As we enter June, we also enter the final month, for all intents and purposes, of October Term 2012 (OT 2012) of the Supreme Court (I say “for all intents and purposes” because although the Court’s Term will not actually end until the opening of OT 2013 on October 7, 2013, the Court traditionally issues its final decisions in argued cases during the last week of June). Thus far, the Court has issued opinions in 45 argued cases, as well as 4 per curiam opinions in cases decided without argument.
Over the next two weeks, the Court will likely issue opinions only on Mondays. However, by the third week of June, it becomes more likely that the Court will issue opinions on two or more days during the week in an effort to get the remaining opinions released before the end of June (in the past, the Court has occasionally taken until the first week of July to finish its work, but that has become increasingly uncommon). The popular and authoritative Court-tracking site SCOTUSblog provides live coverage of the opinion announcements. On Monday announcement days, the Court issues orders from the prior week’s conference at 9:30 AM EDT (8:30 AM CDT). The orders include the Court’s grants of certiorari to fill up the caseload for OT 2013. Opinions, on Mondays and other opinion days later in June, are released beginning at 10:00 AM EDT (9:00 AM CDT). Opinions are announced in order of reverse seniority; thus, if Justice Kagan has a majority opinion that day, she will be first to announce, and if the Chief Justice has an opinion, he will go last.
This is an eventful end of term for the Court, with many important and newsworthy cases yet to be decided. The “questions presented” for each case of the Court’s current term can be accessed on the Court’s website. Clicking the docket number of a case will open a PDF stating the question(s) presented for review. As of this writing, there are still 28 cases to be decided. Among the most anticipated, in order from earliest oral argument, include (with links to SCOTUSblog’s case page for each):
- Fisher v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin (No. 11-345): whether the race-based undergraduate admissions system at UT-Austin is constitutional under the Equal Protection Clause;
- Maryland v. King (No. 12-207): whether the Fourth Amendment allows states to collect DNA from arrestees;
- Shelby County v. Holder (No. 12-96): whether the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act is constitutional;
- Fed. Trade Comm’n v. Actavis (No. 12-416): whether “pay-for-delay” agreements that delay the entry of generic pharmaceuticals into the market are illegal;
- Hollingsworth v. Perry (No. 12-144): whether California’s Proposition 8 restricting marriage to heterosexual couples is constitutional;
- United States v. Windsor (No. 12-307): whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutional (Professor Kathy Baker has filed an amicus brief in this case); and
- Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. (No. 12-398): whether human genes can be patented (Professor Lori Andrews has filed an amicus brief (PDF) in this case).
For each of the cases above, as well as the other cases from the term, including both decided and still pending cases, you can listen to the oral arguments at Chicago-Kent’s Oyez Project. Oyez has also provided an in-depth “Deep Dive” of the two same-sex marriage cases.
So if you’re an inveterate Court-watcher or simply someone interested in one or more of the big cases waiting to be decided, the next four weeks should offer plenty.