With less than a week to go before the end of June, there are now only three decisions remaining from the January and February sessions. All three of those cases involve high-profile issues: public funding for religious schools, the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s leadership structure and abortion. And although in recent years the justices have traditionally issued all of their decisions by the end of June, it’s not clear whether they will follow that pattern this year. The other 10 decisions are all expected from cases argued during the court’s historic May argument session, which didn’t end until May 13. The May session included several cases on which the justices are likely to be closely divided, such as the controversy over access to the president’s tax returns and a dispute over whether a large section of eastern Oklahoma is an Indian reservation.
Here is a list of the cases that have not yet been decided, along with (when available) predictions about who may be writing the decisions. But you should take the predictions with a grain of salt, because they are only predictions: For example, the conventional wisdom was that Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Justice Brett Kavanaugh would write the opinion in the Title VII cases, because none of those justices had written opinions for the court’s October session yet. But in the end it was Justice Neil Gorsuch – who had already written an opinion for October – who wrote last week’s historic decision, leaving Gorsuch with two opinions for the October sessions and his three colleagues without any.
Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (argued January 22, 2020): Challenge to a decision by the Montana Supreme Court invalidating a tax-credit program because the scholarships created by the program could be used at religious schools. Roberts and Justice Stephen Breyer have not yet written opinions for January; because the January argument session only had eight arguments, one of them will not write an opinion.
Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (argued March 3, 2020): Challenge to the leadership structure of the CFPB. Like June Medical, this case was argued in March but is considered part of the court’s February argument session (indeed, the March argument session was canceled because of the pandemic). Roberts and Breyer are also the two justices who have not yet written for February.
June Medical Services v. Russo (consolidated with Russo v. June Medical Services) (argued March 4, 2020): Challenge to the constitutionality of a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have the right to admit patients at nearby hospitals; and whether abortion providers have the right to bring the challenge on behalf of their patients. If Breyer is writing the opinion, it would be a very good sign for the challengers; he wrote the 2016 decision striking down a similar law in Texas. The significance of a Roberts decision is harder to predict. He was in the dissent back in 2016, but last year he provided the crucial fifth vote to block Louisiana from enforcing the law while the challengers filed their Supreme Court appeal.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com (argued May 4, 2020): Whether the addition of “.com” to an otherwise generic term by an online business can create a protectable trademark.
Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International (argued May 5, 2020): Whether the federal government can require foreign affiliates of U.S.-based groups that receive federal funds to have policies expressly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.
Little Sisters of the Poor Sts. Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania (consolidated with Trump v. Pennsylvania) (argued May 6, 2020): Whether the expansion of the conscience exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate violated the ACA and the laws governing federal administrative agencies.
Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants (argued May 6, 2020): Whether an exception for government-debt collection to a federal law that bars robocalls to cellphones is unconstitutional.
Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru (consolidated with St. James School v. Biel) (argued May 11, 2020): Whether courts can hear employment discrimination claims brought by teachers at Catholic elementary schools.
McGirt v. Oklahoma (argued May 11, 2020): Whether land set up in the 19th century in eastern Oklahoma for the Creek Nation remains a reservation for purposes of a federal law that requires some major crimes committed on a reservation by or against Indians to be prosecuted as federal crimes.
Trump v. Mazars USA (consolidated with Trump v. Deutsche Bank) (argued May 12, 2020): Whether congressional committees have the authority to issue subpoenas to the president’s accountant and creditors for financial records belonging to the president and his business entities.
Trump v. Vance (argued May 12, 2020): Whether the Manhattan district attorney can obtain the president’s tax returns as part of a state grand-jury investigation.
Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Department of State v. Baca (argued May 13, 2020): Whether state “faithless elector” laws, which require presidential electors to vote the way that state law directs, are constitutional. Although both cases involve the same issue, they were argued separately because Justice Sonia Sotomayor is recused from the Colorado case. It is possible that the court could release one “main” opinion that addresses all of the issues in the disputes and then issue a short decision that disposes of the second case, based on the first opinion, without a lengthy analysis.