Big Case Reviews

Below is a list of big cases for which I have written an in-depth analysis. This list will be updated whenever I publish a new in-depth analysis following a major decision from the Court.


October Term 2020
  • Trump v. Vance
    • Case concerns: New York subpoena for President Trump’s tax records; presidential immunity.
    • Questions presented:
      1. Whether a sitting president enjoys absolute immunity from state criminal process.
      2. If not, whether a state prosecutor must show a “heightened need” for subpoenaing a sitting president’s personal documents.
    • Held:
      • No and no. 7:2, Chief Justice Roberts (joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan; and Gorsuch and Kavanaugh in concurrence).
    • Concurrence: Kavanaugh; dissents: Thomas and Alito.
  • Chiafalo v. Washington
    • Case concerns: Electoral College; Washington state law imposing fines on “faithless electors.”
    • Question presented:
      • Whether state laws requiring members of the electoral college to vote according to the electors’ pledges are unconstitutional.
    • Held:
      • No. 9:0, Justice Kagan (joined by Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kavanaugh).
      • Concurrence: Thomas (in judgment).
  • Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue
    • Case concerns: Free Exercise Clause; Montana scholarship program.
    • Question presented:
      • Whether Montana violated the Free Exercise Clause by striking down a scholarship program on the ground that it affords scholarship winners the choice of going to a parochial school.
    • Held:
      • Yes. 5:4, Chief Justice Roberts (joined by Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh).
    • Concurrences: Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch; dissents: Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.
  • June Medical Services v. Russo
    • Case concerns: Abortion, Louisiana Act 620; stare decisis.
    • Questions presented:
      1. Whether abortion doctors have standing to sue on behalf of their patients.
      2. Whether Louisiana’s Act 620, which imposes an admitting-privileges requirement on abortion doctors in the state, must be struck down as unconstitutional under Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016).
    • Held:
      • Yes and yes. 5:4, Justice Breyer (joined by Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan; and Roberts in concurrence).
    • Concurrence: Roberts (in judgment); dissents: Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh.
  • Bostock v. Clayton County
    • Case concerns: 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title VII; LGBTQ/transgender rights.
    • Question presented:
      • Whether Title VII’s protection against employment discrimination on the basis of “sex” extends to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
    • Held:
      • Yes. 6:3, Justice Gorsuch (joined by Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan).
    • Dissents: Alito, Kavanaugh.
  • DHS v. University of California
    • Case concerns: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; administrative law.
    • Questions presented:
      1. Whether the Secretary of Homeland Security’s decision to rescind DACA is reviewable.
      2. Whether the manner in which the Secretary attempted to rescind DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act.
    • Held:
      1. Yes. 9:0, Chief Justice Roberts (unanimous).
      2. Yes. 5:4, Chief Justice Roberts (joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan).
    • Concurrence: Sotomayor (in part and in judgment), Thomas (in judgment), Alito (in judgment in part), Kavanaugh (in judgment in part); dissents: Sotomayor (in part), Thomas (in part), Alito (in part), Kavanaugh (in part).
  • New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. City of New York
    • Case concerns: Second Amendment; mootness.
    • Questions presented:
      1. Whether the case is moot.
      2. If not, whether New York City’s ordinance banning the transportation of guns to and from the city violates the Second Amendment.
    • Held:
      1. Yes. 6:3, per curiam (Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Kavanaugh).
      2. N/A.
    • Concurrence: Kavanaugh; dissent: Alito.
  • Ramos v. Louisiana
    • Case concerns: Sixth Amendment; unanimous juries; incorporation doctrine.
    • Question presented:
      • Whether the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a unanimous jury is incorporated against the states.
    • Held:
      • Yes, and Apodaca v. Oregon (1972) is overruled. 5:4, Justice Gorsuch (joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kavanaugh).
    • Concurrences: Sotomayor, Kavanaugh (in part), Thomas (in judgment); dissent: Alito.
  • Allen v. Cooper
    • Case concerns: 1990 Copyright Remedy and Clarification Act; state sovereign immunity.
    • Question presented:
      • Whether the CRCA validly abrogated state sovereign immunity.
    • Held:
      • No. 7:2, Justice Kagan (joined by Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh).
    • Concurrences: Thomas (in part and in judgment), Breyer (in judgment).
October Term 2019
  • Rucho v. Common Cause
    • Case concerns: partisan gerrymandering; political question doctrine.
    • Question presented:
      • Whether claims alleging excessive partisan gerrymandering are justiciable.
    • Held:
      • No. 5:4, Chief Justice Roberts (joined by Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh).
    • Dissent: Kagan.
  • Department of Commerce v. New York
    • Case concerns: 2020 Census; administrative law.
    • Questions presented:
      1. Whether the Enumeration Clause permits the addition of a citizenship question to a decennial census.
      2. Whether the manner in which the Secretary of Commerce attempted to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census violated the Administrative Procedure Act.
    • Held:
      1. Yes. 5:4, Chief Justice Roberts (joined by Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh).
      2. Yes. 5:4, Chief Justice Roberts (joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan).
    • Concurrences: Thomas (in part), Ginsburg (in part), Alito (in part); dissents: Thomas (in part), Ginsburg (in part), Alito (in part).
  • American Legion v. American Humanist Assn.
    • Case concerns: Establishment Clause; crosses on public land.
    • Question presented:
      • Whether a Maryland cross situated on public land violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
    • Held:
      • No. 7:2, Justice Alito (joined by Roberts, Breyer, Kagan, and Kavanaugh; Thomas and Gorsuch agreed on standing grounds).
    • Concurrences: Breyer, Kavanaugh, Kagan (in part), Thomas (in judgment), Gorsuch (in judgment); dissent: Ginsburg.
  • Gamble v. United States
    • Case concerns: Fifth Amendment; double jeopardy.
    • Question presented:
      • Whether Heath v. Alabama (1985), which created the “dual-sovereignty” exception to the Double Jeopardy Clause, should be overruled.
    • Held:
      • No. 7:2, Justice Alito (joined by Roberts, Thomas, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Kavanaugh).
    • Concurrence: Thomas; dissents: Ginsburg and Gorsuch.
  • Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt
    • Case concerns: Eleventh Amendment; state sovereign immunity.
    • Question presented:
      • Whether Nevada v. Hall (1979), which allows parties to sue a state in another state’s courts, should be overruled.
    • Held:
      • Yes. 5:4, Justice Thomas (joined by Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh).
    • Dissent: Breyer.
October Term 2018
  • Trump v. Hawaii
    • Case concerns: Immigration law; Presidential Proclamation No. 9465, suspending entry of certain aliens from Muslim-majority nations into the U.S.
    • Questions presented:
      1. Whether President Trump has the authority under current immigration law to issue Proclamation No. 9465.
      2. Whether Proclamation No. 9465 violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
    • Held:
      1. Yes. 5:4, Chief Justice Roberts (joined by Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch).
      2. No. 5:4, Chief Justice Roberts (same).
    • Concurrences: Kennedy and Thomas; dissents: Breyer and Sotomayor.
  • Nat’l Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra
    • Case concerns: Free Speech Clause; California’s Reproductive “FACT” Act of 2015.
    • Question presented:
      • Whether the FACT Act compels speech in violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
    • Held:
      • Yes. 5:4, Justice Thomas (joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, and Gorsuch).
    • Concurrence: Kennedy; dissent: Breyer.