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Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court Counts Down to the End of the Term

By Jordan Lorence posted on:
October 17, 2017

The Supreme Court usually wraps up its term by the end of June, frequently handing down major cases during its final weeks. This year is no exception. With 19 cases left to come down, the Court will convene at least once, probably twice, a week between now and the end of June to announce decisions. At this time of the year, the justices hand down decisions on Monday mornings, and usually some other day later in the week.

The Court hands down about 2-4, sometimes as many as 5, decisions each time it sits in June. The justices announce the decisions according to “reverse seniority.” That means the least senior justice with an opinion to announce reads a short summary from the bench, explaining what the Court held, and how each justice voted in the case. Then the Court skips to the next lowest justice in seniority with an opinion to announce, then the next one, etc. The Chief Justice, if he has a decision to announce that day, will go last. The Court does not announce in advance which specific decisions it will hand down on any given day.

We at ADF are watching for the decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which was argued March 2. In that case, abortionists challenged laws in Texas requiring the abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, so the abortion doctor can help patients dealing with post-abortion complications. The Texas law also requires abortion facilities to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers.

ADF is also watching to see whether the Supreme Court will grant review in the Stormans case, involving prolife pharmacists challenging a Washington state regulation requiring them to stock abortifacient drugs. The Supreme Court has considered ADF’s petition for it to take the case for the last number of weeks, a sign that at least one or more of the justices is interested in reviewing the case.

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Jordan Lorence

Jordan Lorence

Senior Counsel, Director of Strategic Engagement

Jordan Lorence serves as senior counsel and director of strategic engagement with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he plays a key role with the Strategic Relations and Training Team.


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