The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Predicting SCOTUS Assignments for the November Sitting

Who will write Fulton and the Obamacare case?


During the November sitting, the Supreme Court heard arguments in eight cases. So far, five of them have been decided. Through the process of elimination, we can speculate about who can author the remaining three cases.

Here are the cases already decided:

  1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra ClubNo. 19-547 [Arg: 11.02.20 Trans./Aud.; Decided 3.4.2021]—Barrett
  2. Salinas v. U.S. Railroad Retirement BoardNo. 19-199 [Arg: 11.02.20 Trans./Aud.; Decided 2.3.2021]—Sotomayor
  3. Jones v. MississippiNo. 18-1259 [Arg: 11.03.20 Trans./Aud.; Decided 4.22.2021] – Kavanaugh
  4. Niz-Chavez v. GarlandNo. 19-863 [Arg: 11.09.20 Trans./Aud.; Decided 4.29.2021] – Gorsuch
  5. Brownback v. KingNo. 19-546 [Arg: 11.09.20 Trans./Aud.; Decided 2.25.2021] – Thomas

Here are the remaining undecided cases:

  1. Borden v. U.S.No. 19-5410 [Arg: 11.03.20 Trans./Aud.]
  2. Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaNo. 19-123 [Arg: 11.04.20 Trans./Aud.]
  3. California v. TexasNo. 19-840 [Arg: 11.10.20 Trans./Aud.]

Four Justices have not yet written an opinion for that sitting: Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Breyer, Alito, and Kagan.

My rank speculation. The Chief assigned himself the Obamacare case–he would have it no other way. If the Chief ultimately does not write the majority opinion, he probably lost it. Justice Alito has Fulton. And Justice Breyer or Kagan has Borden, yet another ACCA case.