Decision days

The Court has heard the last oral argument until the next term opens on the first Monday in October.  However, the Court will sit on most Mondays until the end of June in order to announce decisions and orders.

When there is a decision in a case argued earlier in the term, the author of the majority opinion will announce the ruling and take a few minutes to discuss the opinion.  Sometimes, the author of a dissenting opinion will announce that opinion as well (and if it’s Justice Ginsburg, she might be wearing her “dissent jabot”!). These are interesting to observe and can feel quite meaningful if it’s a case you care about — definitely worth going to if you’re able.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know when any given case will be decided.  Earlier-argued cases tend to be decided earlier, but not necessarily, and even the parties do not know until the morning of the announcement. On the other hand, it’s usually fairly easy to get into the courtroom (compared with the long and early-forming lines on argument days), with the possible exception of the last announcement day if there is a major case still unresolved.  The Court has not scheduled a decision day for the week of May 6, but expect announcements at 10am on May 13, 20, and 28 (a Tuesday; the 27th is Memorial Day) and June 3, 10, 17, and 24.

As of this post, we’re still awaiting a decision in:

  • one case argued back in October (Gundy, involving the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act),
  • one from November (Virginia Uranium, Inc., a federal preemption issue),
  • three from December, including Apple Inc. v. Pepper (antitrust liability), Carpenter v. Murphy (related to tribal sovereignty) and
    • Gamble, which could be a very significant case, questioning the “separate sovereigns” exception to the double jeopardy clause
  • and 34 others from Jan-April 2019, including
    • American Legion v. American Humanist Association, a significant religious establishment case (argued in February),
    • Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, important cases involving partisan gerrymandering (agued March 26),
    • Department of Commerce v. New York, the “citizenship question” on the Census (argued quite late in the term, on April 23)

After the decisions are announce, the Court will go on summer recess.  This blog will too, until I’ll start posting about October 2019 term cases about a month before First Monday.