Four pieces on the Supreme Court’s final week of its 2018-19 session, in chronological order, with links embedded in each headline. You will see, from my second piece, that my first piece was slightly too optimistic.

 High court may be on verge of reining in bureaucrats (June 24): 

Conservatives may not need to wait long for the Supreme Court to narrow the executive branch’s power to fill in gaps in laws passed by Congress.

Legal eagles among conservatives were only semidisappointed last week when the high court in Gundy v. United States declined there and then to rein in Congress’ habit of delegating major decision-making power to the executive branch. They still have high hopes that the court this week will limit the ability of executive agencies to run too far afield in exercising discretionary authority.

These legal disputes are important. They involve two foundations of American government — the ability of voters to control their government and the ability of citizens to understand the rules governing their behavior while counting on reasonable stability in those rules…..

In battle vs. bureaucracies, John Roberts goes AWOL (June 26): Chief Justice John Roberts today dealt another setback to legal conservatives, to clarity, and to the Constitution. Nonetheless, in the case of Kisor v. Wilkie, conservatives and the Constitution (but not clarity) gained important ground against the administrative state…..

Roberts to conservatives: Go away. Come back. (June 27): 

Chief Justice John Roberts drives conservatives crazy with his habit of split-the-difference jurisprudence. But his final, short paragraph in one opinion today at least gave constitutionalists solid reasons for hope.

Roberts disappointed constitutionalists by refusing to overturn the doctrine known as “Auer deference,” via which courts defer to executive agencies’ interpretations of their own rules. He did signal, however, that he is quite open to re-examining a related doctrine called “Chevron deference,” via which courts defer to the agencies’ interpretation of statutory language passed by Congress.

As explained here earlier this week, the doctrines are similar, but it is possible to distinguish one from the other. Roberts’ paragraph indicates he is willing to do just that….

Trump deserves time to negotiate court’s bad census order (June 27): 

President Trump’s tweets are often so absurd or ignorant as to be embarrassing, but every so often he lucks into a reasonable suggestion. Such is the case with his tweet today saying he wants a delay in the nation’s decennial census until courts can say whether a question about citizenship can be included therein.

The Supreme Court today issued a terrible decision, sending back to lower courts the question of whether the Trump administration’s proposed citizenship question was acceptably motivated. …


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