A pair of challenges to controversial social media laws in Texas and Florida and a dispute over whether to freeze the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to reduce ozone levels across the United States headline the Supreme Court’s February 2024 argument calendar, which was released on Friday morning.
The justices will hear 10 hours of oral argument over five days, from Feb. 20 to Feb. 28.
By the time the justices hear arguments in the social media cases, NetChoice LLC v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice LLC, on Feb. 26, they will have been grappling with the issues presented in the dispute for nearly two years. At issue in both cases are laws – in Texas and in Florida – that would regulate how large social media companies like Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter) control content posted on their sites. The two states enacted the laws in 2021 in response to beliefs that the companies were censoring their users, particularly those with conservative views, but the companies counter that the laws violate their First Amendment rights to control what speech appears on their platforms.
In May 2022, a divided Supreme Court put the Texas law on hold while the challenges to the law continued in the lower courts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit later rejected those challenges and upheld the law, while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit barred the state from enforcing most of the law. The Supreme Court agreed in September to weigh in.
The dispute over whether to freeze the EPA’s plan to reduce ozone levels – known as the Good Neighbor Plan – is a more recent addition to the court’s docket, and it comes to the justices from their emergency appeals, or “shadow,” docket.
In September, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to put the rule on hold while a challenge to the plan continued in the lower courts. That prompted the challengers – Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia, along with trade associations and companies affected by the plan – to come to the Supreme Court last fall, asking the justices to intervene.
In a brief, unsigned order on Dec. 20, the justices declined to put the rule on hold and instead ordered oral argument on the challengers’ request in February. On Friday, the calendar set the cases for one hour of oral argument on Feb. 21.
Other cases slated for argument in the February argument session include:
- Corner Post v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Feb. 20) – Does the six-year statute of limitations to challenge an action by a federal agency begin to run when the agency issues the rule or when the plaintiff is actually injured?
- Bissonnette v. LePage Bakeries Park Street, LLC (Feb. 20) – Whether the Federal Arbitration Act’s exemption for the employment contracts of “workers engaged in interstate commerce” applies to any worker who is “actively engaged” in the interstate transportation of goods, or whether the worker’s employer must also be in the “transportation industry.”
- Warner Chappell Music v. Nealy (Feb. 21) – Whether copyright plaintiffs can recover damages for acts that alleged occurred more than three years before they filed their lawsuit.
- McIntosh v. United States (Feb. 27) – Whether a district court can enter a criminal forfeiture order when the time limit specified in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure has already passed.
- Cantero v. Bank of America, N.A. (Feb. 27) – Whether the National Bank Act preempts the application of state escrow-interest laws to national banks.
- Garland v. Cargill (Feb. 28) – Whether a “bump stock” – an attachment that transforms a semiautomatic rifle into a fully automatic, assault-style weapon – is a “machinegun,” which is generally prohibited under federal law.
- Coinbase v. Suski (Feb. 28) – When an arbitration agreement tasks the arbitrator with deciding whether a dispute should be arbitrated, should courts or the arbitrator decide whether the agreement is narrowed by a later contract that does not address arbitration?
This post is also published on SCOTUSblog.