U.S. Supreme Court Wraps Up Term With Decisions in Highly Anticipated Cases

This week marked the end of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018–2019 term, and, as is typical for this last week, the Court issued some highly anticipated (and some highly divisive) decisions.

Among them were:

  • Iancu v. Brunetti – A case in which the Court held that the Lanham Act’s prohibition on the federal registration of “immoral” or “scandalous” marks, in Section 2(a), violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
  • Kisor v. Wilkie – A case in which a divided Court declined to overrule Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997), and Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., 325 U.S. 410 (1945), which direct courts to defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of its own ambiguous regulation.
  • Lamone v. Benisek and Rucho v. Common Cause – Two cases in which the Court issued a single opinion holding that partisan gerrymandering claims are not justiciable because they present a political question beyond the reach of the federal courts.
  • Department of Commerce v. New York – A case in which a divided Court held that the Secretary of Commerce did not violate the Enumeration Clause or the Census Act in deciding to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire, but the district court was warranted in remanding the case to the agency where the evidence tells a story that does not match the Secretary’s explanation for his decision.

The Court also granted review in a handful of cases for its 2019–2020 term, including one in which the Court is asked to resolve a challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to end the program known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or “DACA.” This was one of 13 cases in which the Court granted review on this last day of the term, bringing the total number of cases to be decided next term to 49. Based on recent terms, that may amount to over half of all the cases the Court will review next year.