HAPPY NEW YEAR | New Year, New SCOTUS? | How The Tides Could Turn In 2019
January 2, 2019
From beginning to end, 2018 was full of headlines about various sexual harassment allegations against well-known federal judges (one of whom is of course now a justice). Just in time for the new year, CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS delivered his year-end report on the federal judiciary which revealed a keen focus on the institution needing to improve how it handles such reports of inappropriate workplace behavior among judges. He said that although he believes progress has been made in protecting law clerks and employees from sexual harassment, cases are still going unreported. Roberts wrote of the long road ahead, “The job is not finished until we have done all that we can to ensure that all of our employees are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.” However, Roberts did not preview any intended changes for the Supreme Court, which isn’t subjected to the same code of conduct as other federal judges, nor did he address what happens to the investigations of misconduct when judges retire or resign.
IT'S A NEW DAWN, IT'S A NEW DAY|
Mark Sherman with The Associated Press reports that those low-key days at the Supreme Court that we’ve gotten used to are about to be a thing of the past. “The next few weeks,” he says, “will test whether the calm can last.” Why? Because on January 4 the justices will meet to consider new cases for arguments this term which include a handful of appeals that concern hot-button issues such as abortion restrictions, workplace discrimination against LBGTQ people, and partisan gerrymandering.
ICYMI, Larry Behrendt explained in The Washington Post why he filed one of the 83 dismissed complaints against BRETT KAVANAUGH. He says he filed the complaint because of the inflammatory comments Kavanaugh made during his confirmation hearing that were aimed at Democrats. Behrendt: “Turns out, there’s a rule against federal judges behaving like this. Congress passed the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act in 1980, and the rules under that act state that it’s misconduct for a federal judge to make ‘inappropriately partisan statements.’ I may be retired, but I think I know an inappropriately partisan statement when I hear one.”
ON THE TRUMP DOCKET|
As of now, at least one case involving the Trump administration is scheduled for Supreme Court review this term — but could that soon change? Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux with FiveThirtyEight considers whether SCOTUS will start fast-tracking cases involving PRESIDENT TRUMP.
In February, justices will hear a case concerning the constitutionality of a giant memorial cross displayed in Maryland. Elliot Mincberg opines on the dispute for The Hill and expresses concern for justices potentially upending decades of First Amendment law in support of the notion that it is legal for government to promote or endorse a religion.