Elizabeth Slattery is a legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies
The Supreme Court’s recently concluded 2018–2019 term will more likely be remembered for Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings than any particular case the Court decided. It seems the justices wanted a low-profile term following the bruising confirmation, and they put off or denied review in many cases raising hot-button issues. The decisions that produced the most media attention and scrutiny — the political gerrymandering cases on direct appeal and the census case that was on a tight deadline — were ones that the Court could not ignore (either by statutory command or as a practical matter).
It is still too early to make sweeping statements about the impact of President Donald Trump’s nominees to the Court, though the rapid destruction of America their opponents foresaw has yet to occur. Justices Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch have, however, lived up to the chief justice’s declaration last fall that we do not have “Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.” Like their predecessors, Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch are their own men, at times bucking expectations of how a “Trump” judge will vote. Indeed, the pair disagreed in about 30 percent of cases last term, showing they are not cookie-cutter “Republican” judges but thoughtful jurists with independent views of the law.
Now the focus turns to the new term, which started Monday. The Court receives roughly 7,000 petitions every term and agrees to review between 60 and 70 cases. The justices have already granted review in 42 cases, including a number of consolidated cases. They will add another 20-odd cases to their schedule over the course of the fall and early winter. The 2019–20 promises to be an exciting term with disputes implicating claims of sexual orientation– and gender identity–based discrimination in the employment context, funding of religious school choice efforts, and the first significant gun rights case in nearly a decade.
Read the full article here.