Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS concludes March 2024 sitting

Welcome to the March 25 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

Dearest gentle reader, we hope you’re ready. We have a number of updates for you as SCOTUS closes its March 2024 sitting. Let’s get right to it and gavel in!

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SCOTUS has accepted no new cases to its merits docket since our March 18 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 five arguments this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases:

March 25

  • Becerra v. San Carlos Apache Tribe concerns the Indian Health Service (IHS) and contract support costs.
    • The questions presented: “Whether IHS must pay ‘contract support costs’ not only to support IRS-funded activities, but also to support the tribe’s expenditure of income collected from third parties.”
  • Harrow v. Department of Defense concerns the 60-day deadline for judicial reviews of decisions of the Merit Systems Protection Board.
    • The questions presented: “The question presented is whether the 60-day deadline in Section 7703(b)(1)(A) is jurisdictional.”

March 26

  • Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine concerns whether Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al. had standing under Article III to challenge actions that the Food and Drug Administration took in 2016 and 2021.
    • The questions presented: “1. Whether respondents have Article III standing to challenge FDA’s 2016 and 2021 actions. 2. Whether FDA’s 2016 and 2021 actions were arbitrary and capricious. 3. Whether the district court properly granted preliminary relief. 2. Whether an association can demonstrate Article III standing to enjoin a government action by arguing that some unspecified member may be injured at some future time by the challenged action; and 2. Whether the Fifth Circuit erred in upholding the preliminary injunction of FDA’s 2016 and 2021 actions based on the court’s review of an incomplete administrative record.”

March 27

  • Erlinger v. United States concerns the Armed Career Criminal Act.
    • The questions presented: “Whether the Constitution requires a jury trial and proof beyond a reasonable doubt to find that a defendant’s prior convictions were ‘committed on occasions different from one another,’ as is necessary to impose an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1)”
  • Connelly v. Internal Revenue Service concerns the federal estate tax.
    • The questions presented: “Whether the proceeds of a life-insurance policy taken out by a closely held corporation on a shareholder in order to facilitate the redemption of the shareholder’s stock should be considered a corporate asset when calculating the value of the shareholder’s shares for purposes of the federal estate tax.”

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 March 18 edition. The court has issued rulings in eleven cases so far this term. 

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since March 18:

March 19

Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fikre was argued before the court on Jan. 8.

The case: concerns challenges to an individual’s placement on the U.S. No Fly List and moot claims. Relevant laws at issue in the case include Title 49 United States Code § 114, 44901, 44903, and Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 1560.105, 205.

The outcome: In a 9-0 opinion, the court affirmed the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, holding that the government did not demonstrate that Yonas Fikre’s removal from the No Fly List mooted his case because the government did not reveal the conduct that caused him to be placed on the list. Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the court.

Wilkinson v. Garland was argued before the court on Nov. 28.

The case: concerns 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D) and 1252(a)(2)(B)(i).

The outcome: In a 6-3 opinion, the court reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. SCOTUS held that the Third Circuit erred in concluding it lacked jurisdiction to review the immigration judge’s decision in Wilkinson’s case. The court found that an immigration judge’s discretionary decision that a set of established facts does not meet the exceptional and extremely unusual hardship criteria in 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(D) for determining cancellation of removal is a mixed question of law and fact. Therefore, the immigration judge’s decision is reviewable under §1252(a)(2)(D)’s jurisdiction for questions of law. Justice Sonia Sotomayor authored the majority opinion of the Court.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • March 25: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 26: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • March 27: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 28: 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 March 18 edition.

The president has announced 223 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 18 edition.


The Senate has confirmed two nominees since our March 18 issue.


The federal judiciary currently has 47 vacancies, 46 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of publication, there were 26 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 29 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 April 8 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.