Supreme Court Decisions: The Final Week

Today, the Supreme Court issued four opinions, leaving seven cases still pending from this year.  They also announced that they will be issuing opinions on Thursday and Friday.  With two more opinion days this week, there is a significant chance that the last of the opinions will be issued on Friday, but it is slightly more likely that the last one or two will come on Monday (with a slim chance of a second opinion day next week).  Additionally, with today’s opinions, it is possible to make a good guess on who has which case.

From January, it is all but certain that Justice Kennedy has the Fair Housing case.  That is not necessarily good for civil rights activists, but there were worse possibilities.

From February, it seems more likely than not that Chief Justice Roberts has the insurance exchange subsidy case and Justice Ginsburg has the redistricting case.

From March, it is all but certain that Justice Scalia has the EPA case on cost-benefit analysis.  On the one hand, Scalia tends to push for strong deference to administrative agencies, but on the other hand this is the EPA.

Finally, April cleared up significantly today when Chief Justice Roberts had the California Raisin case (a challenge to the price support program for raisins).  It is now very likely that Justice Kennedy has the same-sex marriage case.  Justice Scalia probably has a significant federal criminal case (involving the catch-all clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act that increases penalties for firearms offenses if the defendant has a prior violent felony).  The Supreme Court has been struggling for several years to figure out a workable test with Justice Scalia consistently wanting to strike down the catch-all provision as unconstitutionally vague.  The Supreme Court heard arguments in the fall and then rescheduled the case for a second argument in April to address the additional question of the constitutionality of the provision.  That leaves a case out of Oklahoma on that state’s lethal injection protocol with the opinion probably coming from Justice Thomas or Justice Alito.

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