Twenty cases, four Court days. Let’s do this.

By Cara L. Gallagher
Weekend Contributor

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 1.44.51 PMTomorrow, at 10am EST, we may learn what the future holds for same-sex couples in 13 states that ban gay marriage, millions of Americans on Obamacare, and men on death row awaiting executions in 31 states that allow capital punishment. And these are only three of the twenty cases from this term with decisions that have yet to be announced in the final weeks before the Court adjourns until October. It’s gonna be a busy week at the Supreme Court.

According to the Court’s website, if they don’t announce decisions on those three cases tomorrow, there are four more days left this month for it to happen. Twenty cases left to announce is peculiar, especially for this time of year. It’s atypical for the Court to deliver five decisions a day, which they’d have to do if they were to disburse the decisions equitably each day. I’ve heard three maybe four decisions in one day, but that was a heavy volume. Two or three is more common and, worth mentioning, appreciated by those of us inside relegated to pen, paper, and bad handwriting. Conversely, last Monday’s non-conference day yielded only one decision about the president’s “exclusive power to grant formal recognition to a foreign sovereign,” in Zivotofsky v. Kerry.

As inclined as we are to find such cases about healthcare, death penalties, and marriage relatable in that they raise questions that hit close to home, they’re also all extremely technical and require decisions written with expert tailoring and efficiency. Our impatience and the fact that great hues and cries will promulgate the air waves after the decisions matter very little to the justices, who know every word they use to interpret the laws live on a “millennia,” to use a word belabored during the same-sex marriage oral arguments. This takes time.

Crafting drafts of opinions for some cases may still be in the final stages, which is likely why we only got one decision last week and why so many decisions linger. There are also multiple dissents to write and concurrences, or decisions written by some justices when they agree with the majority but on different legal grounds. Given the nature of the cases this term, you can bet there will be concurrences, some of which may sound more like a dissent than an agreement. Frequent concurrence author Justice Scalia, who penned 24% of the concurrences written last term, has been known to do this.

One thing’s for sure, twenty cases in four days will make for an frenetic conclusion to the term. It’s also likely more days will be added to the Court’s scheduled, as has been the case in the last few years. According to the Court’s calendar, another day has already been added this week, Thursday, for decisions. If you’re a court watcher anxiously awaiting decisions, let this be a heads up to keep your eyes on the #SCOTUS Twitter hashtag, which will be updated with last minute changes to the Court’s calendar faster than the Court’s website. Make Hootsuite, Spredfast, or Sprout Social your new favorite social network management platform to organize Supreme Court news into a simple stream so you can exclusively follow #SCOTUS news via the hashtag. I’ll be in D.C. starting Tuesday and promise to help keep the interwebs and Twittersphere up to date with the latest news as we come to a thrilling close this term.

Follow Cara on Twitter @SupremeBystandr.

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

47 thoughts on “Twenty cases, four Court days. Let’s do this.”

  1. Squeek, LOL!!! “Be CAREFUL what you ask for” come to mind. Never mess w/ a poet.

  2. DBQ – I agree. Yesterday, I tried my best to get Isaac to answer a question which would help define government’s role: would he support government taxing something that he liked to consume, especially if he disagreed with their assessment? I used the controversial grain topic, with which Isaac disagreed. So I was able to find a product that he thought was healthy and I claimed was not, step 1 accomplished. But he would not proceed to step 2, which was to answer whether or not he would accept government making that food unaffordable in order to socially engineer healthier eating habits, even though he disagreed with the assessment. My own answer would be an emphatic no. I often disagree with what the government has decreed are health foods, the definition of which changes frequently. He kept defining the grain debate as cherry picking data, which stubbornly ignoring the actual question. It was important for him to either disagree with the statement that grain was unhealthy, or decide that he didn’t care enough to alter his eating habits, in order to truthfully answer if he would accept government forbidding, though economic pressure, him from eating it.

    And the reason why I chose poor Isaac to engage with this debate is that he seems to consistently support social engineering and sin taxes.

    It is one thing for someone to support sin taxes on others, but another thing entirely to support it for themselves. Sometimes this type of tax has to affect you personally before you realize the error of the tax and spend paradigm.

    But all I got were references to a mentally handicapped Little Person.

    I make no converts on this blog. I remember in college going to the coffee houses where ideas would be passionately discussed. There were no taboo topics, and people would often play devil’s advocate to explore the issues. Today the trend is snap judgement and try your hardest to ignore any facts. It’s like a competition to prove who’s more biased.

    The recent Amtrak derailment comes to mind. Before the facts came out that the engineer was traveling at over 100 mph, twice the speed limit, politicians across the country blamed Republicans for the crash, with their attempts to reign in spending.


  3. @Isaac

    Oh, you wanted a poem??? OK! Here is one, just for YOU!

    Et Tu Mens???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was a liberal slicker.
    Whose response was to claim, “Cherry Picker!!!”
    But he never explained
    Just what he disdained- – –
    I guess calling names was just quicker!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter


    “Supreme Court shuts down Scott Walker: Today’s ultrasound decision is a big defeat for anti choice warriors.”

    “The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review North Carolina’s forced ultrasound law, rendering it unenforceable and marking a rare bit of good news about reproductive freedom to come out of the high court. (This time last year, I was in the midst of a prolonged Charlie Brown sad walk over Hobby Lobby and buffer zones.)

    This is the end of the road for the state’s condescendingly-titled A Woman’s Right to Know Act, which was challenged by a coalition of groups on First Amendment grounds. The law required doctors to give patients seeking abortion care detailed descriptions of their ultrasounds and follow a script that, according to a lower court ruling striking down the law, had an “ideological message in favor of carrying a pregnancy to term.””

  5. He is getting insufferable w/ that cherry picking meme. Maybe because it’s cherry season. It’s a short season so maybe it will pass soon.

  6. “There ought to be a law against such expressions of freedom.

    Indeed, the left has already moved to quash any and all expressions of freedom they despise, and against declining to participate in their new-found ‘freedoms’.

    That is, they are not for freedom per se, just the freedom to comply with their agenda.

  7. “Gays can get married, males can say they are females and white people can now claim they are black.”

    The unmitigated nerve! There ought to be a law against such expressions of freedom.

  8. Gays can get married, males can say they are females and white people can now claim they are black.

    “It’s a mixed up muddled up, shook up world”

  9. $50 words don’t help when an argument is full of holes. Furthermore, if you read today’s posting and some of the ‘end of the world’ warnings you might understand to whom I was referring. Conspicuously absent lately, maybe we will get a poem.

  10. Isaac

    We can read. Your constant comments to Karen yesterday about cherry picking your arguments in the Tobacco thread are numerous. It is painfully obvious to what you are/were referring.

    I did not participate in that thread comment section, because it bored me. However, has a person who does love a spirited and lively debate I thought you, and everyone else, might benefit from reading some information about debating, logical fallacies etc. It will do nothing but make our dialogue better if we try to avoid the most egregious logical fallacies.

    You’re welcome.

  11. What’s interesting here is that the post regarding ‘Cherry picking’ was not addressed to anyone in particular. I presented no argument other than an observation composed of a denotative meaning. Draw your own conclusions.

  12. Re: Cherry picking

    When a person presents a multifaceted argument containing several premises, it is not cherry picking to choose to reply to one argument or to each argument separately as long as the debater is clear that the one argument is being examined as an entity. The debater is attempting to segregate out individual facets of the argument (as in debating terms) and address each item separately.

    Often people will present a thesis with facets that are not really part of a coherent whole….in other words the arguments do not belong together and cannot be considered a unit. Contradictory arguments or which contain premises that do not even belong together.

    Dogmatism and Either/Or or Black/White, False Dilemma, or Excluded Middle Fallacy are the two most common fallacies that I see presented on the internet and quite often in this blog. They are defined in the above link.

    If you find that people are “cherry picking” your arguments, then perhaps your presentation is not clear, not coherent or is lacking in logical progression.

    Hope this helps.

  13. Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. It is a kind of fallacy of selective attention, the most common example of which is the confirmation bias. Cherry picking may be committed intentionally or unintentionally. This fallacy is a major problem in public debate.

    A lot of this going on.

  14. I’m heartened to see people enjoying Cara’s posts. She has been a valuable addition since she joined the roster.

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