We continue our discussion highlighting the biggest cases being seen by the Supreme Court this year; the controversial issues being debated, and why Supreme Court litigator and SCOTUSblog cofounder Tom Goldstein thinks:
“We may be talking about this term for many more terms to come.”
In the second of a two-part Supreme Court 2020 Preview webinar series, Goldstein and partner Kevin Russell of Goldstein & Russell, PC, joined Casetext’s Laura Safdie to shed light on the current term’s most potentially political cases yet.
With topics covering President Donald Trump’s tax returns, religious school funding, the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and faithless electors in the 2020 presidential race; this discussion is not to be missed.
See below for options to watch, listen to, or read the conversation…
No Avoiding ‘Hot Button’ Issues in 2020
Conservative justices at the Supreme Court now outnumber progressives five to four. Division along political lines has been anticipated; nonetheless, 2020 is off to a surprisingly subdued start, and the business at the court has moved forward with a measure of unanimity.
But that may be about to change.
“In recent terms—particularly last term, the court has…shied away from a lot of the big hot button issues,” says Goldstein, “But this term…it has stepped much more into the thick of things.”
Now that the court has chosen to tackle some more politically charged cases, Goldstein says, “the big question is how rigid do the blocks on the court become, or how much of a flexible dynamic is there?”
United States Supreme Court 2020 Preview—Part Two Highlights
On Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, regarding religious school funding, Russell says the case is “a good example of a revival of interest in religious freedom…about the extent to which that allows religious institutions and religious folks to get an exception to otherwise generally applicable laws…”
On Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); whether the structure of an independent agency led by a single director violates the separation of powers; Goldstein notes; “The CFPB case’s potential is massive. (It) sets the table potentially for a broader reassessment of the constitutionality of independent agencies to begin with, and whether it is that we have a real sense of what’s called unitary executive, and…there isn’t independence.”
On a series of cases related to presidential subpoenas, Goldstein says President Donald Trump “has managed very successfully…to hold up enforcement of these subpoenas for a long time. Even if the subpoenas do go out and are complied with in July, it’s not clear that there would be any effect at that point on the election…”
Finally, two cases challenging state attempts to remove or fine ‘faithless electors’—Electoral College delegates who fail to follow the results of their state’s popular vote—have the potential to upend how presidents are elected, but Russell says, “I think that if they simply say…it’s fine, you can make them keep their promises so that the popular election means something, it’s not going to be viewed as the court being particularly political, which I think is what they’re going to do.”
How to Watch/ Listen/Read
Watch: If you want to watch the recording of Part Two of our SCOTUSblog 2020 Supreme Court Preview webinar, click this link and sign up. (For Part One, click here.)
Listen: The folks at SCOTUSblog will also be posting the audio of Part Two on their podcast here. (Part One can be found here.)
Read: We’ll share the webinar transcript with anyone who signs up to watch the video.
Register for Casetext’s CLE program: Need CLE credit? Interested in improving your legal research skills? Please join us for our Advanced Legal Research webinar program, which is free to all Casetext customers.