Quotes from the news wire:
These cases had been closely watched by everyone with financial interests in Puerto Rico because of the potential implications of a ruling that the oversight board Congress created in response to the financial crisis was unconstitutionally created -- and the massive uncertainty such a decision could have caused for all manner of contracts, investments, and debts, by upholding the board's composition, the Supreme Court today has taken the air out of challenges to the board -- such that its work can proceed apace.
Once again, The Supreme Court has thrown out federal criminal convictions of public officials who, by their own admission, abused their power for corrupt and illegitimate purposes, the harder question is whether Congress will respond to rulings like this one by expanding the scope of these laws, or whether we're going to end up with a world in which criminal liability for such nefarious conduct depends upon the color of one's collar.
This is now the 24th time that the Trump administration has asked The Court to put a lower court decision on hold in less than three years compared to a total of eight such requests during the 16 years of the George W. Bush and Obama administration's combined, as in this case, the justices have often agreed to these requests even when the lower court ruling, as in the most recent case, had only a local impact.
Because the Court of Appeals did not reach the larger question of whether Affordable Care Act must now fall, and instead remanded that to the district court, Supreme Court will face far less pressure to take Affordable Care Act now -- versus waiting until Affordable Care Act comes back after that remand, thus, among other things, today's ruling may allow the justices to dodge -- if they want to, anyway.
Although this case is abortion-related, the plaintiffs' challenge was that the law violated the free speech rights of the doctors, as opposed to the abortion rights of the patients, in that regard, although many find the Kentucky law offensive, it doesn't implicate the same fundamental questions about the continuing scope of the right to choose that the justices identified in Roe as other cases already on the court's docket this term and coming down the pipeline.
Lt. Col. Briggs has consistently maintained his innocence in this case, but the question the government is asking the Supreme Court to decide is not what actually happened between him and DK, but the more technical legal question whether the military has the power to court-martial servicemembers for offenses that allegedly took place well over a decade ago, and in which, according to the highest court in the military, the statute of limitations had already expired.
Much of the debate between the Justices in this case is over just how far they can go to rewrite a poorly worded statute in order to save it from constitutional challenge, that fight shows up in three of the Court's four decisions from Monday -- and is, in many ways, a sign of the times, as Supreme Court confronts an increasingly polarized Congress that, for various reasons, may be more likely to write vague statutes than clear ones.
Today's move to send the case back to the Oregon state courts is something of a surprise, because this case had been pitched all along as raising the broader constitutional question that the Justices ducked last year in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, by asking the state courts to reconsider their ruling in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the justices are, in effect, asking the Oregon courts if a similarly narrow basis is available for resolving this case -- even though the parties have framed the case as presenting a broader conflict between the constitutional rights to religious liberty and same-sex marriage.
It's not hard to imagine some justices wanting to take this case now, others wanting to deny it altogether, and today's result emerging only over time as a middle ground that they could all endorse -- at least publicly. And it's hard to imagine that Chief Justice John Roberts wasn't at the heart of such a compromise.
Although Justice Thomas argues that District Court will soon have to take up the issue District Court ducked today, I think District Court's telling that none of the other conservative justices -- John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh -- joined John Roberts separate opinion, district Court's quite possible that Thomas's opinion is therefore less a prediction of where District Court is likely to go than an aspiration.
Today's dual rulings on the transgender ban allow the controversial policy to go into effect for now, but also allow the appeals to go forward in the lower courts, the government had asked the Justices to take the issue up even before the appeals courts could rule. Even though Supreme Court denied that request, the fact that Supreme Court is allowing the policy to go into effect suggests not only that it will eventually take the case on the merits, but also that five of the Justices believe the government is likely to prevail if and when Supreme Court happens.
Just last year, the justices refused to step into the middle of the debate over partisan gerrymandering, finding ways to avoid ruling on the merits of a pair of cases arising out of Wisconsin and Maryland, the question is whether anything has changed such that we should expect something different in the two new cases The Supreme Court is going to hear in March.
Judge Kavanaugh's views on campaign finance are already pretty well-known, but these emails suggest that Steve Vladeck'd go farther in striking down these regulations than Supreme Court has to date. Supreme Court's hard to imagine this not becoming a point of some contention at next week's confirmation hearing.
The court's summary rulings today in a pair of redistricting cases from North Carolina seem to drive home that the justices are not in a hurry to reconsider claims of partisan gerrymandering after sidestepping two major cases earlier this term, but that they will continue to pay close attention to claims that district lines were drawn due to race-based considerations, of course, whether Justice( Anthony) Kennedy's successor will tip the scales in favor or against these claims more categorically remains to be seen, so today's decisions are perhaps best understood as putting things into a holding pattern.
If critics of Judge Gorsuch were looking for a seminal moment to cement the case against his confirmation, they didn't get it today, of course, those who hope Judge Gorsuch will rule in their favor on particular issues once he's confirmed would have trouble identifying clear showings of support too.
Of course, those who hope Judge Gorsuch will rule in their favor on particular issues once he's confirmed would have trouble identifying clear showings of support too, that seems to be par for the course for contemporary Supreme Court confirmation hearings -- lots of sound and fury, but ultimately signifying very, very little.
It always struck me as more conservative aspiration than meaningful prediction that the confirmation of a Justice Gorsuch might hasten Justice Kennedy's retirement, if anything, having Judge Gorsuch on the court would only crystallize Justice Kennedy's vital role at the center of the court -- and make it that much more difficult for him to leave on terms that might lead to a fundamental shift in the court's ideological balance.
Potential legal challenges will depend upon how the new regulations are actually worded, but based on what we have heard so far, challengers to the new rules will face an uphill battle because it sounds like the primary thing the President is doing is interpreting an ambiguous federal statute, the President is allowed to adopt reasonable interpretations of ambiguous federal statutes.
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