Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS begins October Term 2023-2024

Welcome to the Oct. 2 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

As the 38th governor of California once said, “I’ll be back.” And back we are, dear readers! Today, SCOTUS is kicking off its 2023-2024 term, and we could not be more excited. There’s so much to cover. Grab a seat and let’s gavel in!

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

Click the links below to learn more about these cases:

Oct. 2

  • Pulsifer v. United States concerns 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)(1) and the First Step Act of 2018. Specifically, the Court is asked to interpret the meaning of the word “and” in the provision.
    • The questions presented: “Whether a defendant satisfies the criteria in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)(1) as amended by the First Step Act of 2018 in order to qualify for the federal drug-sentencing “safety valve” provision so long as he does not have (a) more than four criminal history points, (b) a three-point offense, and (c) a two-point offense, or whether the defendant satisfies the criteria so long as he does not have (a), (b), or (c).”

Oct. 3

Oct. 4

  • Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer concerns the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • The questions presented: “Does a self-appointed Americans with Disabilities Act “tester” have Article III standing to challenge a place of public accommodation’s failure to provide disability accessibility information on its website, even if she lacks any intention of visiting that place of public accommodation?”

In its October 2022 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 60 cases during its 2022-2023 term. One case was dismissed. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ previous term.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • Oct. 2: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • Oct. 3: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • Oct. 4: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • Oct. 6: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

Federal court action


President Joe Biden (D) has announced four new Article III nominees since our Sept. 11 edition.

The president has announced 183 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has reported 12 new nominees out of committee since our last edition. 

The following nominees were reported to the full U.S. Senate for a confirmation vote on Sept. 12: 

The following nominees were reported on Sept. 14:


The Senate has confirmed four nominees since our Sept. 11 issue:


The federal judiciary currently has 70 vacancies, 69 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 25 upcoming vacancies in which judges have announced their intentions to leave active judicial status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during 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 Oct. 9 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 


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