Editor's Note :

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The Supreme Court will release additional opinions on Tuesday at 10 a.m. We will live blog at this link, where readers can sign up for an email reminder when we start the live blog.

Breaking News :

Breaking News :

Today is the last day scheduled on the court’s calendar for the justices to take the bench. But most observers are not expecting to court to issue all six remaining merits opinions.

For one thing, although it was once routine for the justices to release as many as six opinions on a single day, the court generally sticks to fewer than that these days. For another, Chief Justice John Roberts this past Friday did not give the customary indication that today would be the last one and “at that time we will announce all remaining opinions ready during this term of the court.” (I mistakenly suggested in Friday’s “view” that it was Marshal Pamela Talkin who makes that statement, but as some astute readers reminded me, it is the chief justice.)

Chief Justice Roberts stops Marshal Pamela Talkin from gaveling out the Court “prematurely” (Art Lien)

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This morning the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Texas in a dispute alleging that the state’s lawmakers had drawn redistricting maps to discriminate against some of the state’s black and Hispanic residents. By a vote of 5-4, the justices threw out almost all of a ruling by a three-judge federal district court that would have invalidated the maps, agreeing with the lower court only that one state legislative district was a racial gerrymander. Today’s ruling means that elections this year will likely go forward using the existing maps.

The decision came in the two cases known as Abbott v. Perez, which date back to 2011, when Texas’ Republican-controlled legislature began to redistrict after the 2010 census. The legislature’s federal congressional and state legislative maps never took effect, because a three-judge district court (which normally hears redistricting cases) barred the state from using the maps and created its own plans instead. But the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the court-created maps in 2012, telling the lower court to use the state legislature’s maps as a “starting point” for new maps. The district court did so, and in 2013 the state legislature adopted the maps for permanent use.

Justice Alito announces opinion in Abbott v. Perez (Art Lien)

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[This post was updated at 2:43 p.m. to provide more details on, among other things, the cases that the justices granted today.]

Three weeks ago, the justices threw out a ruling against a Colorado baker who had refused on religious grounds to make a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple. By a vote of 7-2, the justices ruled that proceedings before the Colorado administrative agency that considered the baker’s case were unfairly tainted by hostility to religion.

Shortly after issuing their decision in the Colorado case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the justices considered the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist who, like the Colorado baker, declined to provide her services – this time, original flower arrangements – to a same-sex couple for their wedding. After the state courts rejected her argument that requiring her to design floral arrangements for same-sex weddings would violate her First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of her religion, Stutzman went to the Supreme Court, asking them to review that ruling. The justices put Stutzman’s appeal on hold until they ruled on Masterpiece, and today they sent her case back to the lower courts so that (as in Masterpiece) they can consider Stutzman’s assertion that she too was the victim of religious hostility. The order means that Stutzman will have another chance to fight the lower court’s ruling, which levied fees and penalties on Stutzman and ordered her to provide the same services to same-sex couples that she provides to opposite-sex couples. The justices will almost certainly have to tackle the question presented by Stutzman’s case soon, but they apparently do not intend to do it next fall. Continue reading »

We live-blogged as the Supreme Court released orders from the June 21 conference (9:30 a.m.) and opinions in argued cases (10 a.m.).

The justices added seven new cases to their merits docket for next termRepublic of Sudan v. Harrison, Washington State Department of Licensing v. Couger Den, Inc., Dawson v. Steager, Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, Biestek v. Berryhill, Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmacueticals USA Inc. and Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc.

The justices announced their decisions in Abbott v. Perez and Ohio v. American Express Co.

Guest bloggers from First Mondays and John Elwood of Relist Watch also joined us.

The transcript of the live blog is available below and at this link.

Posted in Live

We take a running start and try to get through as many opinions as we can. We discuss gerrymandering, online sales tax and cellphone records. Plus, we interview the man, the myth, the legend– two-time Supreme Court winner Fane Lozman.

Last Monday in June: The final six

By on Jun 25, 2018 at 7:26 am

The justices are expected to take the bench again this morning to issue opinions in argued cases. After Friday’s four opinions, there are six cases left for them to decide; this post briefly summarizes those cases (in the order in which they were argued).

Florida v. Georgia (argued January 8, 2018): This is a relatively rare “original jurisdiction” case – a lawsuit that begins in the Supreme Court, rather than coming to the justices as an appeal. It arises from a decades-long dispute between Florida and Georgia over Georgia’s use of water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which begins in northeast Georgia and flows south into the Florida Panhandle, along the two states’ borders with Alabama. The Supreme Court appointed a special master to hold a trial in the case; last year the special master issued a report recommending that Florida’s request to limit Georgia’s water use be denied. Florida objected to his conclusions, and the justices heard oral argument in the case earlier this year.

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Monday round-up

By on Jun 25, 2018 at 7:18 am

At CNN, Ariane de Vogue reports that as the justices take the bench this morning for what is likely the last Monday of the term, “[s]ix opinions remain, including on the travel ban, public sector unions and redistricting, and one looming question that could change the future direction of the court: Will there be a retirement?” Steven Mazie takes a quick look at the remaining cases for The Economist’s Espresso blog. Additional coverage of the final lap of the term comes from Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung at Reuters.

OnFriday the Supreme Court decided four cases, including a closely watched Fourth Amendment case, Carpenter v. United States, in which the justices held 5-4 that the government ordinarily needs a warrant to access historical cell-site location information. At Good Judgment, Ryan Adler assesses the crowd’s forecast in the case. At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports that “until now, the prevailing legal theory was that if an individual voluntarily shares his information with a third party — for instance, by signing up for cellphone service — police can get that information without a search warrant,” but that “[o]n Friday, the Supreme Court blew a hole in that theory.” Additional coverage comes from Louise Matsakis at Wired and from Lyle Denniston at Constitution Daily, who reports that “[e]ven as it insisted it was acting narrowly, and spoke of some limits on the reach of the ruling, the Court definitely gave a modern cast to the Fourth Amendment, now 227 years old.” Commentary and analysis come from Curt Levey in an op-ed for Fox News, Krebs on Security, Jon Schuppe at NBC News, Erica Goldberg at PrawfsBlawg, and Garrett Epps at The Atlantic.

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Posted in Round-up

This week at the court

By on Jun 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm

On Monday the Supreme Court released orders from the June 21 conference. The justice added seven new cases to their merits docket for next term: Republic of Sudan v. Harrison, Washington State Department of Licensing v. Couger Den, Inc., Dawson v. Steager, Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, Biestek v. Berryhill, Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmacueticals USA Inc. and Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc.

The justices also announced their decisions in Abbott v. Perez and Ohio v. American Express Co.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court will release additional opinions in argued cases at 10 a.m.

This post will be updated on Tuesday to reflect any additional non-argument sessions the justices may schedule that morning.


Petition of the day

By on Jun 22, 2018 at 8:00 pm

The petition of the day is:


Issue: Whether a finding of willful infringement based on In re Seagate’s “should have been known” negligence standard violates the requirement that subjective willfulness must be “intentional or knowing,” as set forth by the Supreme Court in Halo Electronics Inc. v. Pulse Electronics Inc.

Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. He filed amicus briefs supporting the petitioner in Lucia v. SEC and the respondents in South Dakota v. Wayfair.

June 21 was “government structure day” at the Supreme Court. In four separate cases, interpreting four different administrative-law or separation-of-powers doctrines, the justices produced opinions that will keep law professors updating syllabi for their constitutional and administrative law classes all summer. I initially focused on Lucia, given both my previous writings about the case and my general interest in the appointment and removal powers, but then I discovered the common theme to the quartet: Structure matters.

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