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LISTEN: U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments


The United States Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments in five sessions from Monday, November 2 to Tuesday, November 10. You can listen to the live arguments here.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Justice Barrett’s First Case at the Supreme Court

Court is scheduled to convene each day at 10 a.m. ET.

Monday, November 2.

  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club: This case looks at the extent of exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act, namely whether the exemption prevents the required disclosure of “a federal agency’s draft documents that were prepared as part of a formal interagency consultation process under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1536, and that concerned a proposed agency action that was later modified in the consultation process.” (Update: Listen to oral arguments here.)
  • Salinas v. United States Railroad Retirement Board: Manfredo Salinas seeks disability benefits for injuries sustained his work for Union Pacific Railroad. He needed two spinal fusion surgeries, and reported suffering pain and anxiety. According to documents, the board denied his applications for disability, saying his injuries were not bad enough to prevent work, but his health challenges continued for years, even after he left the Union Pacific Railroad in 1994. Now he asks the Supreme Court to determine whether the law allows judicial review of the board’s denial of a request to reopen a previous benefits determination. (Update: Listen to oral arguments here.)

Tuesday, November 3.

  • Jones v. Mississippi: How many steps must a court take before determining if a juvenile should get a life sentence without parole? That is an open question Mississippi, where Brett Jones was convicted for murdering his grandfather Bertis Jones during an argument about the defendant’s girlfriend. He was 15 when the crime happened in 2004, and he was described being from a troubled background, marked by alleged abuse by his father and mental illness. Testimony from a corrections officer showed that Jones sought mental health treatment while in prison, and only had “one significant disciplinary incident” in more than decade behind bars. But Mississippi courts upheld his sentence for life without the possibility of parole, and did not accept or otherwise consider his age or ability to rehabilitate. Now he asks the U.S. Supreme Court whether a court must find a juvenile defendant “permanently incorrigible” before handing down life without parole. (Update: Listen to oral arguments here.)
  • Borden v. United States: How long will Charles Borden stay in prison for a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm? He is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether the Armed Career Criminals Act (which pertains to certain repeat offenders) cover crimes that had a mens rea of “mere recklessness.” Also, Borden wants to court to review if he was over-sentenced under law. (Update: Listen to oral arguments here.)

Wednesday, November 4.

  • Fulton v. City of Philadelphia: This is a case over whether Philadelphia can keep a Catholic child fostering agency (Catholic Social Services) from the city foster-care system because the agency does not place kids with same-sex couples. In the petition, CSS says they were targeted for their religious beliefs: “It is no mystery why Philadelphia has punished CSS. Having worked in harmony with CSS for decades, Philadelphia is shutting down CSS because, it said, it wants to prohibit ‘discrimination that occurs under the guise of religious freedom.’ But well aware that it can’t target religious exercise, Philadelphia started looking for a rationale to justify this predetermined result.” The agency says their stance on marriage has never stopped anyone from fostering, and that “not a single same-sex couple approached CSS about becoming a foster parent between its opening in 1917 and the start of this case in 2018.” (Update: Listen to oral arguments here.)

Monday, November 9.

  • Niz-Chavez v. Barr, Atty Gen.: Agusto Niz-Chavaez left his birth county of Guatemala for the United States after a hostile land dispute resulted in villagers murdering his brother-in-law, and his family facing threats, according to his petition. Documents say he has “no criminal history other than two misdemeanor convictions for driving without a license.” Facing deportation, he seeks to stay in the United States, saying he is the primary breadwinner for his family. He is asking the court to review whether under the law, he spent enough time in the states to qualify for Attorney General William Barr to cancel his removal. (Update: Listen to oral arguments here.)
  • Brownback v. King: The case stems from a fateful confrontation between James King and two law enforcement officers: FBI Special Agent Douglas Brownback and Grand Rapids Police Detective Todd Allen. According to documents, the authorities were looking for Aaron Davison, the suspect in a home invasion, and tracked him to a gas station. That’s where they ran into King. They allegedly believed he might have been their suspect, so they questioned him, and asked for a name and identification. King at first complied with their orders, but things escalated when Allen allegedly removed King’s wallet. “Are you mugging me?” King said before trying to run away, in this account. An arrest ensued; Allen allegedly beat King and put him in a chokehold. King allegedly bit Allen in the arm. Investigators later cleared King as not being their suspect in the home invasion, but he was tried (and later acquitted) for charges related to his encounter with authorities. He sued for how he was treated, and the petitioners–Brownback and Allen–are appealing. (Update: Listen to oral arguments here.)

Tuesday, November 10.

  • California v. Texas has been consolidated with Texas v. California: These cases, which got a lot of attention during Justice Barrett’s confirmation hearings, pertain to the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare). The Trump administration wants the whole law struck down. The court will examine whether the ACA’s individual mandate constitutes a proper use of congressional authority—and, if not, whether the rest of the law can stand without the individual mandate (i.e., severability analysis). (Update: Watch oral arguments here.)

Jerry Lambe and Matt Naham contributed to this report.

[Image via Samuel Corum/Getty Images]

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