Open Thread: SCOTUS Decisions

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

The end of the Supreme Court’s term is just ahead, which means SCOTUS will be dumping a bunch of decisions in a short time frame.

Decisions released today:

Truck Insurance Exchange v. Kaiser Gypsum Co.
Unanimous decision with Justice Sotomayor writing the opinion.

Justice Alito recused from this decision — why did he recuse from this case about insurance and bankruptcy, but not about any cases related to prosecution of January 6 including the Trump immunity case?

Connelly v. United States
Unanimous decision with Justice Thomas writing the opinion.

Becerra v. San Carlos Apache Tribe
This was an ideologically messy split decision: Chief Justice Roberts, wrote the opinion, joined by Gorsuch. Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Brown Jackson signed as well.

Conservative justices were in the minority with Kavanaugh writing the dissent, joined by Coney Barrett, Alito, and Thomas.

Here is a Native American perspective by the Coalition of Large Tribes published in March when the case was argued.

~ ~ ~

Obviously Trump’s immunity case, Trump v. United States, is still pending along with at least 27 other cases.

Additional updates may follow.

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62 replies
  1. sandman8 says:

    Crazy idea? . . . Could the states convene a project to draft recommendations on the future of SCOTUS? I am imagining an organization like AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials), but designed to provide guidance/manage vertical federalism for the judiciary. I think this works reasonably well for managing the separation of powers in transportation.

    The project might look something like what the RCC is doing with the Synod on Synodality. (Using the church as an example only. Not looking for a thread on the church, although the approach might be relevant—an institution with a vertical distribution of powers, long-term embedded problems, and need for a vision for the future.)

    I don’t know much about the Conference of Chief Justices, but they seem to have an interest in acting here. Their website currently highlights threats to the safety of the judiciary and their families. How about a proactive approach to defining the future of the judiciary in the US?

  2. sandman8 says:

    oops. have not commented in a long time. i used my old user name by accident. this is my new user name. i am reposting under new user name. please feel free to delete this comment. thanks for moderating.

    [Moderator’s note: fixed the other comment for you. You’re welcome, nice to see you. /~Rayne]

  3. person1597 says:

    Slightly ot…Trump Judge orders top Trumpalo “Sloppy Steve” to prison July 1.
    NYT: “The outspoken Trump ally was convicted two years ago of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Given the number of Trump associates facing trial, prison, or disbarment, not everyone will know you’re talking about Steve Bannon, so it’s helpful to say that.

    • Spooky Mulder says:

      I think his sentence is 4 months? So July 1 (if it happens) till November 1. That would put him out of commission for the bulk of the election season. So sad. Wonder if they will let him wear two jumpsuits.

    • Bad Boris says:

      I saw that; for a while there it looked like Carl J Nichols was vying to be the Aileen Cannon of the DC Circuit Court.

    • PJB2point0 says:

      What does this mean for the start of his Build the Wall scam trial in September before Judge Merchan? Will he go directly from jail to the courthouse (he probably won’t look any worse for wear!)

  4. boloboffin says:

    28 opinions left. If we keep up this pace, 3 a week, then the last one will be delivered the third week of August. If they bump the rate up to 4 a week, we’re looking at late July for the last one to be delivered. Perhaps they will get Trump v US out before then, but you won’t be making a bet on that with my money.

      • Amicus12 says:

        We should take bets who will author it.

        As to schedule:

        “All opinions of the Court are, typically, handed down by the last day of the Court’s term (the day in late June/early July when the Court recesses for the summer). With the exception of this deadline, there are no rules concerning when decisions must be released.”
        https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/supreme-1

        Process is one thing, substance is another.

        “There are days that I’ve come to my office after an announcement of a case and closed my door and cried,” Sotomayor told the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she received an award Friday. “There have been those days. And there are likely to be more.”
        https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/24/politics/sotomayor-crying-supreme-court-decisions/index.html
        (hopefully these are ok links)

        • boloboffin says:

          If there’s any way possible, I’d expect the Chief Justice to take that one.

          And yes, I’m expecting Trump v US to be the last one out of the box for the term as well.

        • Rayne says:

          It *should* be Roberts’ opinion and it *should* be as unanimous as United States v. Nixon (1974) but the conservative majority of this iteration of the court are so corrupt in one way or another that authorship is up in the air in my opinion.

        • John Herbison says:

          I expect Chief Justice Roberts to cobble together a majority of the Court regarding Donald Trump, so that Justice Thomas does not assign the opinion to himself or Justice Alito.

          I don’t expect it to happen, but I would not be terribly surprised to see the matter put over for reargument next term, perhaps with direction for additional briefing in the interim, a la Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010). That would allow the Court to know before deciding whether it would be dealing with Trump as president for a second term.

        • CovariantTensor says:

          “We should take bets who will author it.”

          As well as who will author the minority opinion, and who will be on board with each.

      • dopefish says:

        I predict it will be authored by Alito and it will be worse than any constitutional law scholars ever imagined a decision could be.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, it’ll include some 17th century witch hunting bullshit and make further inroads against the right to privacy as well.

          I’m admittedly pretty cynical about Alito because it was obvious at the time of his nomination he was a racist, misogynist dirtbag willing to lie to become a jurist. The face-eating leopard hasn’t changed his spots since then.

      • fatvegan000 says:

        I would hedge my bet on it being last, as there could be some big negative-to-the-right news story that calls for a desperate measures diversion, so Roberts pulls the rip cord on the immunity decision.

        My bet on the author is either Alito or Thomas (because one of the defining characteristics of the right is that they aren’t satisfied with just getting their way, they need to grind liberals face in it as well).

        • CovariantTensor says:

          The thing is, though, an opinion giving the POTUS broad immunity from any legal consequences could cut both ways. Although the only Democrat I know of who was in serious legal jeopardy was Bill Clinton, for perjury. He made a plea bargain, to give up his law license for a period, but everyone understood he could have been prosecuted, just as everyone understood Nixon could have had not Ford granted him a pardon.

  5. LaMissy! says:

    OT, but important.
    Anyone one else a tad preoccupied that Mike Johnson has named Scott Perry (the only Congressmember to have his phone taken by the FBI) and Ronny Jackson (who was demoted by the Navy for drunkenness on duty) to the House Intelligence Committee? A lot could go wrong by giving these two access to highly classified information and oversight of spy agencies.

    • mickquinas says:

      I don’t know about preoccupied, but certainly alarmed. It’s not only the possibility that this particular SCOTUS could still carve out some specious decision on immunity with regard to the former president (and future presidents, as long as they’re Republican), it’s the seeming reality that many members of congress are functionally immune from legal and political consequences for acts that actively undermine democracy and violate their oaths of office.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Bible Humpers

      They’ll shoot their dogs
      and ghost their weenies,
      for demagogues
      and Mussolinis.

      And in the time
      they have between these
      they’ll foster crime,
      assault bikinis.

      Watch out for those Bible thumpers
      with MAGA signs on car bumpers,
      and those shady pump and dumpers,
      In service to the worst of humpers.

      They compete to be the biggest shill,
      Admire each catch and kill,
      Worship crap, give up their will,
      Betray their oaths made on the Hill.

      For the love of gawd, they’ve gone broad,
      Ceded souls for what a mobster’s sellin’
      They applaud all his fraud,
      Propping up a wretched felon.

      • Dissembling Bling says:

        You might like The Ballad of Tricky Dick, More Truth Than Poetry. Thanks for all your schemes, rhyme and otherwise.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the SAME USERNAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS each time you comment so that community members get to know you. Letter case matters; you attempted to publish this as “Dissembling bling” though you have previously published as “Dissembling Bling.” This alone causes your comment to go into auto-moderation, but you also changed your email address. We don’t even require a working/valid email, only that you use the same one each time. I have corrected your username this one time; future mismatches may not clear moderation. /~Rayne]

      • bird of passage says:

        Perfect, Savage Librarian! I conversed with a Trump supporter today in one of my rare ventures into a box store that is certain to have more than a few Trump supporters proudly wandering around wearing their colors and hats.

        The conversation was as unhinged from reality as all my other encounters with Trump supporters since 2016.

    • ButteredToast says:

      It’s appalling. According to Jake Sherman, Johnson “told fellow Republican lawmakers and aides that he made the appointments at the behest of Trump, who wanted Jackson and Perry on the panel”: https://punchbowl.news/article/house/mike-turner-blindsided-by-mike-johnson-intel-appointments/ . No reason to doubt the story. Not only would it be in line with Johnson’s (and Kevin McCarthy’s) past behavior, but Sherman essentially earns his daily bread from access to Republican members of Congress. I’m only surprised that Johnson hasn’t found a way to get Marjorie Greene onto the committee at the same time.

      • Krisy Gosney says:

        For Jackson, it wasTrump’s request plus 3 full prescription pads blank but signed.

    • Alan King says:

      On the surface of it, Johnson seems to be able to get some good results. I suspect he had to make these appointments. And if the Ukraine package is a guide, I suspect perhaps he can even do effective damage control. He seems to be good at picking battles and ignoring the news cycles.

  6. harpie says:

    WaPo related:

    https://bsky.app/profile/cingraham.bsky.social/post/3kublrhe47222
    Jun 6, 2024 at 1:58 PM

    The Washington Post’s new publisher offered NPR an exclusive interview if they agreed to kill a story about his legal troubles. NPR refused. Absolutely outrageous, disqualifying behavior. [screenshot] [NPR link]

    Links to NPR:
    ‘Washington Post’ publisher tried to kill a story about allegations against him.
    It wasn’t the first time.
    David Folkenflik JUNE 6, 2024 12:19 PM ET

    • boloboffin says:

      WaPo is my last major newspaper sub left. If I drop it, I have only the San Antonio Express News and all the free stuff online to keep up to date. AP News is free, however.

      I’ve resisted this long because I’ve had a deal through Amazon. It’s only $8 a month for complete access (used to be $4). I guess I am on a clock there now. They’ll do something that pushes me over the edge, I expect.

      • LaMissy! says:

        It’s not a daily newspaper, but ProPublica does excellent journalism. Sure they’d appreciate $upport.

      • Rayne says:

        The Associated Press may be free, but it’s a nonprofit and it’s recently lost one of its largest clients, Gannett-USA Today network. You’ll note there’s a donation button at the top of the AP’s home page now. AP is and has been at risk as news organizations consolidate (as Gannett’s acquisition of local papers demonstrates) and cut back on expenses while not providing more local content.

  7. Rwood0808 says:

    It’ll be interesting to see the knots the court ties itself into to give trump the immunity he needs.

    • MT Reedør says:

      The immunity that Trump needs, but structured to not be available to Biden is my guess.

    • Ebenezer Scrooge says:

      Trump doesn’t need immunity. He only needs an order demanding that the trial court make further inquiries regarding immunity. Judge Chutkan could likely comply within a week or so, but her findings would still be appealable. That should slow down the actual trial until after the election, when it all becomes meaningless.

      • dopefish says:

        Only if Trump wins the election. I hope all sensible Americans will try to inform others and get out the vote for Biden so that doesn’t happen.

      • CovariantTensor says:

        That’s what I predict. They won’t grant absolute immunity, that’s absurd on its face. But they’ll send it back to the court to sort out which acts could be construed as “official”, a process almost guaranteeing the case will not go to trial until after Nov. ’24. Hopefully Trump’s ability to do mischief (or “fuckery” as we say here) to the case after that will not extend to being POTUS again.

  8. Playdohglobe says:

    Slightly OT:

    Including a link below, defending DA Bragg and the truth about court systems that still do good work. NY state followed the law with out fear or favor. Delivered Justice and Former President Trump is now a convicted felon. Justice delivered by true public servants and a jury of patriots.

    The conviction from NY State for the 34 Felonies committed by Mr Trump, is likely the only trial by his peers that the good lawyers of this country will be able to achieve prior to Nov. election.

    Sadly, I had been loosing faith in the potential for success of the true believer lawyers, Marcys, et alia who keep us from the law of the Jungle.

    Rayne’s plus others here who have shared observations about the skullduggery from the Dark Side of SCOTUS have not been easy for me to swallow.

    .Especially on June 6th, 80 years after US & Allied True patriots (Anti-Facists) stormed Normandy. See how Presidential families acted in times gone by. Theodore Roosevelt III Died, July 12, 1944(1944-07-12) (aged 56) Méautis, France. Resting place, Normandy American Cemetery

    Former Manhattan DA prosecutor Karen Friedman Agnifilo explains why the NY case against Trump was crucial and critics are wrong.

    This article showed how the system can work and work to provide justice in a timely manner by professionals.

    https://meidasnews.com/news/setting-the-record-straight-on-the-ny-election-interference-case-against-donald-trump

    • bmaz says:

      Lol, Bragg’s vaunted indictment was a pile of strung out crap that never should have been brought. It may well stand up to appellate review, but that is far from a given.

      • Challenger says:

        No Lol, I don’t take any pleasure in watching an adult have a tantrum or mid-life crisis. Judge Mershon didn’t strike me a judge who would allow crap in his court, The jury of 12 found Trump guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Don’t let a fool distract you, the focus must be defeating the Felon Trump in the election

      • CovariantTensor says:

        It the trial was difficult, think about how difficult the sentencing will be. On the one hand, a first time class E felony conviction is unlikely to result in jail time, and anything that interferes with his ability to run for president will be panned as election interference. On the other, he has displayed zero contrition, attacked the court system and was ruled in contempt 10+ times. Ordinarily, such behavior should not go unpunished. But the logistics of any sort of punishment Merchan metes out would be almost impossible.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          “Zero contrition” doesn’t quite describe Trump’s relentless attacks and threats aimed at those who would hold him accountable for being regarded as a made guy, something Trump has pretended to be for decades.

          The logistics of holding Trump accountable are not remotely “impossible.” For these low-level felonies, house arrest in the Manhattan penthouse he claims is 30,000 square feet would be appropriate. The USSS already knows how to protect him there. If convicted of more serious felonies, a dedicated area inside a minimum security prison would do nicely.

          Being a public official or candidate for public office is no different than being a ditch digger, used car salesperson, or CEO of a drugs company. Like any other convicted felon, Trump would have to take time off work to serve his sentence.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Dan Froomkin has more about the WaPo’s Will Lewis, and why he sacked Sally Buzbee. It seems she refused to spike a story in the WaPo about Lewis’s own alleged involvement in a serious UK phone hacking scandal from a decade ago, but which is still in the news and in the courts. Lewis is alleged to have conspired in the destruction of a million or more records from the newsroom involved in the alleged hack. He’s also alleged to have tried to offer NPR an exclusive interview with him – so long as it dropped the story about his connection to the UK phone hacking.

    Froomkin argues that Lewis has violated a prime directive in reporting – never interfere in your own newsroom’s publication of stories that implicate … you or your employer. He should resign or Bezos should fire him.

    https://presswatchers.org/2024/06/will-lewis-must-go-the-washington-post-publishers-actions-cast-doubt-on-his-newsrooms-credibility/

  10. harpie says:

    WaPo-related – 2

    On Rayne’s WaPo post the other day, I mentioned a
    WaPo LIVE interview with Ralph fvcking REED happening that day:

    https://www.emptywheel.net/2024/06/03/washington-posts-sunday-night-editorial-massacre/#comment-1054130

    Today, Marcy just reposted this piece by Marisa Kabas:

    The Washington Post is in fascist-guided free fall Former Murdoch employees have taken over. Now corruption and scandal abound. https://www.thehandbasket.co/p/washington-post-buzbee-lewis-bezos-murdoch Marisa Kabas 6/6/24

    Kabas begins this piece talking about the Reed interview [link to livestream included]:

    […] Washington Post journalist Michael Scherer popped up on a livestream Wednesday and introduced Ralph Reed, Chairman of the evangelical Christian Faith and Freedom Coalition. It was a surprising event from what is generally considered a liberal-leaning outlet, made even stranger by the event’s headline promising Reed would explain “Trump’s vision for a second term.” But with the announcement this week that the paper’s leadership has taken a decidedly rightward turn, it made a bit more sense. What followed was a less than 30-minute interview filled with softball questions that could have easily been mistaken for a segment on Newsmax. […]

  11. Clare Kelly says:

    I suspect this one will find its way to SCOTUS, as intended:

    “JURISPRUDENCE
    Surprise! The Worst Judge in the Country Just Landed Another Appalling Abortion Case.”

    Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern
    Slate
    June 7, 2024 9:45 AM

    • bmaz says:

      Note that said worst judge’s name is NOT “Cannon”. There are many more like him that are also not named Cannon.

      • bmaz says:

        Harpie, it is indeed the link. And Matthew Kacsmaryk is hardly the only one. There are others in Texas, and in Arkansas and Mississippi as well. Soon Florida, but we’ll see about that (except the FL Supreme Court, entirely DeSantis appointed).

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Bmaz, do you have any opinion about Wayne Alley, formerly of the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma?

        • Clare Kelly says:

          This is federal, and specifically goes after Title IX protections.

          “ Two professors at the University of Texas at Austin are suing for the right to penalize students who miss class to obtain an abortion out of state. The professors, John Hatfield and Daniel Bonevac, are contesting the Biden administration’s efforts to shield students from retaliation when they obtain reproductive health care, a long-standing guarantee under Title IX. They also demand the freedom to discriminate against students and teaching assistants who identify as LGBTQ.”

          A frothy trifecta: Reproductive health care, Higher Education, and LGBQT+ civil rights (not to mention privacy).

  12. Yankee in TX says:

    Responding to earlofhuntingdon @ June 7, 2024 at 6:27 pm

    Having lived here for 40 years, I’m well aware of the macho bleatings of our “dear leaders.” But size and GDP aren’t everything. I was referring to their smallness of their minds, the depth of their depravity and their relentless of their insanity. Let’s hear it for Abbott the Cruel, Patrick the Vindictive and Paxton the Corrupt!

Comments are closed.