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Listen: Supreme Court Airs Live Audio of Oral Arguments for First Time Ever


For the first time ever, the United States Supreme Court is airing live audio of oral arguments. The high court has published files before, but that’s been on a week-long delay. Of course, the live broadcast is not the only unusual thing happening. Justices and the lawyers involved will be teleconferencing instead of showing up to court due to the pandemic. Court is set to begin at 10 a.m.

Monday, May 4

Patent & Trademark v. B.V.: The petitioners at the patent office ask if adding a “generic top-level domain” (e.g., .com) to an otherwise generic term can result in a trademark.

Tuesday, May 5

USAID v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.: Petitioners with the United States Agency for International Development ask the court to review the scope of whether Congress can make federal funds to fight HIV and AIDS contingent on whether an organization has an explicit policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking. The court already determined that the First Amendment prohibits this contingency against U.S.-based organizations. Now petitioners want to know if that extended to foreign, overseas entity that are affiliated with the American groups.

Wednesday, May 6

Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania is consolidated with Trump v. Pennsylvania: In Little Sisters of the Poor, petitioners request that the court consider whether certain litigants lack standing to appeal to “a decision invalidating the rule if the litigant is
also protected by an injunction from a different court”; and whether the federal government legally exempted religious objectors from having to provide health plans that include contraceptive coverage under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Trump v. Pennsylvania concerns similar questions on whether agencies had legal authority to “expand the conscience exemption to the contraceptive-coverage mandate”; whether agencies improperly sidestepped public comment on administrative rules; and whether a court of appeals incorrectly decided in affirming a preliminary injunction on the final rules.

Barr, Atty Gen. v. American Assn. of Political Consultants, Inc: This one concerns the fate of part of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. It gave the government an exception in using automatic telephone dialing systems or an artification or prerecorded voice to collect on debts. Petitioner’s now ask, “Whether the government-debt exception to the TCPA’s automated-call restriction violates the First Amendment, and whether the proper remedy for any constitutional violation is to sever the exception from the remainder of the statute.”

Monday, May 11

McGirt v. Oklahoma: The petitioner is Jimcy McGirt, a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation who was convicted of sexually abusing a child by Oklahoma State, but within the Creek Nation. He’s suggesting that the prosecution was under federal, not state, authority.

Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey-Berru is consolidated with St. James School v. Biel: In both Lady and St. James, the court is asked if the First Amendment stops civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims in which a plaintiff employee “carried out important religious functions” for a defendant religious employer.

Tuesday, May 12

Trump v. Mazars is consolidated with Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG: In these cases, the justices are asked to consider if Congress can subpoena President Donald Trump’s accountant, creditors, and businesses for private financial records.

Trump v. Vance: Justices are asked if it violates presidential and federal power for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to subpoena Trump’s financial records.

Wednesday, May 13

Chiafalo v. Washington: Petitioners ask if states really do have the power to decide how a “faithless elector” can vote in a presidential election. They also ask if it violates the First Amendment for states to punish electors for using their “constitutional discretion” on voting.

Colorado Dept. of State v. Baca: This one echoes Chiafalo. Justices are asked to determine if an elector in the Electoral College can sue their state if it stops them from casting a ballot that violates state law. The court is also asked if Article II or the 12 Amendment stop a state from making its presidential electors follow the state’s popular vote when casting an electoral college ballot.

[Featured post image via U.S. Supreme Court]

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