On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued four more opinions in argued cases. With (in all likelihood) less than a week to go before the justices’ summer recess, the court still has eight opinions to go. Here is a brief summary of the issues in those cases:
- Johnson v. Guzman Chavez (argued Jan. 11, 2021): Whether noncitizens whose deportation orders have been reinstated, and who therefore would normally be deported without any real formal process, have a right to be released on bond if they also have a claim that would bar their removal to another country under the Convention Against Torture.
- Arizona Republican Party v. Democratic National Committee and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (argued Mar. 2, 2021): A challenge to two different Arizona voting rules. The first, known as the “out of precinct” policy, requires election officials to discard an entire ballot if it was cast in the wrong place. The second bans the collection of ballots by third parties, sometimes referred to as “ballot harvesting.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that both policies violate Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act, which bans racial discrimination in voting.
- TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez (argued Mar. 30, 2021): Whether either the Constitution or the federal rules governing class actions allow a case alleging a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act to go forward, even when most members of the class were not harmed at all and any harm that they did suffer was nothing like that of the lead plaintiff.
- Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and Alaska Native Village Corporation Association v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation (argued Apr. 19, 2021): Whether Alaska Native corporations – special corporations created by Congress in 1971 to receive land and money under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which settled land claims by Alaska natives – are “Indian tribes” eligible to receive millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funding.
- Minerva Surgical v. Hologic (argued Apr. 21, 2021): Whether to abolish a doctrine known as patent assignor estoppel, which bars an inventor from challenging the validity of the patent on his own invention – for example, when he is sued for patent infringement after assigning the rights to the patent to someone else.
- Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta and Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta (argued Apr. 26, 2021): A pair of First Amendment challenges by two conservative advocacy groups to a policy of the California attorney general’s office that requires charities to disclose the names and addresses of their major donors.
- HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining v. Renewable Fuels Association (argued Apr. 27, 2021): Whether small oil refineries can take advantage of a compliance exemption in the Renewable Fuel Standard program, which is part of the Clean Air Act, if they have not received that exemption every year since 2011.
- PennEast Pipeline Co. v. New Jersey (argued Apr. 28, 2021): In a case arising from PennEast’s efforts to build – over New Jersey’s objection – a 116-mile natural-gas pipeline through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the legal question in the case centers on the effect of the federal Natural Gas Act on states’ sovereign immunity. When New Jersey opposed the pipeline, PennEast attempted to use eminent domain to obtain land (some of it belonging to New Jersey) for the pipeline; New Jersey countered that it was shielded from lawsuits in federal court by the 11th Amendment.