The United States Supreme Court is expected to resolve a critical circuit split this term concerning a defendant’s right to appeal orders of remand based on several grounds when removal from state to federal court is triggered by federal officer or civil rights jurisdiction. To do this, the Court must examine the plain language and legislative intent of at least six different provisions contained in Title 28 of the United States Code, clarify the duties of the Courts of Appeal, and potentially even redefine the meaning of an “order” that is issued by a U.S. district court.
On January 19, 2021, the Court heard oral argument in BP P.L.C., et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. This case – which garnered the attention of nearly two dozen amici curiae, including the United States government and the United States Chamber of Commerce – was originally filed in Maryland state court by the City of Baltimore (the “City”). Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. BP P.L.C., et al., 388 F.Supp.3d 538, 568 (D. Md. 2019). The City alleged that the defendant energy companies caused the City to sustain injuries related to climate change. Id. at 548. Two of the defendants removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland on several grounds, including federal officer jurisdiction. Id. at 567. The defendant energy companies asserted that they were acting under the direction of federal officers in light of their alleged contractual obligations with the U.S. government to supply fuel to the U.S. Navy. Id. at 568.