Bench Memos

Today’s Rulings

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its two final rulings of the term, in the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood cases (religious-liberty challenges to the HHS mandate) and in Harris v. Quinn (First Amendment challenge to coerced support of public-sector union), in its session that begins at 10 a.m. If things go as I anticipate (and they well might not), Justice Alito will first announce the decision in Harris v. Quinn, and the Chief Justice will then announce the Hobby Lobby decision. Announcement of each decision could easily take several minutes. Plus, each case presents the prospect that a dissenting justice will read from the dissent. So we might not get the first word on Hobby Lobby until 10:15 or later. (For the initial news, I will be relying on SCOTUSblog’s live blogging.)

(For a skeletal outline of the various issues in Hobby Lobby along with links to my fuller takes on the issues, see this post. See also my two recent posts on Harris v. Quinn.)

After 10 a.m., I will update this post to provide quick news and comments on the results. I will reserve extended commentary for later posts.

Updates:

Both decisions from Alito!

Hobby Lobby: Victory for Hobby Lobby, 5-4. RFRA applies to closely held corporations. Government hasn’t shown that mandate is least restrictive means. Reasoning evidently mirrors this post of mine. Just received link to opinion.

Kennedy concurrence (might go further than rest of majority in reliance on accommodation for religious nonprofits). 

Dissent by Ginsburg for four liberals. (Breyer and Kagan don’t join part that says for-profit corporations don’t have RFRA rights.)

Harris v. Quinn: Court refuses to extend Abood​ but doesn’t overrule it. Narrow ruling, evidently. 5-4. Individuals who aren’t really public employees don’t fall within scope of dubious Abood​ ruling.

Most Popular

Media

About That ‘Uncoverable’ Biden Story

Journalists claim they can’t cover the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop because the underlying evidence has yet to been verified. Also, they won’t look for any verifying evidence because there isn’t enough evidence. It’s quite the conundrum. Because other than the now-corroborated emails, ... Read More
Media

About That ‘Uncoverable’ Biden Story

Journalists claim they can’t cover the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop because the underlying evidence has yet to been verified. Also, they won’t look for any verifying evidence because there isn’t enough evidence. It’s quite the conundrum. Because other than the now-corroborated emails, ... Read More
White House

Hell, Yes

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National ... Read More
White House

Hell, Yes

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National ... Read More
Elections

Late Campaign Stops Don’t Seem to Do Much

Growing up in New Jersey, we called nights like tonight – where there were expectations for hooliganism -- vandalism, breaking windows, and perhaps even arson, “Mischief Night.” In Detroit, they called it “Devil’s Night.” In 2020, Americans just call it “Friday.” On the menu today: wondering ... Read More
Elections

Late Campaign Stops Don’t Seem to Do Much

Growing up in New Jersey, we called nights like tonight – where there were expectations for hooliganism -- vandalism, breaking windows, and perhaps even arson, “Mischief Night.” In Detroit, they called it “Devil’s Night.” In 2020, Americans just call it “Friday.” On the menu today: wondering ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More

Searching for a Sign

I’ve been waiting for almost six months to see a Biden-Harris yard sign in my neighborhood. Finally one -- just one -- appeared about two weeks ago. It is large and proud. The homeowners even equipped it with a spotlight, so that it is visible at night. I’m surprised, because liberal political yard signs ... Read More

Searching for a Sign

I’ve been waiting for almost six months to see a Biden-Harris yard sign in my neighborhood. Finally one -- just one -- appeared about two weeks ago. It is large and proud. The homeowners even equipped it with a spotlight, so that it is visible at night. I’m surprised, because liberal political yard signs ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More