Monday, October 04, 2021

Oyez Oyez Oyez! (UPDATED)

UPDATE -- Clarence Thomas asked the first question today in open court... so it wasn't just that he was going to ask questions telephonically.

SECOND UPDATE -- Oral arguments are live-streamed this Term!

  It's the First Monday in October, which means the Supreme Court Justices are coming back from their summer vacations.  (In addition to term limits as SCOTUS reform, I think it's time to do away with their three month break in the summer.)  So what's on tap for this Term?  Here's a good summary of the biggest cases, which address abortion and guns, from Vox:

For four decades, anti-abortion activists have dreamed of the day when the Supreme Court would overrule Roe v. Wade. That day could be just months away, as the Court will hear a case this winter asking it to destroy Roe.

The National Rifle Association, like other, even more strident gun rights groups, spent those decades dreaming of an expansive Second Amendment that sweeps even the most venerable firearms regulations into the trash bin. This fall, the Court will hear a challenge to a 108-year-old law laying out who may obtain a license to carry a firearm in New York.

A more obscure issue, but one that could have even more sweeping consequences, is the question of when federal agencies — acting pursuant to a statute enacted by Congress — may regulate private businesses and individuals. The conservative Federalist Society has long obsessed over plans to strip federal agencies of this regulatory power. This month, right-wing groups flooded the Supreme Court with briefs asking the justices to overrule a seminal precedent preventing judges from sabotaging agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

It remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, will make all these groups’ dreams come true. But Republican advocacy organizations of all stripes appear convinced that now is the time to shoot for the moon, and so these issues — along with a host of others ranging from anti-discrimination law to partisan gerrymandering — are on the docket this coming Supreme Court term, which starts Monday, October 4.

In other SCOTUS news:

1.    Justice Alito is fired up over the shadow docket criticism.   From the NY Times:

In a combative speech on Thursday, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. defended several of the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on what critics call its “shadow docket,” saying the news media had created the impression that “a dangerous cabal is deciding important issues in a novel, secretive, improper way in the middle of the night, hidden from public view.”

He addressed the recent decisions in unusual detail, rejecting, for instance, what he said was the “false and inflammatory claim that we nullified Roe v. Wade” in early September by allowing a Texas law that bans most abortions after six weeks to come into effect.

“We did no such thing, and we said so expressly in our order,” he said, quoting from it. Indeed, the majority in the 5-to-4 ruling said it based its decision on procedural grounds and did not address the constitutionality of the Texas law.

The effect of the ruling, however, has been to deny abortions to most women in Texas. In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the majority’s unsigned order “illustrates just how far the court’s ‘shadow docket’ decisions may depart from the usual principles of appellate process.”

“Without full briefing or argument, and after less than 72 hours’ thought,” she wrote, “this court greenlights the operation of Texas’ patently unconstitutional law banning most abortions.”

Justice Alito’s speech, at the University of Notre Dame, was largely devoted to addressing the “shadow docket,” which he called a loaded and misleading phrase.

“The catchy and sinister term ‘shadow docket’ has been used to portray the court as having been captured by a dangerous cabal that resorts to sneaky and improper methods to get its ways,” he said. “This portrayal feeds unprecedented efforts to intimidate the court and to damage it as an independent institution.”

2.      Justice Kavanaugh has COVID.

3.      So he couldn't go to Justice Barrett's investiture.


Anonymous said...

That is not a "good summary."

Anonymous said...

Rumpole posted a picture of scotus and called it our gang with alfalfa and spanky Et al. Pretty funny.