The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued rulings in three cases on June 17. Two of the cases, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and California v. Texas, were argued during the court’s November 2020 sitting. The third case, Nestlé USA v. Doe I, was argued during the court’s December 2020 sitting.
Fulton v. City of Philadelphia concerned the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. In a unanimous ruling, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the City of Philadelphia violated Catholic Social Service’s (CSS) right to free exercise under the First Amendment by excluding CSS from the foster care program due to CSS’s refusal to certify same-sex couples. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the court’s majority opinion.
With a 7-2 opinion in the case California v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge the ACA’s minimum essential coverage provision because they had not shown past or future injury fairly traceable to the defendants’ conduct enforcing the provision. Justice Stephen Breyer delivered the majority opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Samuel Alito filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch.
With an 8-1 opinion in the case Nestlé USA v. Doe I, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that to plead facts sufficient to support a domestic application of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), plaintiffs must allege more domestic conduct than general corporate activity common to most corporations. Justice Clarence Thomas announced the judgment of the court and delivered the opinion of the court with respect to Parts I and II, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, and an opinion with respect to Part III, in which Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh joined. Justice Gorsuch filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Alito joined as to Part I, and in which Justice Kavanaugh joined as to Part II. Justice Sotomayor filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Justices Breyer and Kagan joined. Justice Samuel Alito filed a dissenting opinion.
The court has issued 49 opinions this term. Two cases were decided in one consolidated opinion. Seven cases were decided without argument. Of the cases argued this term, 18 remain to be decided.