25 June 2013

Supreme Court final week preview and predictions (June 25 update)

There are 3 remaining cases in the Supreme Court's current term. The last opinions are expected to be handed down on Wednesday morning. Here are the important questions in each case:

Hollingsworth v. Perry: (1) Does Hollingsworth have standing to defend Prop 8? and (2) Does the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibit California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman (it is important to note that the first question was threshold question, meaning it must be decided in the affirmative for the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality question)?

Prediction: A majority of the Court will decide that Hollingsworth does not have standing to defend Prop 8. As a result, the Court will not rule on the merits. Same sex marriage will remain legal in California, but the ruling will be limited and won't apply elsewhere.

United States v. Windsor: (1) Did the federal government's decision not to defend DOMA take away jurisdiction from the Supreme Court to hear the case? and (2) Does the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group have standing to defend DOMA? and 3) Is DOMA unconstitutional by violating the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection?

Prediction: BLAG will have standing, and the Court will strike down DOMA. However, I won't be surprised to see a plurality opinion on the reasoning.

Sekhar v. United States: Does the "recommendation" of an attorney, who is a salaried employee of a governmental agency, in a single instance, constitute intangible property that can be the subject of an extortion attempt under the Hobbs Act?

Prediction: The Court will reverse in a unanimous decision.
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