US Supreme Court sends 3 cases back to lower courts including burglary, criminal resentencing, and same-sex wedding cake
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US Supreme Court sends 3 cases back to lower courts including burglary, criminal resentencing, and same-sex wedding cake

The US Supreme Court issued orders Monday denying a number of cases and sending three cases back to lower courts for reconsideration: US v. Herrold, Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor, and Richardson v. US.

United States v. Herrold is another case considering the elements of burglary under the Armed Career Criminal Act. Under existing precedent, burglary is a qualifying offense for the prior convictions requirement of the Armed Career Criminal Act, but a state’s burglary statute must be the same as generic burglary or more narrowly tailored. Generic burglary typically requires the offense to involve remaining in a building, but the Texas statute broadens the definition to include vehicles which may be a domicile. Herrold challenged that the Texas statute is too broad. The Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Fifth Circuit for reconsideration under their recent Quarles decision.

Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has been a heavily watched case as it once again brings up the question of Free Exercise vs. LGBT discrimination. Similar to the Court’s earlier Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, a baker refused to provide a wedding cake to a same sex couple. Because the baker in this case only sells custom wedding cakes, some analysts thought the Supreme Court might take up the case to resolve open questions about whether commissioned works of art lose their First Amendment protections because they are made for a commercial purpose. The Court decided instead to send it back to the Oregon Court of Appeals for review in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop.

The last major order was in the case of Frank Richardson v. United States. Richardson is currently attempting to appeal his conviction for “aiding and abetting” under the Hobbs Act. Richardson argues that as his appeal is still pending, he may be entitled to resentencing under the First Step Act which was passed earlier this year to lighten harsh federal criminal sentences. The Court agreed with Richardson, but declined to take his case up themselves instead remanding back to the Sixth Circuit to consider the First Step Act.

The Supreme Court did not add any new cases to the October Term today, but they did add a new opinion day Thursday June 20th as there are still 20 pending cases to decide this term.