Weekly Roundup – November 18, 2016

Did you miss your Supreme Court news this week? Let our Weekly Roundup help. (To stay on top of the latest Supreme Court happenings, follow @ISCOTUS on Twitter.)

Despite not adding any new cases or hearing argument this week, the Court played a prominent role in the news. In an interview on 60 Minutes that aired on Sunday, President-Elect Trump declared he believes gay marriage rights are “settled.”  He indicated, however, that he would appoint pro-life justices to the Court who would reverse Roe v. Wade. As Joan Biskupic of CNN reports this is the first time since 1969 that a newly elected president will be able to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. President Nixon came into office with a vacancy left due to Chief Justice Earl Warren’s retirement. Before Congress even confirmed Nixon’s nominee for Chief Justice, Warren Burger, Associate Justice Abe Fortas resigned. Although the Senate confirmed Burger, it blocked President Nixon’s first two nominees to replace Fortas before confirming Justice Harry Blackmun.

The Hill reports that Senator Dianne Feinstein will become the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee next year. She will be the first women to be a ranking member of the committee, and will have a prominent role in vetting any Supreme Court Justice nomination after the President-Elect takes office. She has stated that she will pay “close attention,” to anyone Trump nominates, suggesting that she is willing to battle his or her confirmation.

Justice Sotomayor was also in the news this week. When asked about the outcome of the election, she stated that the country “can’t afford to despair.” She reiterated that the current even number of justices is not “ideal,” but that they have been doing the best that they can to avoid split decisions, and have affirmed by an equally divided court in only four cases since the death of Justice Scalia. However, as ABC News reports, she went on to say that the Court functions better with nine justices, as they are able to come to a definite conclusion on issues.

Also this week, Justice Ginsburg put down her gavel for a bit and made her opera debut with the Washington National Opera recently. She played “The Duchess” in “The Daughter of the Regiment” on opening night. As NBC reports, Justice Ginsburg and the late Justice Scalia both shared a passion for the opera. Justice Ginsburg “tweaked” the lines for the performance to make them reflect her “day job.”

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