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Week Ahead at SCOTUS: Business as Usual

Feb. 16, 2018, 9:05 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court returns from its(latest)four-week break on Tuesday, February 20, and it’s business as usual, with orders, oral arguments, and opinions.

Opinions: Just before the justices went on break, they issued threeopinionsin argued cases, bringing their tally up to four for the term. That leaves 30 cases awaiting an opinion. We’ll get opinions in at least one of those cases at 10 am on Wednesday, February 21. Some of the best candidates for opinions—namely, cases from theOctoberandNovemberargument sittings—include:

  • Every state attorney general in the United States (including those in U.S. territories) Feb. 12askedthat Congress eliminate mandatory arbitration for employment sexual harassment claims.

  • “While there may be benefits to arbitration provisions in other contexts, they do not extend to sexual harassment claims,” their letter said.

  • Epic Systemsseeks to do the same to class action arbitration waivers in the employment context, though judicially, instead of through Congress.

  • Sessions v. Dimaya and Jennings v. Rodriguez, two crimmigrationcases that were held over from last term, presumably because the shorthanded court justices was split 4-4.

  • Even though the court is now back up to full force, Jennings could still end up evenly split.

  • Justice Elena Kagan’s chambers found aconflictin November that had gone previously unnoticed. The conflict means she can’t participate in the case this time around.

  • Jesner v. Arab Bank PLC(subscription required), a showdown over foreign nationals’ ability to sue corporations for human rights violations.

  • Class v. United States, asking if a guilty plea waives a defendant’s right to challenge the constitutionality of the statute.

  • S. Bank v. Village at LakeridgeandMerit Management Group v. FTI Consulting,bankruptcycases.

  • Patchak v. Zinke, a separation of powers case regarding Congress’ ability to dictate the outcome of federal litigation.

Oral arguments: It’scrim weekat SCOTUS, as all four cases being argued at the court involve criminal law. The arguments kick off Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 10, and continue the next day at the same time.

  • Currier v. Virginia(subscription required), regarding the application of double jeopardy when the trial was severed into multiple trials.

  • City of Hays v. Vogt(subscription required), asking if the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination applies to probable cause hearings.

  • Dahda v. United States(subscription required), challenging the authorization of wiretaps outside of the court’s jurisdiction.

Orders: The court’s first order of business will be to issue its order list Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 9:30. The two biggest cases that we could hear about involve the Trump administration.

  • The DOJ asked the high court toleapfrogthe oft-scorned Ninth Circuit, which has already dealt the administration a number of blows in Trump’s short time in power.

  • Such requests(subscription required) are rarely granted, court-watchers told Bloomberg Law. Usually it happens when the case involves foreign affairs, raises separation of powers issues, or is related to a case that the high court has already agreed to hear.

  • The administration also wants the court to clear the slate in a dispute over its new policy regarding abortions for minors awaiting deportation proceedings, inHargan v. Garza.

  • The administration refuses to release minor immigrants from federally funded custody to get abortions, saying that doing so will make the administration complicit in those procedures.

  • A lower court ruled against the administration in one minor’s bid to obtain an abortion, but the case continues as a class action.

  • The Trump administration wants the high court tonix (subscription required) what it believes to be potentially bad precedent so that the case can proceed on a clean slate.

With that, you’re all caught up on the week ahead!