The most anticipated Supreme Court decisions remaining in 2024

Gun Rights

The Supreme Court will soon unveil the final decisions from this term in the most consequential cases it heard over the past seven months that will define precedent for the years to come.

Three cases involve former President Donald Trump, two concern abortion, two focus on gun rights, three tackle First Amendment issues for social media, and three address key questions about the administrative state. All of the decisions are expected by the end of June.

The Supreme Court has yet to write the “rule for the ages” on whether former presidents enjoy some immunity from prosecution, and justices have also so far held off on major decisions that have the potential to limit the powers of federal agencies sharply.

You Might Like

Here’s what to know about the major cases that are still awaiting decisions:

Immunity for former presidents

Case: Trump v. United States

Issue: Whether Trump is immune from prosecution related to allegedly subverting the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If Trump wins complete immunity, it would bring an end to the 2020 election subversion indictment in Washington, D.C. If the Supreme Court sides with special counsel Jack Smith, who has won the immunity argument in two lower courts, the proceedings could resume. The justices signaled they could send the case back to lower courts for further fact finding as to what actions may or may not be protected.

Precedents: United States v. Nixon (1974) & Nixon v. Fitzgerald (1982).

Obstruction charges for Jan. 6 defendants

Case: Fischer v. United States

Issue: Whether federal prosecutors properly charged hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants, including Trump, using a law that makes it a crime to obstruct or impede an official proceeding. The proceeding prosecutors point to is the disruption of the congressional certification of Biden’s 2020 election victory on Jan. 6, 2021.

Why it matters: A ruling against the Justice Department could affect half of the charges against Trump and the cases of hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants, and it has the chance to result in numerous revised sentences for already-convicted defendants.

Abortion pills

Case: Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine

Issue: Whether to overturn Food and Drug Administration guidelines for distributing an abortion pill by mail and telemedicine.

Why it matters: The case is one of two focused on abortion after the Supreme Court gave states broader abilities to restrict abortion access in 2022. The case will determine whether mail-in access to the common abortion drug can be curtailed.

Emergency abortion care

Cases: Idaho v. United States; Moyle v. United States

Issue: Whether federal law mandating emergency stabilizing care overrides Idaho’s near-total abortion ban. The case came before the Supreme Court following Idaho’s appeal of an injunction placed on the state’s anti-abortion statute from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. When the Supreme Court agreed to hear Idaho’s case in January, it overrode the lower body’s injunction, allowing the state’s abortion ban to take effect until a final decision is made in June.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court’s impending decision in the case could have significant implications for the 2024 elections, in which abortion is a leading concern among a sizable majority of voters. The justices appeared evenly divided during oral arguments.

Second Amendment rights of domestic abusers

Case: Rahimi v. United States

Issue: Whether banning firearm possession for people under domestic violence restraining orders violates the Second Amendment.

Why it matters: The court could clear up confusion created by its prior 2022 Second Amendment decision, which set a test that courts must now follow to ensure that gun regulations are congruent with the nation’s history and tradition of firearms law. Lower courts have struggled with the new precedent, which requires deeper historical fact-finding.

Key precedent: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen

Municipality rights to ban homeless encampments

Case: City of Grants Pass v. Johnson

Issue: Whether Oregon’s ordinances against outdoor sleeping and camping violate the Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Why it matters: The case examines the overlapping laws in Grants Pass, Oregon, which outlawed sleeping and camping in public places. A pair of homeless people sued the city, claiming the law violated their Eighth Amendment protections from “cruel and unusual” punishment. Typically, the Eighth Amendment is invoked to protect against punishments, not laws. The justices seemed open to taking the city’s side.

Social media platforms’ First Amendment rights

Cases: Moody v. NetChoice; NetChoice v. Paxton

Issue: Whether Florida and Texas can stop social media companies from removing posts based on their views.

Why it matters: The court appears divided on the extent to which content moderation should be allowed. On the one hand, they saw government-enforced moderation as questionable, particularly if it focused on content. On the other hand, they criticized the power exerted by Big Tech companies. 

Disinformation on social media

Case: Murthy v. Missouri (formerly Biden v. Missouri)

Issue: Whether the Biden administration’s efforts to counter misinformation amounts to censorship, and whether state and individual plaintiffs have standing to bring a lawsuit.

Why it matters: The case centers on a high-profile lawsuit filed by Louisiana, Missouri, and other parties accusing officials in the Biden administration of relying on social media platforms to censor online viewpoints unconstitutionally, including conservative ideas and online posts about COVID-19.

NRA’s First Amendment rights

Case: National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo

Issue: Whether New York officials violated the First Amendment by discouraging business with the National Rifle Association.

Why it matters: The NRA is suing former New York State Department of Financial Services superintendent Maria Vullo, who the group alleges used her regulatory power to punish the group economically for its pro-gun stance in violation of the First Amendment. The justices seemed open to the NRA’s claims during oral arguments in March.

Opioids settlement

Case: Harrington v. Purdue Pharma

Issue: Whether a bankruptcy settlement shielding the Sackler family from liability in exchange for billions to fight the opioid crisis is legal.

Why it matters: The Sackler family members who own Purdue Pharma have offered $6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits alleging they fueled the opioid epidemic. The legality of the settlement is under scrutiny by the U.S. Trustee Program, which argues it allows the Sackler family members to evade accountability. But if the justices allow the deal to go forward, it will transform Purdue into a nonprofit organization and dedicate its billions of dollars to addiction and other treatment efforts while releasing the Sackler family owners from future civil liability.

Power of federal agencies

Cases: Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo; Relentless v. Department of Commerce

Issue: Whether to overrule a long-standing precedent that tells courts to defer to agency interpretations when a law or statute is otherwise ambiguous. The case challenges a precedent known as the Chevron doctrine.

Why it matters: Chevron has been cited by the Supreme Court in major cases more than 70 times but has not been relied upon since 2016. Some conservative groups interested in the outcome say the power of the administrative state is too broad and that discretion by agencies leads to overregulation in areas including the workplace, public health, financial markets, and the environment.

Key precedent: Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1984)

Administrative courts

Case: Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy

Issue: Whether the Securities and Exchange Commission’s in-house administrative courts are legal.

Featured Local Savings

Why it matters: Critics of the commission’s powers, such as hedge fund manager George Jarkesy, argue the authority of administrative law judges creates an unfair advantage in favor of the SEC’s position against people it targets for fines. The justices could pare back the SEC’s powers to conduct in-house adjudications without juries.

Cross-state air pollution

Case: Ohio v. Environmental Protection Agency

Issue: Whether to stop Biden’s plan requiring Western and Midwestern factories to reduce air pollution affecting Eastern states.

Why it matters: The nine justices are tasked with deciding whether to block the Environmental Protection Agency‘s regulatory “good neighbor” plan, which places strict emission limits on power plants and other industries in “upwind states.” Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia filed an emergency request with the high court in October 2023, saying the EPA overstepped its authority by imposing those requirements.

Bump stocks for guns

Case: Garland v. Cargill

Issue: Whether the former Trump administration’s bump stock ban was lawful.

Why it matters: The case is one of statutory interpretation, not of the Second Amendment. Did the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives properly interpret a law banning machine guns when it extended the law to include a ban on bump stocks? The rule went into effect in 2019, forcing bump stock owners to surrender their devices or else face stiff fees and a felony carrying up to 10 years in prison.

Here are the major cases that have been decided: Agency funding

Case: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Services Association of America

Issue: The lawsuit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was brought by key players in the payday lending industry who say the CFPB is unconstitutionally funded by the Federal Reserve because most federal agencies receive appropriations from Congress.

Ruling: The court ruled 7-2 that Congress’s funding method for the consumer watchdog via direct routing from the Federal Reserve doesn’t violate the appropriations clause.

Why it matters: Although the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests groups supported the payday lenders, mortgage bankers and other sectors under CFPB regulation warned an inverse ruling could unsettle the markets.

Trump’s ballot eligibility

Case: Trump v. Anderson

Issue: Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, faced an onslaught of state-level lawsuits that sought to ban him from the ballot for his 2020 election denial and alleged attempts to overturn the election results.

Ruling: The court ruled 9-0 that states can’t bar Trump from running for another term.

Why it matters: The justices intervened after the Colorado Supreme Court became the first to remove Trump from the state’s ballot. The Supreme Court set a standard for the rest of the nation as other states considered advancing challenges similar to the one in Colorado.

Public officials blocking critics

Cases: Lindke v. Freed; O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier

Issue: Can a public official be sued by a constituent the official has blocked on a government social media account?

Ruling: The court ruled 9-0 that public officials blocking users on social media only violates the First Amendment when the officials claim to be posting on the government’s behalf. It set a test that speech is attributable to the State “only if the official (1) possessed actual authority to speak on the State’s behalf, and (2) purported to exercise that authority when he spoke on social media.”

Why it matters: The question of whether officials should consider blocking users a First Amendment violation initially arose due to former President Donald Trump, but the case was not taken up due to the court considering it after Trump left office.

Employment discrimination

Case: Muldrow v. St. Louis

Issue: Whether Title VII requires an employee who has been transferred to a new job to prove in court that he or she has experienced a significant disadvantage, such as harm to his or her career or a change in salary or rank.

Ruling: The court ruled 9-0 to make it easier for workers to pursue employment discrimination claims over job transfers in ruling on a case involving a St. Louis policewoman who said she was reassigned due to sex discrimination.

Why it matters: Although the judgment was unanimous, three Republican-appointed justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh — wrote separate concurrences to explain how they came to the full judgment. Thomas said there was “little practical difference” between the new test and the standard application of Title VII by appeals court judges.

Gerrymandering

Case: Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP

Issue: Whether a South Carolina voting map is an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

Ruling: The court ruled 6-3 that South Carolina can use a congressional map drawn by the GOP-led state legislature that a lower court said wrongly “exiled” black voters. The Republican-appointed majority on the court held that the challenges had not proved the lines were motivated by race, but rather they were prompted by partisan politics.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court held arguments in the case on Oct. 11 but held out on a decision until May 23, past the state’s April primary election race. The delay prompted the federal district court that ruled the Charleston-area district was racially gerrymandered to order that very map to be used in the 2024 election. The lower court order saves Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) from heading into the November election with an alternative map that may have been more favorable to Democrats.

Key cases and rulings

Agency funding: 7-2 ruling

Trump’s ballot eligibility: 9-0 ruling

Public officials blocking critics: 9-0 ruling

Employment discrimination: 9-0 ruling

Presidential immunity

Jan. 6 obstruction charges

Abortion pills

Emergency abortion care

Ban on homeless encampments

Rights of social media platforms

Social media and disinformation

NRA and the First Amendment

Opioid settlement

South Carolina racial gerrymandering: 6-3 ruling

Power of federal agencies

Administrative courts

Cross-state air pollution

Trump-era bump stock ban

Last updated May 24.

You Might Like

Articles You May Like

Dr. Megan Franco Advocates for Food Resiliency at White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Meeting
Joe Biden Responds to SCOTUS Decision By Urging Congress to Ban Bump Stocks
City of Baltimore Awards $7.6 Million Contract to Electro Scan Inc. for Lead Water Service Line Inspection Project
Hot Tent Challenge Part 3 – Fixes and Improvements

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *