If the D.C. Circuit rules for the administration, "there won't be any split and won't be any reason for the [Supreme] Court to get involved in what's really a straightforward statutory interpretation case," said Doug Kendall, the president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, which is helping defend the law in court.
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If it were to take up one or more of these seven cases this term, "the Supreme Court would really be following the country rather than imposing some radical new change," Elizabeth Wydra, a constitutional expert and chief counsel of the Constitutional Accountability Center, told CBS News.
"Religious freedom is ... near and dear to [Chief Justice John Roberts'] heart. It's an area where the Court was quite quiet about it through most of his tenure but has really started to step into that space," [CAC President Doug] Kendall said. "By the end of the term we'll have a much better sense of how strongly Chief Justice Roberts and his colleagues want to push the law in that area."
The court obviously can’t—and shouldn’t—take every case, and perhaps the court had good reasons for not taking these cases (and many others). But the one thing we can know for sure is the court decides not to hear lots of important cases each year, and as a result, justice is underserved for many. Court watchers are quick to criticize the court for the way it decides cases, but the court sometimes deserves criticism for the cases it doesn’t decide, as well.
When the nine justices return, they will meet behind closed doors, after which they will announce the remainder of the cases for 2015, with the coming year a "potential blockbuster," said Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.
"The stakes are incredibly high for Americans and for the legacy of the Roberts court," said Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel of the progressive Constitutional Accountability Center. Moderate-conservative "Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has been a crucial vote on the question of gay rights [in the past], is again expected be a crucial vote in this case."
"California’s new law is an important recognition that corporations should not be allowed to use the law’s coercive power to suppress valuable speech about how businesses serve consumers," says David Gans, civil rights director for the Constitutional Accountability Center. And "our legal system should not permit corporations to retaliate against speech that criticizes their performance."
Beginning this Constitution Day, and continuing through the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment in 2020, we should work together to build a celebration that's worthy of the Second Founding's remarkable constitutional achievements — one that restores the Second Founding Amendments to their rightful place at the center of the American constitutional story.
The full D.C. Circuit's decision to rehear Halbig wasn't political; it was a straightforward application of Federal Appellate Rule 35, which governs when federal appeals courts should rehear cases en banc. According to your editorial, a case is of "exceptional importance" when it involves some "constitutional principle." But that's not what Rule 35 says. The rule provides that a case is of exceptional importance when "the panel decision conflicts with . . . decisions of other . . . Courts of Appeal." That standard was met here because the Fourth Circuit upheld the IRS rule.
Elizabeth Wydra joined appellate powerhouse Kathleen Sullivan as she launched her practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in 2005. But when Wydra heard about the startup of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center in 2008, she jumped at the chance to reclaim the U.S. Constitution as a tool for progressive litigation.
"A Republican Senate would complicate President Obama's ability to fill a Supreme Court vacancy should one occur, and likely hinder him in winning confirmation of his chosen appellate court nominees," said Judith Schaeffer, vice president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a progressive legal advocacy group.
In Utah and Virginia, where lower courts have struck down the state bans, the Supreme Court has blocked couples from marrying as it weighs whether to legalize the unions nationwide. That means "same-sex couples and their families await further court action for full vindication," said Elizabeth Wydra, a lawyer with the Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC).