[JURIST] The US Supreme Court heard [hearing list, PDF] oral arguments Monday on Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board, Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, Inc. and California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc. [SCOTUSblog materials] In Perry, the Court will decide whether a decision disposing of a case which involved both state employment actions and a federal anti-discrimination law dismissed on jurisdictional grounds can be subject to judicial review in either district court or in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In Chester, the Court will decide if intervenors joining a suit under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a) must have Article III [LII backgrounders] standing or if standing is satisfied as long as there is a valid case or controversy between the parties. ANZ will decide if the filing of a putative class action satisfies the three-year time limitation in Section 13 of the Securities Act [LII backgrounder]. This will be the first week that newly appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch will be on the bench.
Gorsuch was confirmed last week after a contentious battle between Democrats and Republicans over the Supreme Court vacancy. Following Scalia's death in February 2016, then-President Barack Obama nominated [JURIST report] federal appellate judge Merrick Garland. Senate Republicans refused to consider [JURIST commentary] Garland, insisting that the next president should choose the nominee. Following President Donald Trump's election to the White House and Republican retention of control over the Senate, the nomination of a conservative judge appeared likely. Trump fostered intrigue over his appointment by releasing a list of 21 potential nominees [Politico report] before ultimately selecting Gorsuch. Despite a Republican majority in the Senate, Gorsuch's confirmation was not unchallenged. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell had to invoke the so-called "nuclear option" [NYT report] to bypass a filibuster by Democrats, which reduced the number of votes needed to invoke cloture from 60 to 50. The move was necessary because the 52 Republican members of the Senate would not have the votes to defeat the filibuster without Democratic support.