Big Month At SCOTUS

June 1 marks more than the informal (if three weeks off the formal) beginning of summer for many people. It’s also “decision month” at the U.S. Supreme Court, which is scheduled at present to end its current term on June 30.

Traditionally the blockbuster decisions tend to come at the very end of the term, and the Justices have been known to try to balance “liberal” with “conservative” decisions in close proximity to each other whenever possible. While there are an array of pending decisions on issues ranging from religious liberty (a case involving a woman who claims she was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch because she was wearing a head scarf) to freedom of speech on social media (another case involving threats made via Facebook), the two biggies are King v. Burrell, the challenge to Obamacare purchasing subsidies, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which invites a landmark decision establishing marriage equality as a federal constitutional right.

Whether these two cases wind up representing a liberal or conservative triumph, or a split decision, the odds are very high they’ll come down at the very end of the term. But early each Monday (the day normally reserved for the release of opinions) we’ll hear alarums and reports of an impending decision or of hints as to what will ultimately happen. You might as well get used to scanning SCOTUSblog regularly.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.