All Things SCOTUS (Part Three): Ethics Challenges, Review Denials, Oral Arguments, & Voting Rights Decisions

Mar 11, 2023 | 1h 29m |

Beginning the last in a three-arc series focusing special attention on the actions and impacts of our Supreme Court is a brief examination of some of its historical and recent demographics—including the first Justices to diversify representation in the areas of race, gender, religion, and even age. Followed by reporting on the (still unaccomplished) creation and enforcement of a practical, meaningful ethics code for the High Court, the profound need for which is illustrated in recent conflicts challenges for Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts—along with the still-unresolved leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs.

A major review and assessment of four recent instances in which the Court has refused or may decline to review lower court rulings on important issues—including pending challenges to the end of Trump-era Title 42 protocols (prohibiting the entry into the country of asylum-seekers during the pandemic) and to the decision of the North Carolina Supreme Court rejecting racially-gerrymandered maps (and raising the specter of the adoption of the legally and practically bankrupt independent state legislature theory). Additionally including this week’s directive to Arizona courts to review the sentencings of more death row defendants (based on failures to advise jury members of non-capital incarceration options) and a major declination to revisit a lower court finding that plaintiffs have standing to seek remedies for alleged violations of the Establishment Clause, based on the community presentation of a post-shooting vigil by local officials featuring religious prayers and music by police chaplains.

Looking into the immediate future of the High Court, anticipated oral arguments this month on Native American Indian water rights, intellectual property claims to the manufacture of remote controls and toys mimicking the style of a famous whiskey bottle, and alleged false statements by two major grocery stores in connection with their Medicare and Medicaid prescription reportings. Finally, revisiting the two landmark decisions of the Justices in Heller (2008) and Bruen (2022) effectively eviscerating the decades-old mechanisms for remedying discriminatory practices in voting nationwide—along with the legislative “fixes” to both cases that have been and remain available to our country’s elected leaders.

[N.B.: Next week, the broadcast coming live from the Wisconsin Grass Roots Network in south-central Wisconsin, featuring specially an inventory of recent, Wisconsin-centric, justice-related, rule of law events of state-wide importance.]