The past year has been a uniquely challenging time. As most Americans and people around the world struggled to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses and government institutions alike were forced to adapt to a largely home-bound and Zoom-centric workforce. Through it all, the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and their staffs soldiered on with their work, evaluating an incessant stream of petitions for certiorari, hearing oral arguments, and issuing almost 70 merits opinions resolving a wide range of important disputes.
In our just-released report, Better Markets takes a look back at some of the decisions issued by the Supreme Court from October 2020 through July of 2021. Other Court-watchers will tackle the job of evaluating the Court’s decisions on the important social policy questions addressed this past year, including those surrounding the 2020 election, the Covid-19 pandemic, access to birth control, and other issues.
In our report, we focus on less high profile but vitally important decisions the Court handed down over the last 10 months in the financial and economic arena, which ultimately affect every American’s bank balance, directly or indirectly. Those cases centered on the enforcement powers of the financial regulators, the requirements governing securities fraud class actions, the validity of bailout measures necessitated by the 2008 financial crisis, and the doctrine of standing, which determines who can even set foot in a federal court to have their grievances heard. We also look ahead to a few of the key cases that the Court will consider next term, beginning on the first Monday of October 2021.
Finally, we briefly highlight some of the issues surrounding the Court itself that are drawing renewed and increasing attention, including its transparency, its operations, and its makeup—the Justices who serve. For example, this Spring, we witnessed a renewed focus on the Court as the “Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court” commenced a series of hearings to examine a wide range of questions involving the size of the Court, the Justices’ tenures, and even the Court’s jurisdictional reach. The American public should understand these important institutional issues, along with the decisions that so profoundly affect their financial lives.