lawsuits cannot be used when seeking the recission remedy.
Date of oral argument: 9/26/2007
Length of oral argument: 33 minutes
Panel: Sykes, Manion, Evans

United States v. Chube, 06-3674 & 06-3675, 538 F.3d 693 (2008)
Two brothers, Charles and David Chube, both medical doctors, were convicted of unlawful distribution of OxyCotin. They were sentenced to five and fifteen years. Part of the relevant conduct included in sentencing was any prescription of a controlled substance, not just OxyCotin, which significantly increased their sentences. Sentence was vacated and remanded for resentencing.
Date of oral argument: 9/28/2007
Length of oral argument: 33 minutes
Panel: Rovner, Wood, Evans

United States v. Black, 07-4080, 530 F.3d 596 (2008)
After a four month trial, Mr. Black, a former press mogul, was sentenced to six and one half years for three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. The fraud counts related to improperly taking payments from noncompete clauses.
Date of oral argument: 6/5/2008
Length of oral argument: 1 hr. 20 min.
Panel: Posner, Kanne, Sykes

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law Inc. v. Craigslist, 07-1101, 519 F.3d 666 (2008)
Craigslist is an electronic meeting place that allows people to post notices for a variety of services including houses for sale and apartments for rent. The Chicago Lawyer’s Committee brought suit alleging Craigslist violated federal housing law by allowing the posting of ads that stated no minorities or children were allowed. Held that Craigslist was not liable for the posting on its service.
Date of oral argument: 2/15/2008
Length of oral argument: 40 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Wood, Evans

Smith v. City of Chicago, 07-1599, 524 F.3d 834 (2008)
Court held that property seized under Illinois’ Drug Asset Forfeiture Procedure must have a preforfeiture due process hearing. This represents a major change in circuit law.
Date of oral argument: 1/11/2008
Length of oral argument: 23 minutes
Panel: Bauer, Posner, Evans

United States v. Calabrese, 07-1962, 490 F.3d 575 (2007)
Calabrese pleaded guilty in 1997 to RICO activities from 1972-1992 with the Calabrese Street Crew. He was later indicted for RICO conspiracy with the Chicago Outfit, a different but related, group. Claimed the second indictment violated double jeopardy because there was an overlap in the years and some of the activities with the first indictment. The court stated that double jeopardy did not apply.
Date of oral argument: 5/29/2007
Length of oral argument: 28 minutes
Panel: Posner, Wood, Sykes

Bennett v. Southwest Airlines, 06-3486, 493 F.3d 762 (2007)
Lawsuit related to the December 8, 2005 incident with Southwest Airlines flight 1248 which ran off the runway at Midway airport, killing one and injuring twelve on the ground. Question was whether the case had been properly removed to federal court. Seventh Circuit held it was not and remanded back to state court.
Date of oral argument: 4/5/2007
Length of oral argument: 30 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Bauer, Wood

United States v. Thompson, 06-3676, 484 F.3d 877 (2007)
Wisconsin procurement officer was tried and convicted of being politically motivated in the awarding of a travel contract, even though there was no evidence of kickbacks or other improprieties. The conviction was reversed and Ms. Thompson’s immediate release was ordered on the same day as the oral argument.
Date of oral argument: 4/5/2007
Length of oral argument: 26 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Bauer, Wood

United States v. Warner, 06-3517, 498 F.3d 666 (2007)
United States v. Ryan 06-3528 (companion case)
Former Governor Ryan and his friend Warner were convicted of a variety of RICO and mail fraud charges. They alleged several errors with the trial which had garnered a great deal of publicity. Convictions for both were affirmed.
Date of oral argument: 2/20/2007
Length of oral argument: 64 minutes
Panel:Manion, Kanne, Wood

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 06-2218, 472 F.3d 949 (2006)
Indiana Democrats tried to overturn law that required persons who wish to vote to present a government issued photo ID card. Case was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court which affirmed the Seventh Circuit in upholding the validity of the statute.
Date of oral argument: 10/18/2006
Length of oral argument: 28 minutes
Panel: Posner, Evans, Sykes

In re African American Slave Descendants Litigation, 05-3265, 471 F.3d 754 (2006)
Multi-district litigation involving descendants of slaves suing several companies claiming that they unlawfully supported slavery before the passage of the 13th amendment by insuring slave or providing loans to purchase slaves. A few sued as personal representatives of their ancestors estates, some sued on their own behalf and others included consumer fraud allegations. Except for consumer fraud allegations, cases were dismissed either for lack of standing or expiration of statute of limitations.
Date of oral argument: 9/27/2006
Length of oral argument: 56 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Posner, Manion

United States v. Booker, 03-4225, 375 F.3d 508 (2004)
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s guidance in Blakely v. Washington, held that those parts of the federal sentencing guidelines that allow judges to determine facts that increase a sentence beyond the facts found by a jury are unconstitutional as violating the Sixth Amendment.
Date of oral argument: 7/6/2004
Length of oral argument: 27 minutes
Panel: Easterbrook, Kanne, Posner

Woman’s Choice-East Side Women’s Clinic v. Newman, 01-2107, 305 F.3d 684 (2002)
District court entered a permanent injunction against the enforcement of Indiana’s abortion law that required a women seeking an abortion to get in person counseling at least 18 hours before the abortion, requiring two visits to a hospital or clinic in order to get the abortion. Seventh Circuit reversed the injunction.
Date of oral argument: 2/20/2002
Length of oral argument: 32 minutes
Panel: Coffey, Easterbrook, Wood