Supreme Court Updates: Court in Recess Until October

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Ketanji Brown Jackson Sworn In to SupremeCourt
In this handout provided by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. (R) looks on as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson signs the Oaths of Office in the Justices' Conference Room at the Supreme Court on June 30, 2022 in Washington, DC. Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Getty Image

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Court in Recess Until October

Chief Justice John Roberts formally recognized the end of the Supreme Court's current session in a Thursday statement.

"I am authorized to announce that the Court has acted upon all cases submitted to the Court for decision this Term," Roberts said.

His statement followed the court's final two rulings of the term, which were announced Thursday morning. The court's final day before its summer session also marked the retirement of Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who has served on the court since 1994, and the swearing-in of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, whose nomination to the court was confirmed by the Senate in April.

The Chief Justice said the court's summer recess begins Thursday and will last until the first Monday in October. At that time, the session that began in October 2021 will officially end, and the new October 2022 term will start.

"On behalf of all the Justices, I would like to thank the Supreme Court employees for their outstanding work and dedication to their important responsibilities this Term," Roberts' statement said. "I thank the members of the Court's bar as well for their professionalism and cooperation."

Over 180 People Arrested at Abortion Rights Protest

As the Supreme Court ended its term Thursday, a large protest took place right outside.

Abortions rights activists marched on Capitol Hill with banners and signs in the wake of the Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health that overturned the landmark abortions case Roe v. Wade.

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While the protest remained peaceful, some U.S. Capitol Police officers had to remove demonstrators who were blocking the street near the Supreme Court.

The Capitol Police issued a traffic advisory was sent out this afternoon to warn commuters about the road blockage.

Abortion Rights Activists Sit In
Abortion Activist Capitol Police
Activists and Capitol Police
Capitol Police and Activists

"We have already given our third and final warning. We are now making arrests for anyone who is illegally blocking the intersection," Capitol Police tweeted.

Capitol Police said they arrested 181 people on charges of "crowding, obstructing or incommoding" for blocking the intersection of Constitution Avenue and First Street.

Democratic Representative Judy Chu of California was among those detained by police.

Rep. Judy Chu Abortion Rights
U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) is detained by U.S. Capitol Police as she is removed with abortion rights activists as they protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the last day of their term on June 30, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health case overturned the 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erased federal protection for abortion. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Florida Judge Blocks 15 Week Abortion Ban

A Florida judge ruled that a trigger law banning abortions at 15 weeks was unconstitutional Thursday.

Second Judicial Circuit Court Judge John Cooper said the law "violates the privacy provision of the Florida Constitution."

He issued a temporary statewide injunction that will go into effect once he signs a written order brough to the court by Florida abortion providers.

The law that was set to go into effect Friday allows for exceptions if the pregnancy is a serious risk to the mother or a fatal fetal abnormality is detected if two physicians confirm the diagnosis in writing. It does not allow for exemptions in cases where pregnancies were caused by rape, incest or human trafficking.

The current law in Florida allows for abortions up to 24 weeks.

Governor Ron DeSantis said the Florida Supreme Court previously misinterpreted Florida's right to privacy as including a right to abortion.

"We reject this interpretation because the Florida Constitution does not include, and has never included, a right to kill an innocent unborn child," his office said in a statement.

DeSantis said he will appeal the ruling and ask the Florida Supreme Court to reverse its existing precedent regarding Florida's right to privacy.

"The struggle for life is not over," he added.

Greg Abbott Criticizes 'Remain in Mexico' Ruling

Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement Thursday criticizing the Supreme Court's ruling in Biden v. Texas.

The ruling, which was announced Thursday morning, allows President Joe Biden's administration to end the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy. The policy had required some migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico for their asylum cases.

Abbott, a Republican, has supported the MPP and other efforts to limit illegal border crossings.

The Supreme Court's Thursday decision "will only EMBOLDEN Biden's open border policies," Abbott said.

The governor's statement then referenced a recent incident in San Antonio where more than 50 migrants were found dead inside a trailer.

Those migrants "were allowed to cross our border illegally because of President Biden's policies," Abbott said. "Reinstating and fully enforcing Remain-in-Mexico would deter thousands more migrants from making that deadly trek, and President Biden should take that simple step to secure the border because it is the only humane thing to do."

The MPP first went into effect under former President Donald Trump in 2019. Upon taking office last year, Biden said he intended to end the policy. His administration moved to do so in June 2021 but then faced legal challenges from Texas and Missouri. The Supreme Court's Thursday ruling allows the Biden administration to move forward with terminating the policy.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling, Abbott said his state "will continue to step up to secure our border in the federal government's absence."

Biden Calls EPA Decision 'Devastating'

President Joe Biden called the Supreme Court ruling to limit the Environmental Protection Agency's authority another "devastating decision."

"The Supreme Court's ruling in West Virginia vs. EPA is another devastating decision that aims to take our country backwards," he said in a statement Thursday.

"While this decision risks damaging our nation's ability to keep our air clean and combat climate change, I will not relent in using my lawful authorities to protect public health and tackle the climate crisis."

Biden said he directed the Justice Department to review the decision and find ways to "continue protecting Americans from harmful pollution, including pollution that causes climate change" under federal law.

He condemned the Court's decision to side with "special interests that have waged a long-term campaign to strip away our right to breathe clean air."

"We cannot and will not ignore the danger to public health and existential threat the climate crisis poses," Biden said. "The science confirms what we all see with our own eyes – the wildfires, droughts, extreme heat, and intense storms are endangering our lives and livelihoods."

The President said his administration will continue to use executive authority, including the power of the EPA, to keep air clean, protect public health and tackle climate change. This includes working with take and local governments and pushing Congress to take additional action.

"Together, we will tackle environmental injustice, create good-paying jobs and lower costs for families building the clean energy economy," he added. "Our fight against climate change must carry forward, and it will."

Biden EPA
US President Joe Biden gestures as he addresses media representatives during a press conference at the NATO summit at the Ifema congress centre in Madrid, on June 30, 2022 BRENDIAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Biden Calls for a Filibuster 'Exception' to Codify Roe

President Joe Biden called for an exception to the filibuster in order to codify abortion rights into law.

While speaking at a press conference at the NATO Summit in Spain, Biden called the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade "outrageous."

He said the decision has a profound impact not only on a woman's right to choose, but on privacy rights in general.

"The most important thing to be clear about is... we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law and the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that," he said.

If the filibuster gets in the way, as it did for voting rights legislation, Biden said an exception should be made.

Vice President Kamala Harris echoed this call, tweeting that the Senate needs to make an exception to the filibuster in order to codify Roe.

While Biden said American is "better positioned to lead the world than we ever have been," in terms on the economy, he told one reporter there is one issue that has set the country back.

"The one thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States on overruling not only Roe v. Wade, but essentially challenging the right to privacy," he said.

He said the United States has been a leader in the world in personal and privacy rights.

"It is a mistake, in my view, for the Supreme court to do what it did," he added.

What Ketanji Brown Jackson Has Said About Roe v. Wade

Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was sworn in Thursday as the Supreme Court's newest associate justice, was questioned this spring about her position on the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade and its 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey during her confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Nominated judges going through the confirmation process have often been asked about the abortion rulings, both of which were overturned last week with the court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

During Jackson's confirmation hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California asked if Jackson shared Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh's opinion that the 1973 abortion ruling was "settled precedent" and if she would "commit to obey all the rules of stare decisis in cases related to the issue of abortion," as Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett did during her confirmation hearings in 2020.

"I do agree with both Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Barrett on this issue," Jackson responded. "Roe and Casey are the settled law of the Supreme Court concerning the right to terminate a woman's pregnancy."

Jackson added that the earlier cases "established a framework that the court has reaffirmed and in order to revisit, as Justice Barrett said, the Supreme Court looks at various factors because stare decisis is a very important principle. It provides and establishes predictability, stability."

Feinstein later asked Jackson if she considered the Roe v. Wade decision to be a "super-precedent."

Jackson told Feinstein that "all Supreme Court cases are precedential" but noted Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey "have been reaffirmed by the court and have been relied upon and reliance is one of the factors that the court considers when it seeks to revisit or when it's asked to revisit a precedent."

"And in all cases, those precedents of the Supreme Court would have to be reviewed pursuant to those factors because stare decisis is very important," Jackson added.

Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 23, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Breyer 'Glad for America' As Jackson Is Sworn In

Retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer said he is "glad for America" in a statement congratulating Ketanji Brown Jackson on becoming the Supreme Court's newest Associate Justice.

"I am glad today for Ketanji. Her hard work, integrity, and intelligence have earned her a place on this Court," Breyer said in a statement obtained by CNN.

Breyer said he was also "glad" for the other Justices on the court, who now "gain a colleague who is empathetic, thoughtful, and collegial."

"I am glad for America," Breyer's statement continued. "Ketanji will interpret the law wisely and fairly, helping that law to work better for the American people, whom it serves."

Breyer ended his statement by congratulating Jackson on her new role.

"Congratulations Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson," he said.

Breyer said Wednesday his retirement plans, which he announced earlier this year, would go into effect on Thursday after the court released its final rulings before the summer recess.

Breyer then participated in Jackson's swearing-in ceremony, which started shortly after noon on Thursday. He led Jackson in reciting the Judicial Oath during the brief ceremony in the Supreme Court Building's West Conference Room.

Ketanji Brown Jackson Thanks Mentor Justice Breyer

Newly-sworn in Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson issued a statement after taking her oath of office Thursday.

"With a full heart, I accept the solemn responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States and administering justice without fear or favor, so help me God," she said. "I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great Nation."

Jackson thanked her new colleagues on the Court for their "warm and gracious welcome." She also especially thanked Chief Justice John Roberts and her mentor Justice Stephen Breyer, who she will replace on the Court.

"Justice Breyer has been a personal friend and mentor of mine for the past two decades, in addition to being part of today's official act," Jackson said.

"In the wake of his exemplary service, with the support of my family and friends, and ever mindful of the duty to promote the Rule of Law, I am well-positioned to serve the American people," she added.

Ketanji Brown Jackson Sworn In as Justice
In this image from video provided by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts administers the Constitutional Oath to Ketanji Brown Jackson as her husband Patrick Jackson holds the Bible at the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, June 30, 2022. Supreme Court via AP

WATCH: Family Joins Ketanji Brown Jackson As She Is Sworn In

Ketanji Brown Jackson was joined Thursday by her husband and two daughters as she was sworn in as the Supreme Court's newest Associate Justice.

The ceremony, which lasted less than four minutes, started shortly after 12 p.m. in the Supreme Court Building's West Conference Room.

Chief Justice John Roberts opened the ceremony by recognizing that Jackson's husband, Dr. Patrick Jackson, and daughters Talia and Leila were both in attendance.

Roberts then administered the Constitutional Oath, after which retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer administered the Judicial Oath. Jackson's husband stood by her side throughout the ceremony, smiling as he held the Bible that was used to swear her in.

Roberts led Jackson in the first oath: "I, Ketanji Brown Jackson, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

Breyer led Jackson in the second oath: "I, Ketanji Brown Jackson, do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States."

Ketanji Brown Jackson Makes History on Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson was just sworn in as the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

She took two oaths; the Constitutional oath given by Chief Justice John Roberts and the Judicial oath given by retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

Jackson is the 116th Supreme Court Justice and joins Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Amy Coney Barrett as the fourth woman currently serving on the Court.

The Court remains a conservative majority, with a 6-3 split among conservative and liberal Justices.

Justice Breyer to Officially Retire at Noon

Justice Stephen Breyer officially announced that will retire from the Supreme Court on Thursday, after the Court released its final ruling of the term.

He sent a letter to President Joe Biden Wednesday stating that his retirement will be official Thursday, June 30 at noon.

Breyer announced his intention to retire in late January after nearly three decades on the Court. His seat will be filled by his former law clerk Ketanji Brown Jackson. After she was confirmed by the Senate in April, Jackson will be the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

At 83, Breyer is the oldest Justice currently serving on the court. He was nominated by former President Bill Clinton in May of 1994 and he began serving on the court later that year.

"It has been my great honor to participate as a judge in the effort to maintain our Constitution and the Rule of Law," Breyer wrote.

The Supreme Court will be in recess until Monday, October 3, 2022.

Justice Breyer
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer joins other justices of the U.S. Supreme Court for an official group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, June 1, 2017. Breyer was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994. Breyer said in a letter to President Joe Biden that his retirement will take effect on Thursday, June 30, 2022, at noon, after nearly 28 years on the nation’s highest court. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Ketanji Brown Jackson to Be Sworn in Soon

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn in as the Supreme Court's newest associate justice at noon on Thursday.

Once she is sworn in, Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the court.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in his office on Capitol Hill on April 5, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Supreme Court announced plans for her swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, shortly after Associate Justice Stephen Breyer said his impending retirement would take effect at noon on Thursday. President Joe Biden nominated Jackson to fill Breyer's seat earlier this year, and the U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination in April.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Breyer will both participate in Jackson's swearing-in ceremony. Roberts will "administer the Constitutional Oath" and Breyer will "administer the Judicial Oath," according to a Wednesday press release. The ceremony will take place in the West Conference Room of the Supreme Court Building.

A "small gathering" of Jackson's family members will be in attendance, the court said, adding that a "formal investiture ceremony will take place at a special sitting of the Court in the Courtroom at a later date."

The Supreme Court will stream the ceremony live on its website, or watch live below:

West Virginia Attorney General Calls Decision a 'Win'

The Attorney General of West Virginia called today's Supreme Court ruling "a great win for West Virginia and her residents."

The Court's decision in West Virginia v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency curbed the agencies authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from coal producers.

"With Thursday's ruling, EPA can no longer sidestep Congress to exercise broad regulatory power that would radically transform the nation's energy grid and force states to fundamentally shift their energy portfolios away from coal-fired generation," the West Virginia Attorney General's office said in a statement. "EPA must instead regulate within the express boundaries of the statute that Congress passed."

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he is "pleased" that this case returned the power to decide on environmental issues to the "right place:" the U.S. Congress.

He also added that the case was about maintaining the separation of powers, not climate change.

"Today, the Court made the correct decision to rein in the EPA, an unelected bureaucracy," he said in a statement.

Morrisey promised to continue fighting for the rights of West Virginians "when those in Washington try to go too far in asserting broad powers without the people's support."

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt also called this ruling a "big victory" over the EPA's "job-killing regulations."

Schmitt said his state joined West Virginia to fight the EPA's "overreach" and challenged the agency's "overly-broad interpretation allowing them to regulate almost any part of the economy."

If the Court ruled in the EPA's favor, Schmitt said there would be several consequences for Missouri residents, including "higher utility bills, job loss and overall increased energy prices."

What the 'Remain in Mexico' Ruling Means

The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in Biden v. Texas allows President Joe Biden's administration to end the controversial Migrant Protections Protocols (MPP) immigration policy.

An earlier Court of Appeals ruling had said ending the policy, also known as "Remain in Mexico," was a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act and did not qualify as "final agency action." The Supreme Court's Thursday ruling reversed that earlier Court of Appeals decision.

The policy started in early 2019 under former President Donald Trump. It required some migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to stay in Mexico while waiting for their cases to be heard.

Biden said he intended to end the policy once he took office, and his administration moved to do so in June of 2021. At that time, Texas and Missouri sued the Biden administration to halt the policy's termination. Though the Biden administration moved again last fall to end the policy, it remained an undecided issue that quickly rose to the Supreme Court.

In the court's majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the Biden administration's decision to end the MPP "did not violate" the Immigration and Nationality Act and added the administration's move to end the policy again last fall "did constitute final agency action."

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Brett Kavanaugh joined Roberts in his majority opinion. Kavanaugh also wrote a concurring opinion.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote a dissenting opinion and was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett also wrote a dissenting opinion that Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch joined in part.

Court 'Does Not Have a Clue' About Addressing Climate Change

The Supreme Court delivered a major blow to the Biden administration's ability to regulate greenhouse gases to curb climate change with the 6-3 West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency decision.

In 2015, the Trump administration repealed the Clean Power Plan, which established guidelines for states to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. It also issued the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, which eliminated or deferred the guidelines.

In this case, West Virginia, representing conservative, coal-producing states, challenged the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to broadly regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion in the case.

This opinion states the EPA lacked the authority under the Clean Air Act to promote its 2015 carbon dioxide emissions plan.

Roberts said "there is little reason to think Congress assigned such decisions to the Agency."

He wrote that the EPA's view of its authority "was not only unprecedented; it also effected a 'fundamental revision of the statute, changing it from [one sort of] scheme of...regulation' into an entirely different kind."

The decision was split along ideological lines, with all three liberal Justices dissenting.

In the dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said today's decision strips the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the power Congress gave it to respond to "the most pressing environmental challenge of our time."

She said the Court "does not have a clue about how to address climate change."

"The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decisionmaker on climate policy," she wrote. "I cannot think of many things more frightening."

She added that "the stakes are high," noting "climate change's causes and dangers are no longer subject to serious doubt."

Court Allows 'Remain in Mexico' to End

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 5-4 in favor of the Biden administration in its decision to end the "Remain in Mexico" policy in Biden v. Texas.

It is the final ruling before the court breaks for the summer recess.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh also wrote a concurring opinion.

Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett each wrote dissenting opinions. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch also dissented.

Court Delivers Major Blow to Environmental Protection

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of conservative states in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, delivering a major blow to the Biden administration's ability to regulate climate change.

In a 6-3 ruling, the Court adopted a narrow reading of the Clean Air Act. The opinion stated that Congress did not give the EPA the power to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion. Justice Elena Kagan dissents, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

Final Rulings of Term Expected Soon

It will be a busy day at the Supreme Court Thursday.

The Court is expected to issue its final two opinions of the term.

Rulings in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency and Biden v. Texas will cover environmental regulation and immigration policy, respectfully.

West Virginia, a major coal-producing state, is a challenge to the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.

In Biden v. Texas, the Court will also decide whether the Department of Homeland Security must continue to enforce the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). This policy, also known as the Remain in Mexico policy, requires certain asylum-seekers hoping to enter the United States to await their immigration proceedings in Mexico.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will also be sworn in as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. She will replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced he would retire earlier this year.

Ketanji Brown Jackson Sworn In
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sworn into the Supreme Court Thursday. Above, Jackson speaks during an event celebrating her confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court on the South Lawn of the White House on April 08, 2022 in Washington, DC. Judge Jackson was confirmed by the Senate 53-47 and is set to become the first Black woman to sit on the highest court.