Here are the Supreme Court’s biggest cases this term

Share this post
Listen to this article

The Supreme Court justices will take the bench Monday for the first argument of the new term, a year filled with battles over guns, social media and the administrative state.

The court so far has agreed to hear roughly 35 cases this term, though the justices are all but certain to add more throughout the fall. Decisions are expected by next summer.

The Supreme Court and other federal courts plan to continue operating even during a government shutdown, at least in the short term. 

Here are the major cases on the Supreme Court’s docket this term:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

In the first high-profile argument of the term, the justices Tuesday will consider whether the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) funding mechanism is constitutional.

Created after the 2008 financial crisis to enforce consumer financial laws, the CFPB does not receive its funding through Congress’s normal appropriations process. Instead, it receives transfers from the Federal Reserve. 

Two associations of companies the CFPB regulates want the justices to affirm a lower court decision that found the scheme violates the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, which gives Congress the power of the purse.

They are backed by a coalition of 27 Republican state attorneys general. The Biden administration has warned that ruling in their favor would call into question virtually every action the agency has taken.

With the CFPB’s future at stake, its biggest advocates, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have vowed to not go down without a fight.

“If Republicans control Congress, they could starve the CFPB of resources to neuter its ability to go after wrongdoing,” Warren said Friday during a speech at the Center for American Progress. “And if the Supreme Court opens the door for them, the independence of the Fed, the [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] and others that use a funding model like the CFPB will evaporate.”

The case is Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Services Association of America, Limited.

Second Amendment

In November, the Supreme Court will hear a major gun case as the justices review the constitutionality of a federal law prohibiting gun possession for people under domestic violence restraining orders.

The dispute is the first major Second Amendment case the justices will hear since their landmark expansion of gun rights last summer, and the case could clarify the new standard set by the high court’s 6-3 conservative majority.

That standard requires gun control laws to be consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation, and it has led lower courts to strike down a dizzying array of gun laws.

The justices are now set to consider the case of Zackey Rahimi, whom a federal grand jury indicted for possessing a firearm while being under a domestic violence restraining order.

Court filings indicate authorities found two guns at Rahimi’s home months after he was placed under the restraining order for assaulting his girlfriend in a parking lot and later threatening to shoot her.

The case is also being closely watched for how it could impact other gun laws, including one that Hunter Biden, the president’s son, is charged with breaking.

The case is United States v. Rahimi.

Chevron deference

The Supreme Court this term will consider overturning the Chevron deference, which would take a sledgehammer to executive agencies’ wide authority to enact regulations.

In place for nearly 40 years, the doctrine provides that when Congress is silent or ambiguous on an issue, courts must uphold agencies’ actions if they are based on a reasonable reading of the statute.

In some recent cases, the justices have sidestepped or enacted carve-outs to the doctrine, but their new case provides their best chance yet for overturning Chevron once and for all.

Several of the court’s conservatives are known critics of the Chevron deference, particularly Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.

The case is Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo.

Social media content moderation

The justices Friday announced they will hear a pair of landmark cases about laws restricting social media companies from removing content or users for their politics.

Florida and Texas both passed similar laws as part of Republican attempts to push back on allegations of conservative censorship.

The cases are poised to have resounding impacts for online speech. The Biden administration had urged the justices to take up the dispute.

The laws are being challenged by two tech industry groups, the Computer and Communications Industry Association and NetChoice. They contend the laws violate their First Amendment rights to decide what speech to host.

The cases are Moody v. NetChoice, LLC and NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton.

Public officials’ social media bans

On Oct. 31, the justices will wade into the issue of public officials banning constituents on social media on their personal accounts as they hear arguments in two separate cases.

School board members in southern California and a city manager in Michigan blocked constituents after they wrote criticizing comments, and the constituents then challenged the bans as violations of their free speech rights.

At issue is whether the bans were state action, since the First Amendment only applies to governmental bodies.

Though the accounts in question were the officials’ personal profiles, the constituents argue they still used the accounts to post and communicate about their job.

In each case, lower courts used different legal tests and came to opposite conclusions.

The cases are O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier and Lindke v. Freed.

“Trump too small” 

In yet another First Amendment case, the justices will decide whether a man can trademark “Trump too small,” a joke about the former president in reference to the infamous 2016 debate moment in which Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) made fun of Trump’s hand size.

Attorney Steve Elster, of California, wants to trademark the phrase for selling shirts poking fun at Trump, but a provision of federal law prohibits trademarks that mention a living person without their consent.

Without Trump’s consent, Elster’s trademark application was denied. But an appeals court struck down the provision as applied to Elster, ruling it violated his free speech rights because Trump was a government official.

The Justice Department is now seeking to uphold the law and prevent Elster from moving ahead with the trademark.

The case is Vidal v. Elster.

Go to Source

Leave Your Comment