The 5 biggest cases the Supreme Court hasn't yet decided

  • Some of the biggest Supreme Court cases this term remain outstanding.

  • A case concerning Donald Trump could become one of the nation's most important rulings.

  • There's also a pending case about administrative law that could potentially affect billions of dollars.

The Supreme Court has yet to address cases that could affect former President Donald Trump's criminal prosecutions and the future of the presidency itself, the power of federal agencies that have existed for decades, and abortion rights in a post-Roe world.

The nation's highest court typically wraps up its business by the end of June, but court watchers count roughly a dozen major pending decisions. Some of those expected rulings, particularly those applying to Trump, could upend the 2024 election.

With that in mind, here are five major cases that we're looking out for.

Trump v. United States: The Trump immunity case

The implications for Trump alone made this the most closely-watched case this term. But the high court's ruling will likely stretch far beyond him, potentially making this one of the most important cases in the nation's history. As Justice Neil Gorsuch said during oral arguments, the court may write "a rule for the ages."

The former president has requested sweeping immunity from criminal prosecutions that touch the outermost reaches of a president's job. Oral arguments illustrated that while Trump is unlikely to get everything he desires, some justices were receptive to his fear that leaving the door open to prosecution could hamstring presidents.

In contrast, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson warned that the Oval Office could become "the seat of criminal activity in this country" if justices go too far in protecting former presidents from criminal prosecution.

Trump has already likely won, no matter what the justices decide. The immunity question has delayed Special Counsel Jack Smith's January 6-related prosecution against him. It's difficult to see how Smith will get a trial before Election Day.

capitol riot january 6
Police use tear gas around Capitol building on January 6, 2021.Lev Radin/Getty Images

Fischer v. United States: A potential lifeline for January 6 rioters

Justices could disrupt Trump's prosecution and hundreds of others connected to January 6, depending on how they rule in the case brought by a former Pennsylvania police officer.

Joseph Fischer's lawyers argue that federal prosecutors have stretched a post-Enron collapse law too far in using it to charge Fischer and over 350 others in connection with the Capitol riot. At issue is whether prosecutors adequately applied the law when they charged rioters with obstructing an official proceeding due to the fact that Congress was forced to halt its constitutionally mandated certification of the Electoral College results on January 6, 2021.

During oral arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts joined some of the court's other conservatives in expressing skepticism about the Biden administration's defense that the provision of the 2002 law in question could be considered a catch-all.

Smith's team has separately argued that their case against Trump should be unaffected even if justices narrow what prosecutors can charge as obstruction of an official proceeding. As The Washington Post pointed out, some already convicted of January 6-related offenses have been released early ahead of a ruling in the case.

Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo: A tiny fish could change American life as we know it

The federal government has for decades regulated everything from the environment to consumer safety based on the Supreme Court's precedent that judges must defer to agencies like the EPA and FDA regarding their reasonable interpretations of vague laws.

This administrative law principle, known as Chevron deference, is rooted in the Supreme Court's 1984 landmark decision in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., which could be overturned or curtailed. Business groups have fought to kill the ruling for decades. There are potentially billions at stake depending on the outcome of the case.

Justices heard oral arguments in a case brought by commercial fishermen about a rule requiring them to pay for monitors that track potential overfishing. A lower court upheld the rule for Atlantic herring based on Chevron deference.

The Biden administration has warned that gutting Chevron deference entirely could spark a major shock. Justice Elena Kagan said during oral arguments that 70 Supreme Court rulings and more than 17,000 lower-court decisions have relied on Chevron.

Doctors advocate against an Idaho abortion ban outside of the Supreme Court
The Biden administration has defended a decades-old law in the face of Idaho's near-total ban on abortions.Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Moyle v. United States: A major abortion rights dispute in a post-Roe world

Justices are weighing whether decades-old law governing hospitals that receive federal funds supersede Idaho's near-total abortion ban. The two cases at issue mark the first time the high court has considered a single-state ban passed in the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark 2022 ruling, the overturned Roe.

Lawyers for Idaho argued that if the Biden administration has its way, the federal government will find ways to undermine state laws restricting abortion access.

"There are 22 states with abortion laws on the books," Joshua Turner, who argued in defense of Idaho's law, said at the end of his oral argument. "This isn't going to end with Idaho. This question is going to come up in state after state."

The Biden administration has argued that The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, the law in question, should override Idaho's ban by allowing doctors to perform emergency abortions still. The state law only allows for abortions unless the mother's life is in jeopardy.

Justice Elena Kagan highlighted how some patients have been airlifted to states where abortion remains legal as a result of the state's ban.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton waves in a suit in front of an oversized American flag
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.Brandon Bell/Getty Images

NetChoice LLC v. Paxton: Red-state social media moderation

Republican-led states, including Texas and Florida, have sought to restrict social media platforms from moderating political content. Industry groups sued to block the laws, arguing that tech giants have a First Amendment right to determine what to allow on their platforms.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Florida's law, which is targeted in a related case, which would fine companies if they banned active candidates for office from their platforms. Florida also made it easier for users to sue social media platforms if they feel they have been targeted for moderation, according to The Washington Post.

Court watchers left oral arguments predicting that justices across the ideological spectrum would strike down the laws, but the exact future of the GOP-led effort to punish tech companies on the belief that they are biased against conservatives remains uncertain.

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