Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS enters first week of November sitting

Welcome to the Oct. 30 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

The 2023 term is in full swing! We are forging into our second month of arguments, and as always, there is a lot to cover. So grab a seat, dear reader, and let’s gavel in. 

Follow Ballotpedia on X or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!


SCOTUS has accepted five new cases to its merits docket since our Oct. 9 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear 40 cases for the 2023-2024 term. SCOTUS dismissed one case after it was accepted. 

Click the links below to learn more about these cases:


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

Click the links below to learn more about these cases:

Oct. 30

  • Culley v. Marshall concerns the Due Process Clause.
    • The question presented: “In determining whether the Due Process Clause requires a state or local government to provide a post seizure probable cause hearing prior to a statutory judicial forfeiture proceeding and, if so, when such a hearing must take place, should district courts apply the ‘speedy trial’ test employed in United States v. $8,850, 461 U.S. 555 (1983) and Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972), as held by the Eleventh Circuit or the three-part due process analysis set forth in Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976) as held by at least the Second, Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits.”

Oct. 31

  • Lindke v. Freed concerns section 1983 of Title 42.
    • The question presented: “Whether a public official’s social media activity can constitute state action only if the official used the account to perform a governmental duty or under the authority of his or her office.”
  • O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier concerns the First Amendment and public officials’ social media behavior.
    • The question presented: “Whether a public official engages in state action subject to the First Amendment by blocking an individual from the official’s personal social-media account, when the official uses the account to feature their job and communicate about job-related matters with the public, but does not do so pursuant to any governmental authority or duty.”

Nov. 1

  • Vidal v. Elster concerns trademark registration under 15 U.S.C. § 1052(c) and the First Amendment.
    • The questions presented: “Whether the refusal to register a mark under Section 1052(c) violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment when the mark contains criticism of a government official or public figure.”

In its October 2022 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 60 cases. 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. 30: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • Oct. 31: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • Nov. 1: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • Nov. 3: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

Federal court action


President Biden has announced two new Article III nominees since our Oct. 9 edition.

The president has announced 185 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 four new nominees out of committee since our Oct. 9 edition.


The Senate has confirmed two nominees since our Oct. 9 issue.


The federal judiciary currently has 68 vacancies, 67 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 were 28 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention 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 Nov. 6 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 


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