The Volokh Conspiracy

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Recapping Wednesday's Cases, and Predicting the Remaining 8 Cases

Wednesday brought four constitutional law decisions. Several biggies remain.


On Wednesday, the Court decided four cases. Each decision resolved an important question of constitutional law. First Collins v. Yellen held that the structure of the Federal House Finance Agency was unconstitutional. Second, Mahanoy Area School District held that a school could not punish a student for sending "vulgar" snapchat messages. Third, Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid held that California violated the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment by requiring farmers to admit union organizers. Fourth, Lange v. California held that the hot pursuit doctrine does not categorically apply to a fleeing misdemeanant. I have now edited all four cases for the Barnett/Blackman supplement. (Randy and I have added a chapter on constitutional criminal procedure to the Fourth Edition of our casebook.) Please email me if you'd like a copy.

I plan to write more about each case. Here, I'd like to revisit my dismal predictions. I correctly predicted that Justice Alito would write Collins. I whiffed on the other three. I had hoped Justice Kagan would write Mahanoy. She would have brought verve to the topic of student free speech. Alas, generations of principals, teachers, and students will have to suffer from Justice Breyer's staid prose.  I thought Justice Alito or Kavanaugh would write Cedar Point. Wrong. The Chief kept it for himself. In light of his votes in Horne I and II, Roberts is especially strong on the Takings Clause. If there is a vehicle somewhere to overrule Kelo, now is the shot. Finally, I didn't have strong thoughts on Lange. I predicted Sotomayor, but instead we got a Kagan opinion.

We are left with eight cases. The Court will hand down some tomorrow, and probably the rest on Monday, possibly Tuesday.

January Sitting

Only one case is outstanding: Guzman-Chavez. I still don't have a strong prediction here. I'll give this statutory interpretation case to Barrett. She was very active during oral arguments on statutory nuance.

February Sitting

Only one case is outstanding: Brnovich. Because Roberts ended up writing Cedar Point, I am going with Alito or Kavanaugh for Brnovich.

March Sitting

Only one case is outstanding: TransUnion. I'll stay with Kagan for this Rule 23 case.

April Sitting

Justice Breyer wrote the majority in Mahanoy. There are five outstanding cases from that sitting: PennEast (Barrett), Minerva (Kagan), AFP/Thomas More v. Bonta (Roberts), Chehalis (Gorsuch), and HollyFrontier (Barrett).