Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS begins March 2024 sitting

Welcome to the March 18 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

SCOTUS has just begun its March sitting and there’s a lot to cover. So grab a seat, dear reader, and let’s gavel in.

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SCOTUS has accepted no new cases to its merits docket since our March 11 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear 62 cases for the 2023-2024 term. SCOTUS dismissed one case after it was accepted. Two cases have been accepted 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:

March 18

  • Murthy v. Missouri concerns misinformation and censorship claims under the First Amendment related to COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election.
    • The questions presented: “(1) Whether respondents have Article III standing; (2) Whether the government’s challenged conduct transformed private social-media companies’ content-moderation decisions into state action and violated respondents’ First Amendment rights; and (3) Whether the terms and breadth of the preliminary injunction are proper.”
  • National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo concerns the First Amendment.
    • The questions presented: “Does the First Amendment allow a government regulator to threaten regulated entities with adverse regulatory actions if they do business with a controversial speaker, as a consequence of (a) the government’s own hostility to the speaker’s viewpoint or (b) a perceived ‘general backlash’ against the speaker’s advocacy?”

March 19

  • Diaz v. United States concerns Federal Rule of Evidence 704(b).
    • The questions presented: “In a prosecution for drug trafficking–where an element of the offense is that the defendant knew she was carrying illegal drugs-does Rule 704(b) permit a governmental expert witness to testify that most couriers know they are carrying drugs and that drug-trafficking organizations do not entrust large quantities of drugs to unknowing transporters?”
  • Truck Insurance Exchange v. Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc. concerns Chapter 11 bankruptcies.
    • The questions presented: “Whether an insurer with financial responsibility for a bankruptcy claim is a ‘party in interest’ that may object to a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization.”

March 20

  • Gonzalez v. Trevino concerns the probable cause exception in Nieves v. Bartlett (2019). In Nieves, SCOTUS held that if there was probable cause for an arrest, a retaliatory arrest claim would fail as a matter of law.
    • The questions presented: “1. Whether the Nieves probable cause exception can be satisfied by objective evidence other than specific examples of arrests that never happened. 2. Whether the Nieves probable cause rule is limited to individual claims against arresting officers for split-second arrests.”
  • Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado concerns the Rio Grande Compact between Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico.
    • The questions presented: “EXCEPTION OF THE UNITED STATE TO THE THIRD INTERIM REPORT OF THE SPECIAL MASTER: The United States excepts to the Special Master’s recommendation that the States’ joint motion to enter a consent decree be granted.”

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 three cases since our March 11 edition. The court has issued rulings in nine cases so far this term.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since March 11:

March 15

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • March 18: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 19: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 20: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 22: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

Federal court action


President Joe Biden has announced no new Article III nominees since our March 11 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 March 11 edition.


The Senate has confirmed five nominees since our March 11 issue.


The federal judiciary currently has 50 vacancies, 49 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of publication, there were 24 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there are 29 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intentions 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 March 25 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.