Bold Justice: June 29, 2020

Welcome to the June 29 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S. Need something to read while you’re barbequing on July 4? Check us out on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew.


The Supreme Court has finished hearing arguments for the 2019-2020 term. The court agreed to hear arguments in 74 cases, but heard arguments in only 61 cases due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thirteen cases have not been scheduled for argument. Of those, 12 are set to be rescheduled for the October 2020-21 term. The cases were originally scheduled for oral argument in March and April, but those sessions were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The remaining unscheduled case is Sharp v. Murphy. SCOTUS never scheduled arguments for Sharp v. Murphy in the current term. Instead, the justices agreed to hear another case, McGirt v. Oklahoma, which concerns the same legal issues. Oral arguments for McGirt took place on May 11 and a decision is pending.

Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ upcoming 2020-21 term.


SCOTUS has issued two opinions since our June 22 issue. The court has issued rulings in 47 cases so far this term.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since June 22:

June 22

  • Liu v. SEC was argued on March 3, 2020.

    The case: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued business partners Charles Liu and Lisa Wang, alleging they had misappropriated funds and defrauded investors in their EB-5 visa business. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of the SEC, finding that Liu and Wang violated the Securities Act of 1933, and imposed civil penalties in addition to a disgorgement order requiring Liu and Wang to surrender to the SEC the millions of dollars they raised from investors.

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling. Liu and Wang appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing the SEC lacked the legal authority to ask the district court to impose a disgorgement order.

    Disgorgement is a “remedy requiring a party who profits from illegal or wrongful acts to give up any profits he or she made as a result of his or her illegal or wrongful conduct.”

    The outcome: In an 8-1 ruling, the court vacated 9th Circuit’s decision and remanded the case. The court said the SEC has the power to seek disgorgement orders as long as the orders do not exceed the wrongdoer’s net profit and as long as the money goes toward repaying any victims.

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the opinion of the court. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion.

June 25

  • Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam was argued on March 2, 2020.

    The case: Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Sri Lankan native, entered the United States without legal permission in 2017 by crossing the border with Mexico. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer apprehended Thuraissigiam and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began expedited removal proceedings. An asylum officer and later an immigration judge decided Thuraissigiam did not have a credible fear of persecution in Sri Lanka.

    Thuraissigiam filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The district court dismissed the petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, ruling the court was not authorized to review claims under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(e).

    On appeal, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the district court’s ruling. The 9th Circuit held that § 1252(e)(2) violated Thuraissigiam’s rights under the U.S. Constitution’s Suspension Clause, which bars suspension of a writ of habeas corpus once it has been issued. DHS appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    8 U.S.C. § 1252(e) provides that judicial review of expedited removal orders is available in habeas corpus proceedings with certain limitations.

    The outcome: The court ruled against Thuraissigiam in a 7-2 opinion, holding 8 U.S.C. § 1252(e) does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Suspension or Due Process clauses. In other words, “asylum-seekers whose initial asylum claims are denied by immigration officials have no right to a hearing in federal court.”

    Justice Samuel Alito delivered the court’s opinion. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Elena Kagan, dissented.

How are opinions released?

The court announces opinions on the homepage of its website,, and on the Opinions of the Court – 2019 page. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the court has been releasing opinions online.

SCOTUS does not announce in advance which cases will be decided on a given day or how many opinions will be released. Opinions are released in order of reverse seniority of the authoring justice in 10-minute intervals.

For more information on how SCOTUS releases orders and opinions, click here.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • June 29: SCOTUS will release orders and opinions.
  • June 30: SCOTUS will release opinions.
  • July 1: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.
  • July 2: SCOTUS will release orders.

The U.S. Supreme Court usually finishes releasing all opinions for the term by the end of June. This year might be different. When was the last time SCOTUS issued opinions into July?

  1. 2001
  2. 1996
  3. 1989
  4. 1968


The Senate has confirmed one new nominee since our June 22 issue.

Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 200 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—143 district court judges, 53 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices.

There are two upcoming Circuit Court vacancies. Andrew Brasher was already confirmed to succeed Judge Ed Carnes on the 11th Circuit. Carnes is expected to assume senior status on June 30. Justin Walker was confirmed to succeed Judge Thomas Griffith on the D.C. Circuit. Griffith is expected to retire on September 1.


President Trump has not announced any new Article III nominees since our June 22 edition.

The president has announced 262 Article III judicial nominations since taking office January 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017, 92 in 2018, and 77 in 2019. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.


The federal judiciary currently has 80 vacancies. As of publication, there were 50 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, an additional four judges have announced their intention to leave active judicial status during Trump’s first term.

For more information on judicial vacancies during Trump’s first term, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has not reported any new nominees out of committee since our June 22 edition.

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count, published at the start of each month, monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, if you prefer, we also maintain a list of individuals President Trump has nominated.

We’ll be back on July 13 with a new edition of Bold Justice.