Supreme Court justices are finally meeting behind closed doors on a long list of cases

Supreme Court justices are finally meeting behind closed doors on a long list of cases
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After a three-month hiatus from last period’s divisive decisions, Supreme Court Justice officials will return to Washington on Wednesday for the first closed conference of the new term.

The justices have a lot to discuss, from new cases to how to reopen the court amid Covid-19 and what, if anything, to say. leak investigation Roe v. of the draft opinion to overturn. Wade.

The so-called “conference” comes amid renewed questions about the court’s legitimacy and as abortion puts the judges at the center of upcoming midterm elections.

The court has public approval collapsed. Retired Justice Stephen BreyerIn an exclusive chat with CNN’s Chris Wallace, who is now on the sidelines after almost 30 years on the bench, he warned his colleagues about “very tough” decisions that could “bite you in the rear”.

It remains to be seen whether the bad feelings of the previous term will continue in the new session.

earlier this month Chief Justice John Roberts During his speech in Colorado, he acknowledged that justices don’t always see eye to eye in closed conference sessions. But he called for respectful discussions. “Fake love doesn’t have a juicy facade,” he said, just “straightforward explanations” of individual positions.

Only judges are allowed into the room, and according to tradition, if there is a knock on the door Justice Ketanji Brown JacksonAs the court’s newest judge, he will step up to address the inquiry.

On Wednesday, the nine judges will go around the table and speak in order of seniority, starting with Roberts and ending with Jackson. Although he cannot speak until all his other colleagues have given their position, he will benefit from the unwritten rule: no one speaks twice until everyone has spoken once.

Before they even get to the wealth of cases piled up over the summer break, the court still has to make a number of decisions about public access to their deliberations.

Justice Elena Kagan he told the audience On September 12 in New York, he said that these decisions will be made by the end of the month. He also said his colleagues plan to address the elephant in the room: the status of the investigation launched last term to identify the person who leaked the draft abortion order that was made public in May.

At the very least, Kagan noted, even if the “intruder” is not found, the court could initiate new security procedures to ensure that such a leak never happens again.

The new rules could change the way the decision-making process goes, changing the way justices communicate internally about cases.

Roberts has announced that members of the public will be allowed back into the courtroom after more than two years of Covid restrictions, although he has not yet released any details.

Before October, the justices are likely to debate whether the court will continue to allow live audio streaming of oral arguments that began during the pandemic, allowing the public to watch in real time.

The majority of the judges’ time on Wednesday will be spent on shaping the new term.

There are several high-profile petitions pending, including a number of challenges to long-standing conservative efforts to weaken the so-called administrative state.

Conservatives, including Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, believe that federal agencies are overpowered and run by unelected officials who are not accountable to the public. Last term, the court moved to curtail the EPA’s powers, prompting an angry outcry from Kagan.

“The Court appoints itself — instead of Congress or an expert agency — as the climate policy decision maker,” he said. “I can’t think of much scarier.”

Breyer discusses the split on the Supreme Court

Two pending petitions target the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ decision to ban bump stocks — devices that allow shooters to fire semi-automatic rifles continuously with a single pull of the trigger. The supplements were banned under the Trump administration after the 2017 mass shooting.

In a similar dispute, a veteran challenges rules put forth by the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding certain disability benefits. Air Force veteran Thomas Buffington was diagnosed with a disability and qualified for disability benefits in 2000. In 2003, he was recalled to active duty in the Air National Guard. In accordance with the law, he stopped receiving benefits for that period to avoid double pay.

When he completed his active duty service in 2005, Buffington waited several years, then sought backdated disability benefits for the periods he did not receive active duty pay. But the Department of Veterans Affairs has adopted a rule requiring such a request to be made for a year and said the wait is too long.

Buffington says the actions are “discretionary” and not based on the law governing disability payments.

The justices also plan to hear the case over the scope of a federal law that Internet companies say protects them from lawsuits stemming from third-party content posted on their sites.

The law in question – Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – has drawn the attention of Justice Clarence Thomas in the past. He questioned lower court rulings that drafted a law to grant broad immunity to some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Others have questioned whether the law only protects them from traditional decisions, such as deciding whether companies publish or modify content, but that does not cover activities that promote or recommend content.

Although there are no abortion-related cases directly on the conference list, Planned Parenthood of South Carolina is seeking to exclude its affiliate from Medicaid funding for non-abortion health services because the organization also offers abortions. A lower court ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood.

Judge J. Harvey Wilkinson wrote for a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit: “This case is not about abortion. “This is because Congress wants Medicaid recipients to choose qualified Medicaid providers.”

The court said that allowing a state to disqualify Planned Parenthood would “nullify the intent of Congress to allow our less fortunate citizens to choose the health care provider of their choice.”

Although the midterm elections are this fall, the justices have already decided to hear a case from North Carolina. obscure legal doctrine this may change the way in which the decision is made to proceed with the election.

Now, challengers making similar claims about the Pennsylvania maps want the justices to hear the same issue as their case. Judges may decide to consolidate the two cases or stay the latest filing for now.

As the court lifts Covid restrictions and opens its doors, attorneys in 10 states are returning to justice to overturn the vaccination mandate for workers at most federally funded health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds.

In January, the court allowed the mandates to stand, pending legal challenges over dissenting opinions by conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas and Gorsuch.

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