The Volokh Conspiracy

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SCOTUS Clears Pending Trump Cases Off The Docket

Court grants cases that will become moot, denies review in host of election cases, denies stay in tax-return cases, and slaps down Stormy Daniels's anti-SLAPP suit.


On Monday, the Court issued a lengthy order list. This order purged from the docket many Trump-related cases, and set the stage for other Trump-related cases to fall off the docket.

First, the Court granted certiorari in challenges to Trump Administration's Title X policy and "public charge" rule. Soon enough, the Biden Administration will ask the Court to take these cases off the calendar, since the policies are being reversed. And, in time, the Court will likely vacate the lower-court decisions.

Second, the Court denied review in a handful of election-related cases:

  • Two cases from Pennsylvania raised the independent state legislator doctrine: Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Degraffenreid and Corman v. Pennsylvania Democratic Party. (I will write more about those cases in another post).
  • The Court denied two other cases from Pennsylvania seeking to block the certification of the election: Kelly v. Pennsylvania and Trump v. Boockvar(John Eastman was counsel of record in the latter case).
  • The Court denied review in Trump v. Biden. Here, President Trump challenged the modification of absentee balloting rules in Wisconsin. The Court denied review without even calling for a response.
  • The Court denied review in Wood v. Raffensperger. This case, brought by L. Lin Wood, Jr., challenged the method of evaluating mail-in votes in Georgia. The Court didn't call for a response on this petition.
  • The Court denied review in Ward v. Jackson. This case was brought by Kelli Ward, the chair of the Arizona GOP. She challenged a ruling based on allegations of election fraud. The Court also did not call for a response here.
  • The Court denied review in King v. Whitmer. Sidney Powell brought this suit against the Michigan Governor, raising seven questions presented about voter fraud. The petition states, "Petitioners presented substantial evidence consisting of sworn declarations of dozens of eyewitnesses and of experts identifying statistical anomalies and mathematical impossibilities, as well as a multistate, conspiracy, facilitated by foreign actors, including China and Iran, designed to deprive Petitioners to their rights to a fair and lawful election."

(If I missed any election-related cases, please let me know).

Third, the Court denied a stay in Vance v. Trump. Before the election, President Trump filed a last-ditch effort to get the Supreme Court to block the release of his tax returns to the New York City grand jury. With a one-line order, the Court denied that relief. Co-Blogger Ilya Somin wrote about the order.

Fourth, the Court denied review in Clifford v. Trump. Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, sued Trump for defamation. The lower court held that Trump's statements were hyperbolic, and dismissed the suit under the state anti-SLAPP statute. And yes, the caption actually reads "Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, Petitioner v. Donald J. Trump."

As best as I can tell, the Court held onto a bunch of pending Trump-related cases, and dismissed, or granted-as-a-way-to-dismiss them all at once.

Soon enough, all things Trump will be purged from the Court's docket.