On March 1, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted two cases for review during its 2021-2022 term. With the addition of these two cases, the court has granted review in a total of seven cases for the term, which is scheduled to begin on October 4, 2021.
• Babcock v. Saul concerns the requirements and interpretation of uniformed service under the Social Security Act’s uniformed services exception relating to civil service pension payment plans. The question presented to the court asks, “Is a civil-service pension payment based on dual-status military technician service to the National Guard a payment based wholly on service as a member of a uniformed service?” Babcock originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
• United States v. Vaello-Madero concerns the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause as it applies to residents of Puerto Rico being denied benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program of the Social Security Act. The question presented to the court is, “Whether Congress violated the equal-protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment by establishing Supplemental Security Income—a program that provides benefits to needy aged, blind, and disabled individuals—in the 50 States and the District of Columbia, and in the Northern Mariana Islands pursuant to a negotiated covenant, but not extending it to Puerto Rico.” Vaello-Madero originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing oral arguments as part of its 2020-2021 term, with its February sitting ending on March 3 and its March sitting beginning on March 22. As of February 25, the court had agreed to hear 63 cases during its 2020-2021 term. Of those, 12 were originally scheduled for the 2019-2020 term but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also as of February 25, the court had issued opinions in 16 cases this term. Four cases were decided without argument.