WASHINGTON, DC — Time is ticking as the Supreme Court has three weeks on its official calendar to decide 29 cases — including six major cases, half of which are likely historic — or extend hearings to July, with sweeping decisions on abortion , the Second Amendment and religious freedom.
The Supreme Court’s term of office begins on the first Monday in October until the first Monday in October of the following year. But while the court’s term of office technically continues through the summer and early fall—allowing judges to rule on emergency or domestic matters—the court “stands up” when all cases are decided for the current term. This usually happens in the last week of June.
What starts then is not vacation time. The judges can take a few weeks of vacation during this time, like other Americans, and use the time for guest lectures, travel, or perhaps work on a book. But the judges are also spending time preparing the cases they will hear in the fall and are preparing to vote on more than 1,000 petitions piling up from lower courts asking the Supreme Court to review a case. Their clerks and office staff continue to work under the supervision of the judges during this time.
But as far as the public sees, the end of June is the end of the Supreme Court’s term. Final decisions are made – inevitably including a few big ones – and the judges disappear from public life for a few months.
However, the court now faces the middle of June with 29 cases still pending of the 59 cases heard by the court this term. (By the way, in recent decades, courts have typically decided between 70 and 80 cases in a term.) That’s a lot of decisions that have to be handed down in two and a half weeks.
More than that, six of these cases are big cases. One is Biden v. Texason President Joe Biden’s attempt to shut down one of former President Donald Trump’s signature policies, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), better known as “Remain in Mexico”, without which the number of illegal aliens entering this land entering would be far higher.
Another is Carson v. Makina case filed by the First Liberty Institute and the Institute for Justice over school choice in which the state of Main discriminates against families who want to send their children to Christian schools.
a third is West Virginia v. EPAabout whether Biden’s EPA has near-unlimited power to issue sweeping environmental regulations that could transform the U.S. economy.
The other big cases are so big that at least one – and possibly all – is nothing short of historic and will certainly have a profound impact on the direction of the country.
One is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, on whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms extends beyond the home. The only two major gun cases decided by the Supreme Court were citizens seeking to have handguns in their homes for self-defense, and now the court will consider how that law applies as citizens go about their daily lives.
Another is Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, about a former United States Navy soccer coach who was fired from a public school for his habit of saying a short, silent prayer on his team’s soccer field after every Friday night soccer game. This case could be an important ruling on three separate First Amendment issues: freedom of speech in schools and/or for government employees, the right to freely practice religion for government employees, and the proper meaning of the Constitution’s founding clause, which the government forbids from adopting an official religion.
Finally – of course – is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationchallenging a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, which now looks like a Supreme Court majority is willing to overturn it Roe v. Wade by stating that the Constitution does not contain an implied right to abortion. One way or the other, dobbs will feature prominently in history books about this period in America.
Some writers say it shouldn’t be a problem for the court to settle 29 cases during this time, because, for example, in 1982 the court still had to decide 69 cases out of 141.
But that was a different era. The court is now putting more man-hours into each case than it did then, with the aim of making better decisions that guide the lower courts and the rest of the country more effectively. While some feel the court should hear more cases than it currently does, even if far fewer than 141 — your current author believes 90 cases would be a better target — it’s a chore to finish 29 cases in three weeks. to round.
More than that, without disrespect for the Supreme Court’s October 1981 period — including June 1982 — these cases are not on the same ballpark as the blockbuster cases currently pending before the judges. There is simply no comparison of the legal significance to the nation between Nixon v. Fitzgerald (presidential immunity from civil proceedings) and dobbs† This year’s business could shape America’s future. Such cases require an extraordinary number of working hours.
The Supreme Court is likely to release cases on at least two days in each of the next three weeks. If there are any cases left at that point, all eyes will remain on the court as the deadline extends to July.
Ken Klukowski is a lawyer who has served in the White House and the Department of Justice, and is an employee of Breitbart News. Follow him @kenklukowski.