Supreme Court Cases to Watch This Month

 

shutterstock_104498510This first Monday in October raises several cases that might turn the Supreme Court 180 degrees from the last term. If 2014-15 was an unmitigated disaster for conservatives, with Court decisions overturning gay marriage bans in the states and upholding Obamacare’s tax subsidies, 2015-16 presents cases that may bring conservative victories.

These are the cases to watch — but maybe we can start taking bets here on how the cases will come out, which means predicting the all-important desires of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will no doubt be the decisive fifth vote in all of them.

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: Can state universities use an applicant’s race in making admissions decisions? The Court narrowly split in upholding Michigan’s affirmative action plan a decade ago, and Justice O’Connor, who joined the liberals to uphold the use of race, has been replaced by Justice Alito.

Evenwel v. Abbott: Does the “one person, one vote” principle allows states to count nonvoters, such as aliens, in its drawing of electoral districts? Justice Kennedy provided the fifth vote for liberals last term allowing redistricting to be performed by popular initiative, rather than by the state legislatures.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association: Does the First Amendment prohibit unions from collecting mandatory dues for union political activity from public employees without their consent? Conservatives have long sought to expand the free speech rights of employees against unions without their consent.

Whole Women’s Health v. Cole: While not yet granted, this case is likely to be heard by the Court. Can a state require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that abortion facilities meet the standards of surgical centers? This calls upon the Court to explain what an undue burden on the right to an abortion is. Justice Kennedy will not join a majority to overrule the right to abortion, reaffirmed in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, but who knows how he will judge efforts to subject abortion doctors to the standards obeyed by other doctors in the state (but which have the effect of reducing the number of abortion providers)?

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  1. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Donna Brazile has already sent up the Batsignal on Evenwel v Abbot.  Expect a full-court press on that situation, as it has the potential to lock in Republican legislative gains via redistricting for a very long time.

    • #1
  2. SteveSc Member
    SteveSc
    @SteveSc

    Really looking forward to Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.  If we lose, status quo, but if we win, huge changes.

    Teachers union dues in WI fell dramatically after Walker.  I look forward to the same thing nationally (potentially) if we win.

    • #2
  3. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Right on SteveSc! The smell of freedom.

    • #3
  4. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    Is the Evenwel vs Abbott the case I’ve seen HRC supporters hoping goes their way on getting her elected?  Something about electoral votes?

    • #4
  5. Paul Dougherty Member
    Paul Dougherty
    @PaulDougherty

    John Yoo:shutterstock_104498510…. with Court decisions overturning gay marriage bans in the states and upholding Obamacare’s tax subsidies, 2015-16 presents cases that may bring conservative victories.

    I suppose this is an example of hope overriding experience. What being a law scholar and all, I guess you kind of need to keep an interest. For me, that last session soured me on the notion of laws meaning something.  I’d rather not ponder the utter capriciousness of the endeavor.  On the other hand, it should make for exciting gambling given the lack of predictability. Feel free to get out the witching sticks and read the tea leaves but I’d advise against using reason to place your money.

    • #5
  6. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Kennedy’s voting record is fairly unsurprising if you consider him a left-libertarian; the Kelo v. City of New London decision is the most surprising of his votes in my memory. My predictions:

    Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: Kennedy votes against racial quotas. The argument can be made that the use of racial quotas hurts certain minorities, namely Asian-Americans, in favor of others; Kennedy will most likely join any opinion that purports to maximize freedom for the applicant over the university.

    Evenwel v. Abbott: Kennedy votes to count non-voters in district representation because the argument will be that to do otherwise precludes those non-voters from being represented in the Congress even though political decisions affect all residents, not just voters.

    Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association: Kennedy either punts or votes against the union’s mandatory dues. Forcing people to participate or fund political speech against their wishes is anti-liberty.

    Whole Women’s Health v. Cole: Kennedy rules against requiring admitting privileges because it prevents or interferes with a woman’s choice to abort.

    • #6
  7. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    John,

    How can one bring oneself to watch the outcome when it appears there is a core of three completely perverse Justices who are then supported in their inanity by two hopeless nitwits and one clown who outmaneuvers himself with his hallucinatory vision of the court itself.

    As you can see John I’m no help here whatsoever.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
  8. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    carcat74:Is the Evenwel vs Abbott the case I’ve seen HRC supporters hoping goes their way on getting her elected? Something about electoral votes?

    I imagine they are considering this recent POLITICO piece.

    Illegal immigrants—along with other noncitizens without the right to vote—may pick the 2016 presidential winner. Thanks to the unique math undergirding the Electoral College, the mere presence of 11-12 million illegal immigrants and other noncitizens here legally may enable them to swing the election from Republicans to Democrats…

    Thus the census counts illegal immigrants and other noncitizens equally with citizens. Since the census is used to determine the number of House seats apportioned to each state, those states with large populations of illegal immigrants and other noncitizens gain extra seats in the House at the expense of states with fewer such “whole number of persons.”

    This math gives strongly Democratic states an unfair edge in the Electoral College. Using citizen-only population statistics, American University scholar Leonard Steinhorn projects California would lose five House seats and therefore five electoral votes. New York and Washington would lose one seat, and thus one electoral vote apiece.

    • #8
  9. Commodore BTC Inactive
    Commodore BTC
    @CommodoreBTC

    What’s the point?

    Four justices vote for whatever outcome benefits the left.

    Kennedy votes for whatever his personal policy preference is.

    The text of the law or constitution is irrelevant.

    • #9
  10. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    Thank you, Roberto.  Here’s another question—if these invaders can be counted, how are they considered to be still ‘in the shadows’?  If they can be counted, can’t they be rounded up and deported?

    • #10
  11. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    carcat74:Thank you, Roberto. Here’s another question—if these invaders can be counted, how are they considered to be still ‘in the shadows’? If they can be counted, can’t they be rounded up and deported?

    Population count is determined via the census, not by the INS. The left hand and the right hand have nothing to do with each other.

    The census counts every person regardless of immigration status. The census is extremely important for documenting the growth of immigrant communities, allocating resources for needed services, and identifying areas where civil rights enforcement may be needed…

    • Census responses are confidential and protected by the strongest privacy laws we have.

    • The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a statement declaring that no other law – not even the PATRIOT Act – overrides the confidentiality of the census.

    • #11
  12. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Austin Murrey: Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: Kennedy votes against racial quotas. The argument can be made that the use of racial quotas hurts certain minorities, namely Asian-Americans, in favor of others; Kennedy will most likely join any opinion that purports to maximize freedom for the applicant over the university.

    Quotas are not a factor in Fisher. Quotas were struck down long ago. The question is whether college admissions can use race at all, even as a tiebreaker, or even (as a source within the admissions office told me*) if race is only tangentially related to an otherwise compelling viewpoint such as a black conservative, or the only white kid in a predominantly black school.

    *I can’t reveal his identity without permission, but suffice to say he’s someone I am very close to and whom I trust without reservation.

    • #12
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