Last opinion day

Today was the final day of the Supreme Court session, with decisions on the three remaining cases announced – McGirt, Mazars, and Vance. Lots of news media there even though the decisions were being announced online with no one in the courtroom.

The McGirt decision upheld the Indian Territories in eastern Oklahoma, comprising about half of the state. Gorsuch wrote the 5-4 opinion: “Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word” – ruling that if Congress had never terminated a reservation, then it still exists. This is a potentially transformative victory for Native American rights, after more than a century of disruption and tragedy.

The other two cases were about Trump’s taxes and financial records. For both cases, the opinion remanded the cases back to the lower courts. In Vance, the criminal subpoena in New York, it is very likely that the lower courts will rule that the material needs to be produced. In Mazars, the lower court may or may not rule that the material needs to be produced – the subpoenas are from three different House committees, so the justification from each committee must meet the standards set out in the Court’s opinion.

In most years, there are many protestors outside the Court on the last day of the session, but due to the pandemic this year, there was only one protestor.

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