Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS Closes March 2023 Sitting

Welcome to the March 27th edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

Where has the time gone, dear reader? We’re already nearing the end of our March sitting. As always, there’s a lot to catch up on, so let’s gavel on in. 

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SCOTUS has not accepted any new cases to its merits docket since our March 20 edition.


The Supreme Court will hear arguments in six cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases:

March 27, 2023

  • Amgen Inc. v. Sanofi concerns enablement under the The Patent Act.
    • The questions presented: “Whether enablement is governed by the statutory requirement that the specification teach those skilled in the art to ‘make and use’ the claimed invention, 35 U.S.C. § 112, or whether it must instead enable those skilled in the art ‘to reach the full scope’ of claimed embodiments’ without undue experimentation-i.e., to cumulatively identify and make all or nearly all embodiments of the invention without substantial ‘time and effort,’ Pet.App. 14a (emphasis added).”
  • United States v. Hansen concerns a First Amendment challenge to U.S. immigration law outlawing the inducement of illegal immigration for personal financial gain, and the court’s ruling in United States v. Sineneng-Smith (2019).
    • The questions presented: “Whether the federal criminal prohibition against encouraging or inducing unlawful immigration for commercial advantage or private financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) and (B)(i), is facially unconstitutional on First Amendment overbreadth grounds.”

March 28, 2023

  • Smith v. The United States concerns the proper remedy for when an accused offender has been tried in the wrong court.
    • The questions presented: “Whether the proper remedy for the government’s failure to prove venue is an acquittal barring re-prosecution of the offense, as the Fifth and Eighth Circuits have held, or whether instead the government may re-try the defendant for the same offense in a different venue, as the Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits have held.”
  • Lora v. United States concerns declarations against interest and penalties for crimes committed under 18 U.S.C. § 924(j).
    • The questions presented: “Whether 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(D)(ii), which provides that ‘no term of imprisonment imposed … under this subsection shall run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment,’ is triggered when a defendant is convicted and sentenced under 18 U.S.C. § 924(j).”

March 29, 2023

  • Samia v. United States concerns the right of a defendant to confront the witnesses against them, known as the Confrontation Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment.
    • The questions presented: “Whether admitting a codefendant’s redacted out-of-court confession that immediately inculpates a defendant based on the surrounding context violates the defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment.”
  • Polselli v. Internal Revenue Service concerns the scope of § 7609(c)(2)(D)(i) and the relationship that summonsed records have with delinquent taxpayers.
    • The questions presented: “…whether the § 7609(c)(2)(D)(i) exception applies only when the delinquent taxpayer owns or has a legal interest in the summonsed records (as the Ninth Circuit holds), or whether the exception applies to a summons for anyone’s records whenever the IRS thinks that person’s records might somehow help it collect a delinquent taxpayer’s liability (as the Sixth Circuit, joining the Seventh Circuit, held below).”


SCOTUS has ruled on one case since our March 20 edition. The court has issued rulings in eight cases so far this term. Fifty-two cases are still under deliberation.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since March 20:

March 21, 2023

Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools was argued before the court on Jan. 18, 2023.

The case: The case concerns whether a student with special needs must first exhaust the administrative adjudication procedures required by IDEA before bringing an educational complaint in federal court under another statute, such as the ADA, when IDEA does not provide the relief they seek.

The outcome: The Supreme Court reversed the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Supreme Court unanimously held that IDEA’s administrative requirements did not prevent Perez from moving forward with his ADA complaint because IDEA does not address the type of compensatory relief sought by Perez. The opinion was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • March 27, 2023: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 28, 2023: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 29, 2023: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 31, 2023: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.


President Joe Biden (D) has announced four new Article III nominees since our March 20 edition. The president has announced 158 Article III judicial nominations since taking office Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has reported no new nominees out of committee since our March 20 edition.


The Senate has confirmed one nominee since our March 20 issue.


The federal judiciary currently has 75 vacancies, 73 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of publication, there were 35 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there are 35 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active judicial status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during President Biden’s term, click here.

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count 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, keep an eye on our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on April 10 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 


Myj Saintyl compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Sam Post.