Opinions, Opinions

SCOTUS delivered itself of five opinions today as it begins to clear out its end-of-the-term caseload. But none were the Two Big Ones: the marriage equality and Obamacare subsidy cases. That means that on the remaining Mondays and Thursdays of this month and early July, the odds of the Big Ones coming down any particular day will rise.

The decision announced today–a rare one in that Clarence Thomas joined with the Court’s four “liberals” to form a majority–that will probably draw the most attention is Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, which classifies state license tag messages as “government speech” not subject to the usual First Amendment concerns involved in state regulation of speech. Had the Court gone the other way, states would have been put in the position of accepting virtually all “messages,” perhaps threatening the whole vanity tag industry.

In other noteworthy decision, Ohio v. Clark, the Court unanimously held that allowing a teacher to testify on behalf of a three-year-old victim of child abuse did not violate the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront his accuser. A contrary decisions would have led to all kinds of consternation.

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.