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Supreme Court Update: Bostock v. Clayton County, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, Trump v. NAACP, New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. City of New York, Espinoza v. Montana Dep’t of Revenue, June Medical Services v. Gee

Greetings, Court Fans!

It’s the first Monday of October, so we’re back with our first installment for OT19. While OT18 ended on something of a bang (census, partisan-gerrymandering . . . you remember), OT19 looks to be a blockbuster term right out of the gate, with arguments tomorrow on two of the most anticipated cases of the term, Bostock v. Clayton County (No. 17-1618), on whether discrimination against an employee on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited discrimination “because of . . . sex” within the meaning of Title VII, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC (No. 18-107), asking the same question with respect to discrimination against transgendered people.

Bostock and Harris Funeral Homes are just two of several potential blockbusters already on the docket for OT19. In addition, the Court has already agreed to take up the hot-button issues of immigration (in Trump v. NAACP (No. 18-588), addressing the Trump Administration’s decision to wind down the DACA and DAPA programs); Second Amendment rights (in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. City of New York (No. 18-280), addressing a since amended New York City ban on transporting handguns outside city limits); the religion clauses (in Espinoza v. Montana Dep’t of Revenue (No. 18-1195), addressing the constitutionality of state laws prohibiting generally available and religiously neutral student aid programs from being made available to students attending parochial schools); and—the hottest button of them all—abortion (in June Medical Services v. Gee (No. 18-1323), addressing whether a Louisiana law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital violates the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016)). Given the fact that this will be the first time the Court has taken up abortion since Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were appointed, June Medical was certainly the most high-profile grant coming out of last week’s “long conference” (at which The Nine consider all the cert petitions that have piled up over the summer). The other cases to emerge from the pile are: United States v. Sineneng-Smith (No. 19-67), asking whether the federal criminal prohibition against encouraging or inducing illegal immigration for commercial advantage or private financial gain is facially unconstitutional; and United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Ass’n (No. 18-1584) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC v. Cowpasture River Preservation Ass’n (No. 18-1587), consolidated cases asking whether the Forestry Service has authority under the Mineral Leasing Act and National Trails System Act to grant rights-of-way through national-forest lands that the Appalachian Trail traverses.

Meanwhile, in today’s Orders list, along with about 1,000 cert denials, the Court denied a motion to dismiss the New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n case as moot. As noted, the ordinance at issue, in that case, was amended in July and the City argued that the Court should now dismiss the case because it presents no live case or controversy. The petitioners who’ve challenged the ordinance argued vehemently that the Court should retain jurisdiction because the City could reinstate the previous ordinance at any moment and, even as modified, the law still impact their Second Amendment rights. The Court in its order today denied the motion to dismiss, but instructed the parties to be prepared to address the question of mootness at oral argument in December.

In short: it looks to be an exciting term (even if the Chief doesn’t have to preside over an impeachment trial). We look forward to sharing it with you.

© 1998-2020 Wiggin and Dana LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 282


About this Author

Tadhg Dooley Appelate Attorney Wiggin Dana New Haven, CT

Tadhg is a Partner in the firm’s Litigation Department, where his practice focuses on appellate and complex civil litigation. He has extensive experience handling appeals in state and federal courts throughout the country and has obtained favorable results for a diverse range of clients, from federal prisoners to foreign presidents, big companies to small towns. Among other recent successes, Tadhg helped a municipality overturn a $6.8 million verdict in the Connecticut Appellate Court, and helped a dental practice overturn a $3.7 million verdict in the Georgia Supreme Court. Tadhg has also...

David Roth Litigation lawyer Wiggin Dana

David is an Associate in Wiggin and Dana’s Litigation Department and a member of the firm’s Appellate, Art and Museum Law, and Intellectual Property Litigation practice groups. He has assisted insurers, universities, large companies, cultural institutions, and sovereign nations in a variety of complex civil litigation and appeals. Representative matters include trademark, copyright, and patent cases; insurance class-actions; art-ownership disputes; and high-stakes business litigation. David has also represented private individuals and companies in several criminal matters and internal investigations.

David received his J.D. from the Yale Law School, where he was a Notes Editor for the Yale Law Journal. He earned an M.A. in Classics from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in Classics from the University of Oregon.

Before joining the firm, David held a clerkship with Judge Christopher Droney of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.