In November 2018, voters in Florida approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that permits people with prior felony convictions to vote once they complete “all terms of” their sentence. In 2019, the state’s legislature enacted a law that defined “all terms of” a sentence to include the payment of all court costs, fees and fines. Voters challenged the 2019 law in federal court, arguing (among other things) that making the right to vote hinge on the payment of court costs and fees violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on poll taxes and discriminates based on wealth.
The district court agreed with the voters and barred the state from enforcing the law. Florida appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which on July 1 granted the state’s request to have the full court hear the case and to put the district court’s ruling on hold until it could decide the state’s appeal.
The voters asked the Supreme Court in early July to reinstate the district court’s ruling in time for the state’s August primary election, but the justices declined to intervene. Justice Sonia Sotomayor – joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan – dissented from that decision, arguing that the issue was “exceptionally important” because the 2019 law would prevent “nearly a million” people from voting.
The 11th Circuit heard oral argument in August and, on Sept. 11, issued a decision that upheld the 2019 law.
|Date||Proceedings and Orders|
|July 16, 2019||Complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida by Bonnie Raysor, Diane Sherrill and Lee Hoffman|
|May 24, 2020||Opinion striking down fee-paying requirement issued by district court|
|July 1, 2020||Stay of district court opinion issued by U.S. Court of Appeals for 11th Circuit|
|July 8, 2020||Application filed in Supreme Court to vacate 11th Circuit stay|
|July 16, 2020||Application to vacate stay denied by full Supreme Court. Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Kagan, dissenting.|
|September 11, 2020||Opinion reinstating fee-paying requirement issued by full 11th Circuit|
FWOTSC. You figure that one out.*
h/t to @marinklevy for the story and the always-entertaining threads.
#SCOTUS announces that it will hold a formal, although "purely ceremonial," investiture ceremony for Justice Amy Coney Barrett next Friday. Attendance at the ceremony is by invitation only, & press coverage will be pooled. Full announcement is here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/press/pressreleases/pr_09-24-21
Need a refresher on "cert before judgment" practice at SCOTUS? We've got you covered.
@steve_vladeck examined the practice (among other types of extraordinary relief) in 2018: https://www.scotusblog.com/2018/12/power-versus-discretion-extraordinary-relief-and-the-supreme-court/
And Kevin Russell wrote a detailed explainer in 2011:
Abortion providers in Texas return to Supreme Court, now asking the justices for immediate review on the merits of their challenge to the state’s six-week abortion ban (cert. before judgment)
The Supreme Court will have a new oral argument procedure when they return to the bench Oct. 4. There will be an opportunity for individual questioning by each justice in order of seniority.
Interesting new procedure for oral arguments when the justices return to in-person arguments next month. Does it increase the chances that we will continue to hear from Justice Thomas, who was an active participant using the taking-turns format? https://twitter.com/GregStohr/status/1440318536723812363
NEW: The Supreme Court just released its December argument calendar. Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the term's big abortion case, will be argued Dec. 1.
#SCOTUS will hear oral argument in Mississippi abortion case challenging Roe v. Wade on Dec. 1. Full December argument calendar is here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_calendars/MonthlyArgumentCalDecember2021.pdf
We noted yesterday that Justice Thomas was speaking at Notre Dame but that there was no livestream. A video of his speech is now posted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kb4bFYdujA
Thomas criticized the media and defended the court's independence. Seems to be a theme among the justices lately.
💥 Breyer continues book tour (including @colbertlateshow two nights ago).
💥 Barrett gave a speech Sunday @uofl.
💥 Thomas is slated to give the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture today @NotreDame (but, like Barrett's speech, there is apparently no livestream).