Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS begins first week of December 2023 sitting

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

On behalf of the Robe & Gavel writers, thank you, dear readers, for allowing us to bring you these federal judicial updates. As usual, there is a lot to cover. So grab a seat, and let’s gavel in!

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SCOTUS has accepted two new cases to its merits docket since our Nov. 13 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear 46 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 four arguments this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases:

Nov. 27

  • Brown v. United States (Consolidated with Jackson v. United States) concerns the Armed Career Criminal Act.
    • The questions presented: 1. “Whether the serious drug offense definition in the Armed Career Criminal Act,18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(A)(ii), incorporates the federal drug schedules that were in effect at the time of the federal firearm offense (as the Third, Fourth, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits have held), or the federal drug schedules that were in effect at the time of the prior state drug offense.

2. “[w]hich version of federal law should a sentencing court consult under ACCA’s categorical approach?”

Nov. 28

  • McElrath v. Georgia concerns the Fifth Amendment.
    • The question presented: “Does the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibit a second prosecution for a crime of which a defendant was previously acquitted?”
  • Wilkinson v. Garland concerns 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D) and 1252(a)(2)(B)(i).
    • The questions presented: “[W]hether an agency determination that a given set of established facts does not rise to the statutory standard of “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” is a mixed question of law and fact reviewable under § 1252(a)(2)(D), as three circuits have held, or whether this determination is a discretionary judgment call unreviewable under § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i), as the court below and two other circuits have concluded.”

November 29, 2023

  • Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy concerns the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Seventh Amendment.
    • The questions presented: 1. “Whether statutory provisions that empower the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to initiate and adjudicate administrative enforcement proceedings seeking civil penalties violate the Seventh Amendment. 

2. “Whether statutory provisions that authorize the SEC to choose to enforce the securities laws through an agency adjudication instead of filing a district court action violate the nondelegation doctrine.

3. “Whether Congress violated Article II by granting for-cause removal protection to administrative law judges in agencies whose heads enjoy for-cause removal protection.”

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:

  • Nov. 27: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • Nov. 28: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • Nov. 29: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • Dec. 1: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

Federal court action


President Joe Biden has announced eight new federal judicial nominees since our Nov. 13 edition.

The president has announced 195 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 two new nominees out of committee on Nov. 9.


The Senate has confirmed one nominee since our Nov. 13 issue.


The federal judiciary currently has 65 vacancies, 64 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of publication, there were 34 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there are 31 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 Dec. 4 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.