Monday, November 7, 2016

April ALA Speaker Erwin Chemerinsky Discusses Impact of Only Eight Supreme Court Justices

By Josh Wolff
Research Attorney, Illinois Appellate Court, First District

The Association’s April 2017 luncheon will feature Erwin Chemerinsky, the renowned legal scholar and dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Chemerinsky recently wrote an article for the ABA Journal discussing how the United State’s Supreme Court’s lack of a ninth justice has affected its docket.
Chemerinsky observed that, at the end of the Court’s first month, its docket only had 39 cases, which was “significantly fewer than usual for this point of the term.” In addition to the smaller docket, Chemerinsky noted that the effect of only eight justices could be seen by looking at the Court’s December schedule for oral argument. “Four of the six days that the court is hearing arguments, the justices will hear only one case, rather than the two, or occasionally three, cases usually heard per day.”
Chemerinsky also believed that the Court is waiting for the appointment of a ninth justice for some cases that were granted review last January and have already been fully briefed, but remain without a date for oral argument. Those cases include: Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia,Missouri v. Pauley, which “concerns whether it violates free exercise of religion or denies equal protection for a state to give aid (the material for the bottom of playgrounds) to public and secular private schools, but not to religious schools”; Wisconsin v. Murr, which concerns “the takings clause and how it is determined whether adjacent pieces of property should be deemed to be one or two pieces of property”; and Microsoft v. Baker, which concerns “whether plaintiffs can appeal the denial of class certification by dismissing their suit.”
The full article can be accessed here.
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