SCOTUS issues rulings in four cases

The U.S. Supreme Court issued rulings in four cases on June 23. With the addition of these cases, the court has issued 56 opinions for its 2020-2021 term. Two cases were decided in one consolidated opinion, and seven cases were decided without argument. Eight cases argued during the term have yet to be decided.

Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. was a case argued before the court on April 28. It concerned Title 42 of the United States Code and whether Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) applies to students’ off-campus speech. In an 8-1 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit’s ruling, holding that while public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the Mahanoy Area School District were not sufficient to overcome B.L.’s interest in free expression in the case. Justice Stephen Breyer delivered the opinion of the court and Justice Clarence Thomas filed a dissent.

Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid was argued before the court on March 22. The case concerned the regulation of labor union organizers’ access to employees at worksites. In a 6-3 opinion, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that California’s access regulation constitutes a per se physical taking. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the court’s majority opinion. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Lange v. California was a case argued before the court on February 24. It concerned the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In a unanimous ruling, the court vacated the California First District Court of Appeal’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that under the Fourth Amendment, the pursuit of a fleeing misdemeanor suspect does not always or categorically justify a warrantless entry into a home. Justice Kagan authored the court’s majority opinion.

Collins v. Yellen was a case argued before the court on December 9, 2020. It concerned the extent of the president’s removal powers and control of independent federal agencies. In a 7-2 decision, the court held that restrictions on the president’s authority to remove the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency violated the separation of powers. The court also rejected the argument that the FHFA exceeded its authority as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored corporations that deal in mortgages. Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion of the court. Justice Sotomayor wrote an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, joined by Justice Breyer.

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