(TargetLiberty.org) – The Supreme Court released its calendar for December 2020 arguments. The court will hear about 10 hours of oral arguments for 12 cases over a 6-day period beginning on November 30 and ending on December 9. Although all 12 cases are significant, court watchers should keep an eye on 4 cases in particular.
1. Van Buren v. United States (November 30)
SCOTUS set this case to determine whether it’s a federal crime to use a computer for an improper purpose, although one has permission to access one to obtain authorized information. The case involves Nathan Van Buren, a former police officer who received payment for using a police database to look up a license plate.
Depending on how SCOTUS decides this case, anyone violating a website’s terms of service could be open to criminal liability, putting any number of Americans at risk of prosecution for potentially minor misuse of computer systems.
2. Department of Justice v. House Committee on the Judiciary (December 2)
This action is a potentially high-stake case regarding a dispute involving efforts by House Democrats to obtain access to secret grand jury materials stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The court is expected to decide whether an impeachment trial constitutes a “judicial proceeding” regarding granting an exemption to the normal rule providing for secrecy in grand jury proceedings.
3. Facebook Inc. v. Duguid (December 8)
The Supreme Court scheduled this case to clarify the use of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Designed to ban non-consensual telemarketing calls made with an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). Duguid alleged in a class-action lawsuit that Facebook violated the TCPA by sending him numerous unwanted text messages without his consent. Facebook attorneys moved to dismiss the case because their system didn’t use an ATDS system to send messages to users of its platform.
4. Collins v. Mnuchin and Mnuchin v. Collins (Consolidated for Oral Arguments, December 9)
This case deals with a “high-stakes” dispute between Congress and Justice Department officials regarding the government’s bailout of mortgage finance companies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae after the financial crisis of 2008. At its core, this is a separation of powers case determining whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency was improperly structured.
Although these cases have oral arguments scheduled before the close of 2020, final decisions aren’t expected to be handed down until next year. Additionally, SCOTUS may hear election-related cases depending on the outcome of lower court hearings.
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