SCOTUS News, Week of December 18th, 2016

It’s a slow news week. The Supreme Court is in recess for the holidays. We here at the Blog will be as well. But before we kick things over to 2017, here are a few things to munch on.

FantasySCOTUS Updates

The Court has released its first batch of opinions from the fall session. There have been few surprises so far, and the Crowd and the Algorithm are usually in agreement. One recently argued case has some important differences of opinion between the two, however.

Lynch v. Morales-Santana is a case we discussed a while back. In it, the Supreme Court is discussing the rights and protections of foreign-born children of U.S. citizens. The essential question is how much of a burden there is on a foreign-born child of one citizen parent.

The FantasySCOTUS Crowd is a bit uncertain about where Justice Kennedy will fall. No surprise there. Kennedy is usually considered the swing vote. The {Marshall}+ Algorithm, though, seems almost as uncertain about how Justice Kagan will decide. Several things muddy the waters here. First, the respondent, Morales-Santana, was convicted of several crimes in the ’70s, and the government attempted to deport him. The deportation effort failed in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, and Morales-Santana was granted citizenship. The Court must decide the citizenship of people born in certain circumstances, but it must also decide whether the 2nd Circuit erred in granting citizenship to Morales-Santana. There are thus several factors that may weigh on the Justices. The Algorithm may also be attempting to take into account Justice Kagan’s previous tenure in the U.S. Solicitor General’s office.

The Algorithm also has a wildly different opinion on Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Group. Upon closer inspection, however, this variance may be better explained by margin of error. Our digital compatriot is nothing if not cautious.

That’s all until 2017. Happy Holidays to you all! See you in the new year.