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SCOTUS announces it will hear oral arguments in person

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) announced on Sept. 8 that it would hear oral arguments in person for the first time since March 4, 2020, for its October, November, and December sittings.

However, the court will not be open to the public, in accordance with its current precautions in response to COVID-19. Argument audio will be streamed live to the public, as was the case during the 2020-2021 term. The audio files and argument transcripts for cases will be posted on the Court’s website following oral argument each day.

The Supreme Court’s October sitting is scheduled to begin on October 4. Nine cases have been scheduled for a total of nine hours of oral argument. 

October 4

  1. Mississippi v. Tennessee
  2. Wooden v. United States

October 5

  1. Brown v. Davenport
  2. Servotronics, Inc. v. Rolls-Royce PLC

October 6

  1. United States v. Zubaydah

October 12

  1. Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C.
  2. Hemphill v. New York

October 13

  1. United States v. Tsarnaev
  2. Babcock v. Saul

As of Sept. 8, the court had agreed to hear 33 cases during the term. Of those, 13 cases have not yet been scheduled for argument.

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SCOTUS grants review in capital case

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Sept. 8 accepted a capital case to its merits docket for the 2021-2022 term. The case, Ramirez v. Collier, originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, located in New Orleans.

John Ramirez filed an emergency appeal with the court on Sept. 7 to postpone his execution and to hear his case on the merits. Ramirez was convicted of a 2004 murder and was sentenced to be executed on Sept. 9. Ramirez requested that his pastor be allowed to pray over him and physically touch him in the execution chamber while he was put to death. The State of Texas refused the request. Ramirez argued that this denial was a violation of his constitutional and federally protected religious rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. The state argued that it did not force Ramirez to violate his religion, rather, it was not meeting all of his religious needs. 

SCOTUS granted the emergency appeal to stay the execution and accepted the case for oral arguments this fall in order to consider the aid a spiritual advisor may or may not provide during an execution.

To date, the court has agreed to hear 34 cases for the 2021-2022 term. Two cases were dismissed after they were accepted. Fourteen cases have yet to be scheduled for arguments.

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Update: SCOTUS issues 5-4 ruling rejecting emergency appeal to Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a 5-4 ruling on Sept. 1, denying a request to block enforcement of a Texas law banning abortion procedures after six weeks of pregnancy and authorizing private civil right of action related to violations of the law. The latter authorization allows private citizens to bring civil actions against individuals for violating the law or aiding in violation of the law. The bill, S.B. 8, was signed into law on May 19 by Governor Greg Abbott (R). 

The ruling came after the court on Aug. 31 did not respond to the emergency appeal filed by a group of abortion providers seeking to block enforcement of the law. The appellants argued that the law violated the Supreme Court’s rulings in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), establishing the constitutional right to have an abortion before the point of fetal viability, approximately 24 weeks into a pregnancy. 

The emergency appeal was submitted through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to Justice Samuel Alito, the justice assigned to review emergency appeals originating from the circuit court. As the circuit justice, Alito referred the matter to the full court for consideration.

In the unsigned opinion from the Sept. 1 ruling, the court stated: “The applicants now before us have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue. But their application also presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden.”

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan would have granted the application to stop the law’s enforcement, and each filed dissenting opinions.

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SCOTUS roundup: noteworthy court announcements in August 2021

Although the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is in its summer recess, the court has issued orders and opinions emanating from its emergency docket this month. The emergency docket refers to orders and opinions issued in cases that are not part of the court’s merits docket of cases that are scheduled for argument.

Aug. 12

  1. Justice Barrett denies request related to university vaccine requirement: JusticeAmy Coney Barrett denied a request for an application for injunctive relief filed by a group of students at Indiana University. Injunctive relief, also known as an injunction, is a judicial order stopping a party from performing certain actions, or requiring an action to be performed in a specific manner. The application requested that the court block the school’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students. The request was denied without being referred to the full court.
  2. Court issues ruling on state eviction moratorium: In a 6-3per curiam ruling, SCOTUS granted an injunction filed by a group of landlords in New York. The application requested that the court lift part of a state moratorium on residential evictions–Part A of the COVID Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act (CEEFPA)–established in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. JusticeStephen Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, joined by JusticesSonia Sotomayor andElena Kagan.

Aug. 20

  1. Justice Barrett denies request for injunction of groundbreaking for Obama presidential library: JusticeAmy Coney Barrett denied a request for an injunction filed by Protect Our Parks, Inc. The application requested that the court block the groundbreaking construction and excavation related to building the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park in Chicago, Illinois. The request was denied without being referred to the full court.

Aug. 24

  1. Court rejects application for stay of Trump administration “remain in Mexico” policy: SCOTUS denied the Biden administration’s application for a stay, or a halt, of aU.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas injunction requiring the reinstatement of a Trump administration program referred to as the “remain in Mexico” policy. The policy requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting a U.S. immigration court hearing. The order stated that JusticesStephen Breyer,Sonia Sotomayor, andElena Kagan would have granted the application.

Aug. 26

  1. Court issues ruling on federal eviction moratorium: In a 6-3per curiam ruling, SCOTUS granted an application, filed by the Alabama Association of REALTORS et al, to vacate the nationwide moratorium on evictions of tenants living in a county experiencing substantial or high levels of COVID–19 transmission and who make declarations of financial need. The moratorium was imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In the unsigned opinion, the court stated, “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it. The application to vacate stay presented to the Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is granted.” Justice Stephen Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, joined by JusticesSonia Sotomayor andElena Kagan.

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SCOTUS adds two cases to its 2021-2022 term

The U.S. Supreme Court accepted two cases for review during its 2021-2022 term on Aug. 23. With the addition of these two cases, the court has granted review in a total of 33 cases for the term, which is scheduled to begin on Oct. 4. 

  1. Johnson v. Arteaga-Martinez concerns the right of non-citizens to a bond hearing after a certain amount of time in immigration detention. The question presented to the court was, “Whether an alien who is detained under 8 U.S.C. 1231 is entitled by statute, after six months of detention, to a bond hearing at which the government must prove to an immigration judge by clear and convincing evidence that the alien is a flight risk or a danger to the community.” Arteaga-Martinez originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
  2. Garland v. Gonzalez concerns the right of non-citizens in immigration detention to a bond hearing and the jurisdiction of federal courts to grant class-wide injunctive relief in such cases. Two questions were presented to the court: “1. Whether an alien who is detained under 8 U.S.C. 1231 is entitled by statute, after six months of detention, to a bond hearing at which the government must prove to an immigration judge that the alien is a flight risk or a danger to the community. 2. Whether, under 8 U.S.C. § 1252 (f) (1), the courts below had jurisdiction to grant classwide injunctive relief.” Gonzalez originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

The Supreme Court finished hearing oral arguments for its 2020-2021 term in May 2021. During the term, the court issued 67 opinions with two cases decided in one consolidated opinion and 10 cases decided without oral argument. The court’s 2021-2022 term is set to begin on Oct. 4 with oral arguments in Mississippi v. Tennessee and Wooden v. United States.

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U.S. Supreme Court announces November argument calendar

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Aug. 16 released its calendar for the November sitting of the 2021-2022 term, scheduling nine cases for argument. The court will hear nine hours of oral argument between Nov. 1 and Nov. 10. 

Click the links below to learn more about the cases:

Nov. 1

  1. Thompson v. Clark
  2. Shinn v. Ramirez

Nov. 2

  1. Houston Community College System v. Wilson
  2. Badgerow v. Walters

Nov. 3

  1. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett

Nov. 8

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fazaga
  2. Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, LP

Nov. 9

  1. Pivotal Software, Inc. v. Tran

Nov. 10

  1. City of Austin, Texas v. Reagan National Advertising of Texas, Inc.

The court issued the October sitting calendar on July 13. Click here to review the cases scheduled for argument in October.

To date, 11 cases accepted for review have not yet been scheduled for argument. Two cases were dismissed after they were accepted. The court has agreed to hear 31 cases total during the 2021-2022 term.

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U.S. Supreme Court releases October 2021 argument calendar

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released the argument calendar for its October 2021 sitting on July 13. The court will begin hearing arguments for its 2021-2022 term on Oct. 4, with nine cases currently scheduled for oral argument during the month.

Cases scheduled for the October sitting include:

October 4

  1. Mississippi v. Tennessee
  2. Wooden v. United States

October 5

  1. Brown v. Davenport
  2. Servotronics, Inc. v. Rolls-Royce PLC

October 6

  1. United States v. Zubaydah

October 12

  1. Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C.
  2. Hemphill v. New York

October 13

  1. United States v. Tsarnaev
  2. Babcock v. Saul

To date, SCOTUS has agreed to hear 31 cases during its 2021-2022 term. Of those, 20 have not yet been scheduled for argument, and two cases were dismissed. During its 2020-2021 term, the court agreed to hear oral arguments in 62 cases.

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Supreme Court cases, October term 2020-2021

History of the Supreme Court

Supreme Court of the United States



Ballotpedia releases reversal rate analysis for U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020-2021 term

During its October 2020 term, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued opinions in 69 cases. It reversed 55 lower court decisions (79.7%) and affirmed 14. This term’s reversal rate was 9 percentage points higher than the average rate of reversal since 2007 (70.7%). Sixteen cases originated from the 9th Circuit, the most from any circuit (including state courts). The 9th Circuit’s judgment was reversed in 15 of those cases.

When SCOTUS is asked to review a case, a petition for a writ of certiorari must be filed within 90 days of a lower court’s ruling. Each term, approximately 7,000 to 8,000 new petitions are filed with the court. During its weekly conference—a private meeting of the justices—the court reviews these petitions. Granting certiorari requires affirmative votes from four justices.

SCOTUS hears and reaches decisions in an average of 76 cases each year. There are two major decisions the court can make—affirm a lower court’s ruling or reverse it. Most cases originate from a lower court—any one of the 13 appeals circuits, state-level courts, or U.S. district courts. Original jurisdiction cases, which typically involve disputes between two states, cannot be considered affirmed or reversed since SCOTUS is the first and only court that rules in the case.

Since 2007, SCOTUS has released opinions in 1,062 cases. Of those, it reversed a lower court decision 751 times (70.7%) and affirmed a lower court decision 303 times (28.5%). During this time, SCOTUS has decided more cases originating from the 9th Circuit (207) than from any other circuit. The next-most is the 5th Circuit, which had 79 decisions. SCOTUS has overturned a greater number of cases originating from the 9th Circuit (164), but it overturned a higher percentage of cases originating in the 6th Circuit (81.1%, or 60 of 74 cases).

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SCOTUS issues two per curiam opinions, accepts new cases for review

Image of the front of the United States Supreme Court building.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued orders on June 28 from its weekly conference, issuing two per curiam opinions and granting review in two cases for its upcoming October 2021 term.

The following two cases were decided without argument in per curiam rulings. A per curiam opinion is unsigned and delivered by the court as a whole.

  • In the case Lombardo v. City of St. Louis, Missouri, a case involving excessive force precedent, SCOTUS vacated the lower court’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings in a 6-3 opinion. Justice Samuel Alito filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.
  • In Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco, California, a case concerning takings claims, the court ruled unanimously to vacate the lower court’s ruling and remanded the case.

To date, the court has issued 61 opinions this term. Two cases were decided in one consolidated opinion. Nine cases were decided without argument. Five cases argued during the term have yet to be decided.

The court accepted two cases to be argued during the 2021-2022 term:

  • City of Austin, Texas v. Reagan National Advertising of Texas Inc. concerns the constitutionality of a municipal sign code. The case originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
  • Patel v. Garland involves judicial review of non-discretionary determinations in immigration proceedings. The case originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

To date, the court has agreed to hear 21 cases during its 2021-2022 term. One case was dismissed after it was granted.

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U.S. Supreme Court issues rulings in three cases on June 25

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued rulings in three cases on June 25. One case—Transunion LLC v. Ramirez—was argued during the court’s March sitting, and two cases—Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC v. Renewable Fuels Association—were argued during the court’s April sitting.

Transunion LLC v. Ramirez concerned the standing of plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit. The court reversed the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and remanded the case for further proceedings in a 5-4 ruling, holding that members of the class-action lawsuit whose credit files were not provided to third-party businesses did not suffer a concrete harm from TransUnion’s actions and therefore lacked standing to sue under Article III. Justice Brett Kavanaugh delivered the opinion of the court. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor.

With a 6-3 opinion in Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings. The court held that Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) are “Indian tribe[s]” under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDA) and, as a result, are eligible for CARES Act funding. Justice Sonia Sotomayor authored the court’s majority opinion. Justice Neil Gorsuch filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan.

In the case of HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC v. Renewable Fuels Association, the court issued another 6-3 opinion, reversing the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit’s ruling. The lower court’s ruling held that a small refinery that previously received a hardship exemption may obtain an extension even if it experienced a lapse in exemption coverage during the previous year. Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the majority opinion. Justice Amy Coney Barrett filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

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