The 5 Biggest Supreme Court Cases Awaiting Decisions

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The Supreme Court’s term is coming to an end in the coming weeks and the most anticipated decisions will be rendered during this period.

About 18 decisions are still pending before the Supreme Court, covering some of the most controversial and impactful issues facing the country. Here are those that are arguably the most significant.

5. Kennedy vs. Bremerton School District

High school football coach Joseph Kennedy lost his job after insisting on saying post-game prayers at the 50-year-old line, despite his employer, the Bremerton School District, ordering him to quit. Kennedy says it violated his First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion, while the school district says a public school employee’s prayer went against the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The school district told Kennedy to stop saying prayers on the field after an opposing coach brought him to the principal’s attention. He did so, temporarily, and then informed the school that he would resume practicing. The situation attracted media attention, and when Kennedy announced that he would begin praying in the field again, it raised security concerns. When he prayed after the game, a number of people stormed the pitch in support.


The school district then offered to let Kennedy pray in other places before and after games, or for him to pray at the 50-yard line after everyone had left, but he refused, insisting on the fact that he would continue his regular practice. This ultimately led to the school district taking action against him.

The question is whether Kennedy’s prayer constituted government speech because he was a government employee, in which case it would not be protected. The court is also considering whether, if the prayer is protected private speech, the school could still tell him to stop so they are not seen as endorsing the religion.

During the closing arguments, a number of judges appeared to lean on Kennedy’s side. Judge Clarence Thomas questioned whether Kennedy’s prayer could be considered government speech if the school district strongly and publicly objected to it.

Judge Elena Kagan raised the question of possible coercion, as the students had joined Kennedy for prayer. A trial court noted that the director was contacted by a parent who said his son “felt compelled to participate” in the prayer despite being an atheist, “he felt he wouldn’t play as much s ‘he wasn’t participating.

Kennedy’s attorney countered by saying that the school district never mentioned this when they fired him and that their only reason at the time was for the sake of endorsing religion.

4. Biden vs. Texas

This case centers on the Trump administration’s migrant protection protocols, commonly referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which migrants seeking asylum in the United States were to remain in Mexico pending hearings. The Biden administration tried to repeal the policy but was blocked by a lower court.


The crux of the matter is whether the federal government can exercise discretion in running the program or whether, as Texas and Missouri argue in their lawsuit, the policy is necessary to comply with federal law. which states that migrants cannot be released in the United States because the country lacks the resources to detain everyone.

General Counsel Elizabeth Prelogar asserted during oral argument that if the policy was necessary to comply with the law, then “every presidential administration in an unbroken line over the last quarter century has been in open violation.[.]”

Much of the argument revolved around legislative language. Prelogar pointed to a law that said the attorney general “may remove” aliens from contiguous territory to that territory pending a hearing. Judge Clarence Thomas pointed out that the same law states that if an immigration officer determines that a migrant “does not have a clear and clear right of admission” to the United States, the migrant “must be detained”, which the other party interpreted. as a requirement.

3. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. vs. Bruen

In possibly the biggest Second Amendment case before the Supreme Court in more than a decade, justices are set to decide whether New York’s process for obtaining a license to carry a concealed handgun is too restrictive. The current rules require applicants to show a “valid reason” for needing to carry a firearm, and the government can exercise its discretion to determine whether someone has met this requirement. The result is that it is extremely difficult to obtain a license.


During closing arguments, conservative judges appeared to challenge the state’s position.

“Why isn’t it enough to say I live in a violent area and want to defend myself?” asked Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

In an exchange with Judge Samuel Alito, New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood conceded that if a plaintiff says the furlough was working late at night and had to walk from a subway station through a high-crime neighborhood to return home, that person would be denied because they did not cite a specific threat.

“How is this compatible with the fundamental right to self-defence?” Alito asked, stating that this is at the heart of the Second Amendment.

2. West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency

Although this case – which is actually four cases grouped together to be decided together – does not center on burning political issues but on the much drier world of agency action, its outcome may perhaps have the greatest impact of all these cases.

At issue is whether the Environmental Protection Agency has the power to issue sweeping rules that could overhaul industry practices and the nation’s power grids to combat climate change.

The logo of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is displayed on a door of its headquarters March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. US President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 seeks to cut the EPA’s budget by 31%, from $8.1 billion to $5.7 billion.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In 2015, the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. The plan was blocked by the Supreme Court in 2016, then repealed by the Trump administration and replaced by the less extreme Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. However, after President Biden took office, the ACE rule became the subject of litigation that led to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the rule as well as repealing the Clean Power Plan.

The Supreme Court is currently reviewing this decision.

The Biden administration argues that the EPA has the power to unilaterally enact sweeping requirements to improve the environment. West Virginia and other states argue that this goes against the “major issues doctrine.” This doctrine says that while federal agencies generally have broad regulatory authority as delegated by Congress through the statutes that create them, when dealing with matters of major economic and political importance to the country, these bylaws should have clear language to support agency action.

The Biden administration also says the case doesn’t even belong to the Supreme Court, as the EPA has said it won’t reinstate the Clean Power Plan, choosing instead to develop and implement its own rules. The government argued that without any EPA rules currently in place, the other party is merely arguing a potential future rule, not actual current harm.

The case could determine the fate of President Biden’s climate agenda, as well as set an important precedent for how other federal agencies can act.

1. Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Anticipation of a decision in the case has already led to protests outside the Supreme Court and the homes of several justices, as well as an attempted murder charge against a man who allegedly plotted to kill Justice Kavanaugh. This was all triggered by the release of a draft opinion by Judge Samuel Alito which, if released as a court opinion, will overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the recognition of a constitutional right to abortion.

The case came after Mississippi passed a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, flagrantly going against the norm set by Roe that banned bans before fetal viability – estimated at around 23 weeks. The ensuing litigation now places the Supreme Court in a position to consider whether a pre-viability ban should be allowed.


During oral arguments, some judges seemed interested in finding a way to maintain the 15-week ban without removing Roe altogether. Chief Justice John Roberts has spoken of the possibility of eliminating the viability standard while ensuring that women have the option of having an abortion. Both parties to the case have expressed skepticism about the feasibility of this option.

Alito, in his draft opinion, not only said the Mississippi law should stand, but eviscerated Roe and the case that upheld it, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. He said bluntly that the cases should be overturned, which would put abortion rights in the hands of individual states where elected officials can set their own standards.

After Politico released Alito’s draft, the Supreme Court issued a statement noting that it is standard practice for draft opinions to be circulated among justices as part of the decision-making process, and that the draft does not does not indicate what the Court’s final decision will be. .


The country will now wait and see if Alito’s draft, or something similar, will remove Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years, or if the Supreme Court finally decides to go in a different direction.

Last week alone, the court delivered opinions in 11 cases, so if they continue at this rate, those cases will all be decided by the end of next week. The court’s current term will end once all cases have been decided, at which time Justice Stephen Breyer will retire. His replacement, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, will then be sworn in.

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