Supreme Court has 17 cases to decide by June's end

Religious, speech and privacy rights among significant issues to resolve
Associated Press
Jun 16, 2014


It's crunch time at the Supreme Court, where the justices are racing to issue opinions in 17 cases over the next two weeks.

The religious rights of corporations, the speech rights of abortion protesters and the privacy rights of people under arrest are among the significant issues that are so far unresolved.

Summer travel, European teaching gigs and relaxation beckon, but only after the court hands down decisions in all the cases it has heard since October.

In rare instances, the justices will put off decisions and order a case to be argued again in the next term.

This is also the time of the year when a justice could announce a retirement. But the oldest of the justices, 81-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has signaled she will serve at least one more year, and maybe longer.

The justices will meet Monday and again on Thursday to issue opinions, and could wind up their work by the end of the month.

A look at some of the cases that remain:

• Contraceptive coverage: Corporations are claiming the right to exercise religious objections to covering women's contraceptives under their employee health insurance plans, despite the new health law's requirement that birth control be among a range of no-cost preventive services included in health plans.

• Abortion clinic buffer zones: Abortion opponents are challenging as a violation of their speech rights a Massachusetts law mandating a 35-foot protest-free zone on public sidewalks outside abortion clinics.

• Cellphone searches: Two cases weigh the power of police to search the cellphones of people they place under arrest without first obtaining a warrant from a judge.

• Recess presidential appointments: A federal appeals court said President Barack Obama misused the Constitution's recess power when he temporarily filled positions on the National Labor Relations Board in 2012.

• TV on the Internet: Broadcasters are fighting Internet startup Aereo's practice of taking television their programming for free and providing it to subscribers who can then watch on smartphones and other portable devices.

• Greenhouse gases: Industry groups assert that environmental regulators overstepped their bounds by trying to apply a provision of the Clean Air Act to control emissions of greenhouse gases from power plants and factories. This case is unlikely to affect the recent proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency to slash carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly one-third by 2030; that plan involves a different part of the same law.

• Union fees: Home health care workers in Illinois want the court to rule that public sector unions cannot collect fees from workers who object to being affiliated with a union.

• Securities fraud: Investors could find it harder to bring class-action lawsuits over securities fraud at publicly traded companies in a case involving Halliburton Co., a provider of energy services.

• "False" campaign claims: An anti-abortion group says state laws that try to police false statements during political campaigns runs afoul of the First Amendment.




The last case is from the State of Ohio and involves the Ohio Elections Commission. It's a very interesting free speech case wherein a statute that allows the Commission to punish criminally campaign statements that are "false". AG DeWine's office is defending the false statements statute but he also entered a Brief stating the statute should be ruled unconstitutional as it chills political speech and is counter to the First Amendment.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Summing up a case in a paragraph doesn't necessarily get into it much as this story did. What you added to it helps expand a bit. I don't know how I feel about it off the cuff. I'm tired of the lies and attacks in politics. If the candidate will demonstrably lie to you to get elected then what after office is achieved? At the same time most types of speech are protected and I respect that even if I disagree.

How do you feel about it, Babo?


The statute in Ohio has not been used for the most part to go after lying politicians but by politicians seeking to chill complaints about them by citizens. Anybody can file the complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission and that places people in a position where they have to hire lawyers and suppress their speech while the Complaint pends. Oftentimes the Complaint gets dropped after the election as it served its its purpose by suppressing criticism.

So, I'm very strongly in favor of striking the statute down as an unconstitutional violation of people's rights to engage in political speech. Whether the Supreme Court will strike the statute down or remand the case back to the Sixth Circuit as that Court failed to rule on the constitutional claim based on a procedural issue remains to be seen.

I think in the interests of judicial economy SCOTUS should invalidate the statute and save everyone the time and trouble of a remand as even the OHIO AG agrees the statute is unconstitutional. DeWine is duty bound to defend the statute under the constitution but as an attorney he had to acknowledge the statute has a lot of problems. I don't have a lot of respect for DeWine but IMO he did the right thing in this case by filing that second brief.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Thanks for the insight Babo. I agree with you about his defense and believe he is pursuing it well. In contrast from what I understand VA's AG won't be bothered to defend in any capacity his state's same sex marriage law having himself ruled on its constitutionality.

Regardless of my opinion on that topic, I feel that his example is not professional and opens the question of what else will he rule on to/not enforce? DeWine as you state here is doing things correctly, any other gaps in service aside.


SCOTUS just agreed to accept another First Amendment case for next term to decide the standard for criminalizing speech as "True Threats" on the internet.

This Supreme Court case will be important to Ohio and is of local interest as Ohio's intimidation and retaliation statutes do not appear to pass constitutional muster and can be (and have been ) abused to suppress and punish internet speech commenting on government or matters of public concern.


I've always questioned the age of these people. Reminds me of Gene Damschoreder. How good can they drive, yet alone make good decisions.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Would you be interested in a proposed amendment to term limit justices? If so I can provide one for your perusal.


Hero many of our leaders need out! Sturm Thurmond?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices and Super-Majority Legislative Override

SECTION 1: No person may serve as Chief Justice or Associate Justice of the Supreme Court for more than a combined total of twelve years.

SECTION 2: Immediately upon ratification of this Amendment, Congress will organize the justices of the Supreme Courts equally as possible into three classes, with the justices assigned to each class in reverse seniority order, with the most senior justices in the earliest classes. The terms of office for the justices in the First Class will expire at the end of the fourth year following the ratification of this Amendment, the terms for the justices of the Second Class will expire at the end of the eighth year; and of the Third Class at the end of the twelfth year, so that one-third of the justices may be chosen every fourth year.

SECTION 3: When a vacancy occurs in the Supreme Court, the President shall nominate a new justice who, with the approval of the majority of the Senate, shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Justices who fill a vacancy of longer than half of an unexpired term may not be renominated to a full term.

SECTION 4: Upon three-fifths vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Congress may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.

SECTION 5: The Congressional override under Section 4 is not subject to a Presidential veto and shall not be the subject of litigation or review in any Federal or State court.

SECTION 6: Upon three-fifth vote of the several state legislatures, the States may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.

SECTION 7: The States' override under Section 6 shall not be the subject of litigation or review in any Federal or State court, or oversight or interference by Congress or the President.

SECTION 8: Congressional or State override authority under Sections 4 and 6 must be exercised no later than twenty-four months from the date of the Supreme Court rendering its majority opinion, after which date Congress and the States are prohibited from exercising the override.


Strum Thurmond was a piker compared to some.. and some STILL in office like John Conyers, John Dingel, and Charlie Wrangel Here is a list of the longest and oldest serving congress members. I like the idea of term limits AND age limits.




"Union fees: Home health care workers in Illinois want the court to rule that public sector unions cannot collect fees from workers who object to being affiliated with a union."
Extortion is already illegal as far as i know and these criminal organizations that extort these middle class workers need disbanded and their leaders thrown in jail.


If they don't want to work for a union, they are free to get a job at a non-union agency.


Hey it works for the military on PFT's. Why is anyone else exempted?