Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS concludes February 2024 sitting

Welcome to the Feb. 26 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

It’s our favorite time of year, dear readers. Brace yourselves. Spring is coming. And as the snow starts to thaw, more SCOTUS opinions are coming out. There’s a lot to catch up on this week, so let’s gavel on in!

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

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!


SCOTUS has accepted no new cases to its merits docket since our Feb. 19 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear 61 cases for the 2023-2024 term, and two cases for the 2024-2025 term. 


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

Click the links below to learn more about these cases:

Feb. 26

  • Moody v. NetChoice, LLC concerns the First Amendment and whether certain Florida state laws moderating social media content are constitutional, and if social media platforms’ decisions to host or remove content and users are protected speech.
    • The questions presented: 1.” Whether the First Amendment prohibits a State from requiring that social-media companies host third-party communications, and from regulating the time, place, and manner in which they do so.”2. Whether the First Amendment prohibits a State from requiring social-media companies to notify and provide an explanation to their users when they censor the user’s speech.”
  • NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton concerns the First Amendment and web content.
    • The questions presented: “The question presented is whether the First Amendment prohibits viewpoint-, content-, or speaker-based laws restricting select websites from engaging in editorial choices about whether, and how, to publish and disseminate speech—or otherwise burdening those editorial choices through onerous operational and disclosure requirements.”

Feb. 27

Feb. 28

  • Garland v. Cargill concerns 26 U.S.C. 5845.
    • The questions presented: “Whether a bump stock device is a ‘machinegun’ as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5845(b) because it is designed and intended for use in converting a rifle into a machinegun, i.e., into a weapon that fires ‘automatically more than one shot * * * by a single function of the trigger.’”
  • Coinbase, Inc. v. Suski concerns delegation clauses to arbitration agreements.
    • The questions presented: “Where parties enter into an arbitration agreement with a delegation clause, should an arbitrator or a court decide whether that arbitration agreement is narrowed by a later contract that is silent as to arbitration and delegation?”

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


SCOTUS has ruled on two cases since our Feb. 19 edition. The court has issued rulings in five cases so far this term. One case was dismissed. 

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since Feb. 19:

Feb. 21

McElrath v. Georgia was argued before the court on Nov. 28, 2023.

The case: concerns the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The outcome: In a 9-0 opinion, the court reversed and remanded the judgment of the Georgia Supreme Court, holding that the jury’s verdict that Damian McElrath was not guilty of malice murder by reason of insanity counted as an acquittal for the purposes of double jeopardy. Therefore, he can’t be tried again on that charge. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson delivered the opinion of the court. Justice Samuel Alito filed a concurring opinion.

  • To remand a case means to return it to a lower court for additional proceedings.

Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., LLC was argued before the court on Oct. 10, 2023.

The case: concerns federal admiralty law and choice of law clauses in contracts relating to sea vessels.

  • Choice of law is when there is a conflict between the laws of different jurisdictions and a decision has to be made on which laws to apply.

The outcome: On Feb. 21, 2024, SCOTUS unanimously reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s decision, holding that “choice-of-law provisions in maritime contracts are presumptively enforceable under federal maritime law, with narrow exceptions not applicable here.” Justice Brett Kavanaugh delivered the majority opinion of the court. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • Feb. 26: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • Feb. 27: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • Feb. 28: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 1: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

Federal court action


President Joe Biden (D) has announced five new Article III nominees since our Feb. 19 edition.

The president has announced 218 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 no new nominees out of committee since our  Feb. 19 edition.


The Senate has confirmed no new nominees since our Feb. 19 issue.


The federal judiciary currently has 56 vacancies, 55 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of publication, there were 27 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 30 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.

Federal courts recent news

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on March 11 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.