- The Supreme Court is publishing important decisions before the end of its term.
- The most important decision to come involves the right to abortion.
- Here is a guide on how to follow Supreme Court rulings.
In typical Supreme Court fashion, the nine justices are issuing a series of monumental rulings before their terms are up and they go into recess for the summer.
Each year, the country’s highest court reviews between 70 and 80 cases from a pool of more than 7,000 petitions. The court typically reserves the most high-profile, weighty and politically contentious decisions for the end of the term, with an eye toward a deadline of late June or early July.
Just this week, the court handed down important decisions dealing with religion and weapons. The court’s 6-3 conservative majority, in each of the respective cases, expanded religious freedoms and gun rights.
There are still nine cases for the court to issue an opinion. The biggest of the bunch, and the biggest challenge of this entire blockbuster term, involves abortion rights. The state of Mississippi has asked the Supreme Court to uphold the ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion across the country nearly 50 years ago.
Other significant remaining disputes concern the weather, immigration, and religion.
Here’s how to follow the Supreme Court as it issues its final rulings of the term:
When are these failures expected?
The home page of the Supreme Court website has a calendar that marks the days that opinions are issued. The calendar is frequently updated as the period progresses. The next decision day, according to the calendar, is Friday.
However, the court does not anticipate the cases on which it will issue opinions. That means it’s unknown exactly when these final decisions will be released, but the expectation is before early July.
Where can I find the Supreme Court rulings?
On the day of the decision, the Supreme Court publishes its rulings on its web page entitled “Opinions of the Court”.
Beginning at 10 am ET, court watchers update the site to see the latest Supreme Court ruling posted. SCOTUSblog, an independent law blog run by legal experts, typically hosts a live feed on its website on decision days, posting rulings in near real time along with some expert analysis.
The court issues rulings at 10-minute intervals. But the court does not announce how many rulings it will publish ahead of time. Court watchers have relied on a technique to determine if the court will issue more than one ruling in a day, by looking for the “R” number.
To the left of the ruling is a column titled “R” that lists the chronological number of rulings published that day. When the court issues an opinion without an “R” number, that usually means another opinion is coming. When the “R” number is completed, that is an indication that it is the final decision of the day.
How can I get more information about the case and its ruling?
The Supreme Court website has several pages to find more information about a particular case, its oral arguments, and the legal briefs associated with it.
On the opinion page, Supreme Court rulings are available to download and read in their entirety. An opinion generally consists of three main parts: the syllabus, the majority opinion, and the concurring and dissenting opinions.
The opinion begins with the syllabus, which sets forth the facts of the case and summarizes them.
Then comes the majority opinion, which is the court’s decision in the case. It is written by a judge, whose name appears at the top of the opinion, and that judge provides an explanation of the court’s decision.
After that, there are concurring opinions, which happens when the judges don’t agree on everything. Justices who support the main ruling, but have a different reasoning for their support, usually explain it in a concurring opinion.
At the end of the document are the dissenting opinions. This is an opinion written by a judge who did not support the decision and voted against it. In the opinion, the magistrate explains his disagreement, to which other magistrates can adhere.