This morning the Supreme Court issued orders from the justices’ private conference last week. The court did not grant any new cases for oral argument in the fall, but with another conference now scheduled for Wednesday, more grants could come as soon as Thursday morning.
The justices invited the federal government to file briefs in two cases: PennEast Pipeline Co. v. New Jersey, about whether the Natural Gas Act authorizes private companies to exercise the federal government’s eminent domain power to condemn land in which a state claims an interest; and FMC Corp. v. Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, involving tribal authority over nonmembers.
The justices declined to weigh in on the dispute over the lethal-injection protocol that the federal government plans to use when it resumes executions, the first of which are scheduled for July, after nearly 20 years. The justices turned down a request by four federal death-row inmates to review a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that upheld new federal regulations for carrying out the death penalty. That decision, which a divided panel of the D.C. Circuit issued in April, overturned a ruling by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who had concluded that federal law requires the government to carry out executions using precisely the same protocol as the state where the execution takes place. The inmates came to the Supreme Court earlier this month, asking the justices to put the D.C. Circuit’s ruling on hold and take up their case, and on June 18 the court agreed to fast-track their petition for review. Today the justices denied that petition and the request to stay the lower court’s ruling; Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor indicated that they would have granted both the petition and the stay request.
The justices did not act on a petition for review filed by the Department of Justice in the dispute over efforts by the House Judiciary Committee to gain access to secret materials from the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., granted a request by the committee to gain access to parts of the report redacted under grand jury secrecy rules, and a federal appeals court upheld that decision. The DOJ asked the Supreme Court to weigh in; the justices considered the government’s petition at their conference last week but did not take any action on it today.
We expect orders from Wednesday’s conference on Thursday, July 2, at 9:30 a.m.
This post is also published on SCOTUSblog.