The Supreme Court is expected this week to close out one of its most contentious sessions in recent years, including its overturning on Friday of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision recognizing the right to an abortion.

The court has four cases remaining from this term on which it still has to issue opinions, a process it normally concludes by early July. Here are three significant ones still outstanding.

IMMIGRATION

Biden v. Texas

Awaiting decision

In this case, the Supreme Court will rule on whether the Biden administration can be compelled to maintain the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico program, which denied entry to asylum applicants from Central America while their cases were being processed. The Biden administration said the law exposed asylum applicants to unsafe conditions, and that it was pursuing other measures to ease the burden on the immigration system; Missouri and Texas said the government was obliged either to deny entry to these applicants or imprison them within the U.S. until their claims were resolved.

ENVIRONMENTAL RULE-MAKING

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency

Awaiting decision

A coalition of Republican-leaning states and small coal producers argue that EPA’s power to combat greenhouse gases is limited to measures within the fence lines of specific power plants, excluding broader measures the agency says are more effective. The case, argued in February, could lead to new limits on the executive branch’s regulatory power.

NATIVE RIGHTS

Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta

Awaiting decision

Oklahoma argues it retains concurrent authority on Indian reservations with the federal government to prosecute nontribal citizens even when a crime’s victim is Native American, seeking to reverse one consequence of the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision recognizing nearly half of the state as Indian country. That decision transferred many criminal cases from state courts to federal jurisdiction. Should the court agree with Oklahoma, other states with Indian reservations could find themselves with authority for prosecuting crimes over swaths of territory that for generations have been the U.S. Justice Department’s sole responsibility.

Here are some notable decisions the Supreme Court reached in its current session:

ABORTION

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Decision: 6-3 on Mississippi’s abortion law; 5-4 on overruling Roe v. Wade 

Majority: Justices Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett; Chief Justice Roberts concurs on Mississippi law but dissents on overruling Roe

Dissenting: Justices Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayor

The Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, overruling the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and leaving the question of abortion’s legality to the states. The court’s decision on June 24 upheld a law from Mississippi that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In doing so, the court’s conservative majority said the Roe decision was egregiously wrong in recognizing a constitutional right to an abortion, an error the court perpetuated in the decades since. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,”
Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court. 

The court voted 6-3 to side with Mississippi, but 5-4 on the broader question of whether to overrule Roe. Chief Justice John Roberts, in a concurring opinion, agreed that the Mississippi law should stand but didn’t support rescinding the right to an abortion altogether.

CAMPAIGN FINANCING

Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate

Decision: 6-3

Majority: Justices Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett

Dissenting: Justices Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayor

On May 16, the court’s conservatives issued a 6-3 decision siding with Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) by striking down a federal campaign-finance regulation limiting politicians from repaying loans to themselves above $250,000 from donations received after Election Day.

BUSINESS LAW

Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon

Decision: 8–0 (Justice Barrett didn’t participate)

The court ruled unanimously on June 6 that airline baggage handlers can’t be compelled to resolve employment disputes through individual private arbitration, bucking a trend of recent decisions making it easier for employers to avoid class-action lawsuits brought by workers. The case has closely been watched for its implications for other types of workers, such as drivers hired by Amazon.com Inc. or Uber Technologies Inc. But Monday’s opinion stuck closely to the facts of the Southwest case.

IMMIGRATION

Arizona v. City and County of San Francisco

Dismissed

The court on June 15 dismissed a case regarding the effort by Republican-led states to reinstate a Trump-era regulation penalizing lawful immigrants for using welfare benefits, deciding after the case was argued that it should never have agreed to hear it in the first place. The decision affords the Biden administration a victory in its effort to lower the threshold for using welfare benefits that disqualifies lawful immigrants from obtaining “green cards” for permanent residency. The court’s one-sentence order provided no explanation, as is customary when the justices dismiss a case as “improvidently granted.”

CHURCH AND STATE

Kennedy v. Bremerton School District

Decision: 6-3

Majority: Justices Gorsuch, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Kavanaugh and Barrett

Dissent: Justices Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan

Siding with a football coach who knelt in prayer at the 50-yard line, the court ruled 6-3 on June 27 that a school district cannot bar him from publicly exercising his faith on the field after the game, continuing a line of decisions lowering the wall between church and state. School officials in Bremerton, Wash., argued that the coach, Joe Kennedy, commandeered the government-owned field to promote his faith to fans and students after the game, implicitly putting the district’s imprimatur on his brand of Christianity.

Carson v. Makin

Decision: 6-3

Majority: Justices Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett

Dissenting: Justices Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor

The court ruled on June 21 that religious schools can’t be excluded from a Maine program that pays private-school tuition for students in areas that lack public schools, the latest decision by a conservative majority skeptical of precedents that drew a bright line between church and state.

GUN RIGHTS

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen

Decision: 6-3

Majority: Justices Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett

Dissenting: Justices Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor

The court on June 23 struck down New York state’s system for issuing concealed-weapons permits, ruling that the century-old law requiring that applicants demonstrate “proper cause” and “good moral character” violates the Second Amendment. The decision marks the widest expansion of gun rights since 2010, when the court applied nationwide a 2008 ruling establishing an individual right of armed self-defense within the home. It puts in question laws in nine other states and the District of Columbia, where authorities hold substantial discretion over issuing concealed-weapons permits.

ELECTION LAW

Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP

Decision: 8-1

Majority: Justices Gorsuch, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Breyer, Kagan, Kavanaugh and Barrett

Dissenting: Justice Sotomayor

The court on Thursday said top Republican legislators in North Carolina can step in and advocate for a voter-identification law they believe the state’s attorney general, a Democrat, isn’t adequately defending in court. The narrowly drawn 8-1 decision by Justice Neil Gorsuch found that Republican leaders of the North Carolina legislature can intervene in long-running litigation over a 2018 law requiring a photo ID to vote in person at the polls.
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