What a week.
We knew the cases that were coming, but the fascinating decisions from the court – and the ongoing unpredictability of Justices Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Gorsuch – is something that is going to be studied for a long time. What we may be dealing with in the next few years is a group of three justices that tend to lean right, but will have a Justice Kennedy-esque bouncing here and there with their decisions.
Here we go:
Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Dept. of State v. Baca– where states can determine for themselves how to handle presidential electors, and electors are required to follow state laws. 9-0 opinion delivered by Kagan.
Barr v. American Assn. of Political Consultants, Inc. – where the TCPA’s rule excepting government debt-collection cellphone robocalls is unconstitutional as it favors such calls over political speech. A sort of mishmash where everyone agreed that the exception was severable from the rest of the law, but differing opinions about the law in general.
Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania – where religious and moral exemptions to providing contraception per the ACA are allowed. 7-2 with Justice Thomas writing the opinion.
Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru – where religious schools can determine for themselves who is a minister. 7-2 with the opinion written by Alito.
Trump v. Vance – where the District Attorney of New York is allowed to review President Trump’s tax returns, but there may be some paths the President can take to prevent it. 7-2 with Roberts writing the opinion.
Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP – where the courts did NOT take into account proper separation of powers concerns, and Congress is not yet allowed access to President Trump’s tax returns. 7-2 with Justice Roberts again writing the opinion.
McGirt v. Oklahoma – where parts of Oklahoma are, for Major Crimes committed by Native Americans, under federal, and not state, jurisdiction. Opinion was written by Gorsuch with the left of the court, and Roberts, Kavanaugh, Alito, and Thomas dissenting.
Sharp v. Murphy – related to McGirt.
So there you have it – a term that went late. It looks like we are going to have arguments resume in early October, but the items on the board do not look like they will be quite as exciting for the present term.