The justices were busy last week, issuing 11 opinions in argued cases on topics ranging from international child custody to arbitration and Medicare reimbursement rates. With two weeks remaining in June, the court now had 18 left to decide. Some of those as-yet-undecided cases are high-profile ones involving issues like abortion, gun rights, and religion, but the justices are also tackling important issues such as the “major questions” doctrine and whether the Biden administration must continue to enforce the “remain in Mexico” program.
The justices are scheduled to release opinions again on Tuesday, June 21. Here are brief summaries of the 18 cases that have not yet been decided, but could be as soon as Tuesday:
- New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (argued Nov. 3) is a challenge to the constitutionality of a New York law that requires anyone who wants a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” for the license. Courts in the state have defined “proper cause” to require applicants to show a special need to defend themselves, rather than a general need to protect oneself. As the only justices who have not yet written an opinion for November, Justices Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett are the most likely authors.
- Becerra v. Empire Health Foundation (argued Nov. 29) centers on how the Department of Health and Human Services calculates special Medicare payments to hospitals that serve a high percentage of low-income patients. And in particular, the case is a challenge to HHS’s interpretation of the phrases “entitled to” and “eligible for” to mean all patients who qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, even if those programs did not pay the patients’ hospital bills.
- Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (argued Dec. 1): Whether Mississippi’s ban on abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy is constitutional and, if so, whether the justices will overturn their landmark decisions in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
- The question before the court in United States v. Taylor (argued Dec. 7) is whether an attempted (but ultimately unsuccessful) robbery under the Hobbs Act, which criminalizes an attempt to commit robbery that affects interstate commerce, qualifies as a “crime of violence” for purposes of a federal law that makes it a federal crime to use a gun in a “crime of violence.”
- Carson v. Makin (argued Dec. 8) is a challenge to the constitutionality of a Maine program that pays tuition for some students to attend private schools when their own school district does not operate a public secondary school.
- Concepcion v. United States (argued Jan. 19): Whether, when a court is deciding whether to resentence a defendant under the First Step Act, which gives federal district courts power to resentence offenders in light of changes in the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, a district court must or may consider intervening developments, or whether such developments only come into play (if at all) after courts conclude that a sentence reduction is appropriate.
- West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (argued Feb. 28): A challenge to the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. One question before the court is whether the Republican-led states and the coal companies have a legal right to bring the case to the Supreme Court at all when the lower court’s decision is on hold until the Biden EPA issues a new rule. If they do have that right, a second question before the justices is whether the lower court’s decision violates the “major questions” doctrine — the idea that if Congress wants to give an administrative agency the power to make “decisions of vast economic and political significance,” it must say so clearly.
- Marietta Memorial Hospital Employee Health Benefit Plan v. DaVita (argued Mar. 1): A dispute over the interpretation of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, which bars health plans from considering whether an individual is eligible for Medicare benefits because they suffer from kidney failure and from providing different benefits to such individuals.
- Ruan v. United States (argued Mar. 1): Whether a doctor who has the authority to prescribe controlled substances can be convicted for unlawful distribution of those drugs when he reasonably believed that his prescriptions fell within professional norms.
- Berger v. North Carolina Conference of the NAACP (argued Mar. 21): Whether a pair of Republican legislators in North Carolina can intervene to defend the state’s voter-ID law when the state’s Democratic attorney general is already defending the law.
- Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety (argued Mar. 29): Whether Congress has the power to authorize suits against states, without their consent, under its constitutional war powers.
- United States v. Washington (argued April 18): This case is a challenge by the federal government to a special Washington state worker’s compensation law for federal contract workers employed at the Hanford site in the state, which produced weapons-grade plutonium for the U.S. nuclear program but also generated large amounts of radioactive waste. The law creates a presumption that workers will be eligible for benefits if they contract certain diseases, including cancer.
- Vega v. Tekoh (argued April 20): Whether a plaintiff can bring a federal civil-rights claim against a police officer based on the officer’s failure to provide a Miranda warning.
- Nance v. Ward (argued April 25): A case involving the procedures by which an inmate must raise his challenge to the method by which the state intends to execute him.
- Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (argued April 25): Whether a public school district violated the rights of a high school football coach when it restricted him from praying on the field after games.
- Shoop v. Twyford (argued April 26): A case involving, among other things, whether a court must determine whether evidence would help an inmate seeking a writ of habeas corpus and whether the court can consider that evidence before the court grants an order allowing the inmate to develop new evidence.
- Biden v. Texas (argued April 26): Whether the Department of Homeland Security must continue to enforce the Migrant Protection Protocols, a policy begun by President Donald Trump that requires asylum seekers at the southern border to stay in Mexico while awaiting a hearing in U.S. immigration court.
- Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta (argued April 27): Whether a state has authority to prosecute defendants who are not Native Americans, but who commit crimes against Native Americans on land that Congress historically reserved for Native people.