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Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Today’s Rulings



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[9:45 a.m.: The Supreme Court has another announcement session today, beginning at 10:00. Six cases remain to be decided, including the two marriage cases and the Voting Rights Act section 5 case. My guess is that the Court will issue rulings in two or three cases today, that the marriage cases won’t be announced until the last day of the session, and that the last day will be Thursday. Relying on SCOTUSblog and How Appealing, I’ll post here the early word on today’s decisions. I’ll update this post until all the decisions have been announced.]

A total of three rulings:

Shelby County v. Holder (is preclearance requirement under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act constitutional?): Opinion by Chief. Section 4 formula defining covered jurisdictions for section 5 preclearance is unconstitutional. 5-4 ideological divide. Ginsburg dissent.

Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District (land-use permits and takings): Alito opinion in favor of applicant for land-use permit. 5-4 ideological divide. Kagan authors dissent. (Interesting how the Chief has assigned Alito a number of the most sharply divided cases.) Careful study may be needed to see how significant this one is.

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (Indian Child Welfare Act): Alito opinion. 5-4 (but not the usual ideological divide). Parental rights of biological father may be terminated. Concurring opinions by Thomas and Breyer. Scalia in dissent, along with Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Kagan.

All remaining opinions will be issued tomorrow (Wednesday).



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