Monday, June 18, 2012

Outstanding opinions, updated

So here is what is left of the Term, updated to reflect today's decisions. There are essentially eight outstanding decisions, aside from the ACA cases:

1.  First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards (argued November 28)

2.  Knox v. SEIU (argued January 10)

3.  FCC v. Fox Television Stations (argued January 10)

4.  United States v. Alvarez (argued February 22)

5.  Southern Union Co. v. United States (argued March 19)

6.  Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs (argued March 20)

7.  Dorsey v. United States (curvelined with Hill v. United States) (argued April 17)

8.  Arizona v. United States (argued April 25)

Also noteworthy  is that the Court took no action today in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, the Montana campaign finance case raising a challenge to Citizens United. This development increases the likelihood that the Court is preparing an opinion summarily reversing. If so--though styled a "summary reversal"--that opinion is unlikely to be short. Justice Ginsburg (joined by Justice Breyer), in her statement earlier this spring that accompanied the Court's stay of the Montana Supreme Court's decision, expressed her interest in revisiting Citizens United. This suggests any disposition in Bullock is apt to be controversial and divisive among the Justices. We might surmise, then, that the Court is working on nine non-ACA opinions at the moment in total.

The next day for hand down is this Thursday. It is reasonable to expect four to five more opinions on that day, which would leave four to five non-ACA opinions to go. That, combined with the ACA cases, is almost certainly too many for the Court to hand down next Monday alone. 

Thus, the single most likely scenario at this point is that the ACA decisions come next Wednesday or Thursday, June 27 or 28. The Court should announce by this Thursday or Friday whether it will hand down opinions on any day next week other than Monday--and if so, which day (or days).