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Supreme Court Orders

Update: See end of post.
The U.S. Supreme Court held a conference Friday. As usual, the Court issued a very short orders list later the same day, taking up a single case, and a long list today turning down many cases.

The case taken up Friday wasTanzin v. Tanvir, No. 19-71, regarding a civil suit against federal employees for putting the plaintiffs on the "do not fly" list, allegedly in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Among the cases turned down today was Johnson v. City of Ferguson, No. 19-345 a suit by the perpetrator of the massively destructive "hands up" lie, claiming that he was the injured party in the notorious incident. See this post.
Also turned down by the Court was Isom v. Arkansas, No. 18-9517, a case in which the prosecutor of an earlier burglary case against the defendant was later appointed to the bench and heard the inmate's postconviction attack on his subsequent capital murder conviction. Justice Sotomayor notes her concerns about the case but does not dissent from the denial. Isom's failure to make any objection at the time "is a consideration in evaluating" whether to grant certiorari, she writes, even though that was not the basis of the Arkansas Supreme Court's rejection of the claim.

In Paul v. United States, No. 17-8830, Justice Kavanaugh agrees with turning down the case because the statutory interpretation question was resolved last term in Gundy, but he fires a warning shot across the bow of the excessive delegation of legislative authority to the executive branch, praising "Justice Gorsuch's scholarly analysis of the nondelegation doctrine in his Gundy dissent." See also this post from the day Gundy was argued.

Two off-topic but interesting cases produced opinions. In Thompson v. Hebdon, No. 19-122, the Court sent back to the Ninth Circuit a case challenging Alaska's campaign donation limits, noting that court "declined" to apply a Supreme Court precedent. Justice Ginsburg adds a brief statement noting that the precedent may be distinguishable but not opposing a remand to the Ninth to properly consider it.

Justice Alito dissents from the turn-down of National Review, Inc. v. Mann, No. 18-1451.

The constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression serves many purposes, but its most important role is protection of robust and uninhibited debate on important political and social issues.
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At issue in this case is the line between, on the one hand, a pungently phrased expression of opinion regarding one of the most hotly debated issues of the day and, on the other, a statement that is worded as an expression of opinion but actually asserts a fact that can be proven in court to be false.
The "hotly debated" issue is global warming.

Update: Also in the "off-topic but interesting" category, later in the day the Court stayed D.C. Circuit case regarding the subpoena for President Trump's financial records pending the filing and decision of a petition for certiorari to review that case. The application is Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP, No. 19A545.

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