Menu Close

SCOTUS October Term 2023 Decisions

As Of February 22, 2024

The October 2023 Term of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) comes to a close at the end of June. The rulings impact the daily lives of Americans as they are considered the law of the land and binding on all other courts and in all states. To keep our readers well-informed, below are SCOTUS October 2023 term decisions thus far published in our weekly newsletter. Check back for further decisions as the rulings are issued and the term ends. To access the SCOTUS website for more information, please visit https://www.supremecourt.gov.

FBI v Fikre (22-1178)

ISSUE: Whether, after unlawfully placing plaintiff’s identity (a U.S. citizen) on the “No Fly List,” the government’s removal of the plaintiff’s identity from the “No Fly List” renders the issue moot.
RULING: No. “The government failed to meet its burden to demonstrate that Mr. Fikre’s removal from the government’s No Fly List mooted his 42 U. S. C. §1983 case because its declaration did not disclose the conduct that landed Mr. Fikre on the No Fly List and did not ensure that he would not be placed back on the list for engaging in the same or similar conduct in the future.” – The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is affirmed.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-1178_p8k0.pdf

Wilkinson v Garland (22-666)

ISSUE: Whether an immigration judge’s discretionary decision regarding cancellation of removal and adjustment to lawful permanent status is reviewable as a mixed question of law and fact.”
RULING: Yes. The Immigration Judge’s discretionary decision determining eligibility for cancellation of removal is a mixed question of law and fact, reviewable under §1252(a)(2)(D). – The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-666_new_7758.pdf 

O’Connor-Ratcliff v Garnier (22-324)

ISSUE: Whether a public official engages in state action subject to the First Amendment by  blocking an individual from the official’s personal social-media account, when the official uses  the account to feature their job and communicate about job-related matters with the public,  but does not do so pursuant to any governmental authority or duty.
RULING: It depends. Here, the SCOTUS vacated the Ninth Circuit’s judgment and remanded the case in light of Lindke v. Freed, Dkt. No. 22-611. (This decision was published on March 15, 2024, i.e., the same date as Lindke v Freed. See below for the Lindke v Freed ruling.) 
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-324_09m1.pdf

Lindke v Freed (22-611)

ISSUE: Whether a public official’s social media activity can constitute state action. 
RULING: It depends. “A public official who prevents someone from commenting on the official’s social-media page engages in state action only if the official both (1) possessed actual authority to speak on the State’s behalf on a particular matter, and (2) purported to exercise that authority when speaking in the relevant social-media posts.”– The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is vacated and remanded.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-611_ap6c.pdf

Pulsifer v US (22-340)

ISSUE: “Whether the ‘and’ in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)(1) means ‘and,’ so  that a defendant satisfies the provision so long as he does not have (A) more than 4 criminal history points, (B) a 3-point offense, and (C) a 2-point offense; or can a defendant satisfy the provision so long as he does not have (A) more than 4 criminal history points, (B) a 3- point offense, or (C) a 2-point violent  offense.”
RULING: “A criminal defendant facing a mandatory minimum sentence is eligible for safety-valve relief…only if the defendant satisfies each of the provision’s three conditions.” – The judgement out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth is affirmed.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-340_p86a.pdf

Trump v Anderson (23-719)

ISSUE: Whether a state can enforce Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment against federal officeholders and candidates?
RULING: No. “Because the Constitution makes Congress, rather than the states, responsible for enforcing Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment against Federal officeholders and candidates, the Colorado Supreme Court erred in ordering former President Trump excluded from the 2024 Presidential primary ballot.” – The judgment out of the Colorado Supreme Court is reversed.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-429_h315.pdf 

McElrath v Georgia (22-721)

ISSUE: Whether the jury’s verdict that the defendant was not guilty of first degree murder by reason of insanity “constituted an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes.”
RULING: Yes. “[t]he jury’s verdict that the defendant was not guilty by reason of insanity of malice murder constituted an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes notwithstanding any inconsistency with the jury’s other verdicts.”– The judgment out of the Supreme Court of Georgia is reversed, and the case is remanded.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-721_kjfl.pdf

Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co. (22-500)

ISSUE: Whether choice-of-law provisions in maritime contracts are “presumptively enforceable under federal maritime law.”
RULING: Yes. “Choice-of-law provisions in maritime contracts are presumptively enforceable under federal maritime law, with narrow exceptions not applicable in this case.”– The judgment of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals is reversed.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-500_7k47.pdf 

Department of Agriculture Rural Development Rural Housing Service v. Kirtz (22-846)

ISSUE: Whether a consumer may sue a federal agency for violations of the Federal Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996 (FCRA).
RULING: Yes. “A consumer may sue a federal agency under 15 U. S. C. §§1681(n) and 1681(o) for defying the terms of the FCRA.”– The judgement out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is affirmed.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-846_2co3.pdf 

Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC (22-660)

ISSUE: Whether a whistleblower seeking to invoke the protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act must prove “that the employer acted with ‘retaliatory intent’.”
RULING: No. “A whistleblower seeking to invoke the protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act—18 U. S. C. §1514A(a)—must prove that their protected activity was a contributing factor in the employer’s unfavorable personnel action, but need not prove that the employer acted with “retaliatory intent.”– The judgement out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-660_7648.pdf

Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer (22-429)

ISSUE: Whether a voluntary dismissal, with prejudice, by an original plaintiff in a civil action, renders the issue(s) initially brought to the court in a complaint, as moot, and therefore no longer ripe for judgment.
RULING: Yes. Because the respondent, Ms. Laufer, voluntarily dismissed her pending suits under the ADA, the case filed by Ms. Laufer against Acheson is moot.  The Court noted, as follows:  “We emphasize, however, that we might exercise our discretion differently in a future [similarly situated] case.”– The judgement out of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Court of Appeals is vacated, and the case is remanded.
LINK TO OPINION: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/22-429_h315.pdf