Reading and Understanding Court Decisions

This week at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Justice Amy Barrett acknowledged expected court decisions on reproductive rights and gun control would be seen through a political lens and may lead to division. The Justice urged people to read the decisions and understand their decisions are based on law and their interpretation of the Constitution. To learn how expert lawyers and attorneys apply the law, check with this car wreck injury lawyer Vegas.

Justice Amy Barrett;

judges, or Justices in this instance, are not deciding cases to impose a ‘policy result,’ but are making their best effort to determine what the law and the Constitution require.

In a nation splintered by partisanship and wracked by incivility, Barrett in her remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library appeared to acknowledge court decisions on reproductive rights and gun control would be seen through a political lens and lead to division.

Justice Barrett ‘urged’ Americans to ‘read the opinion’ and consider the court’s reasoning before making judgments about the outcome.

With divisive Supreme Court rulings coming, Barrett says: ‘Read the opinion’ (

I was wondering what was driving all the noise coming from a recent 5-4 SCOTUS decision with Chief Justice John Roberts joining Justices Kagan, Sotomayer, and Breyer in dissent. So with connecting all the dots, hopefully you are seeing what I am seeing. To my left is an abbreviated article detailing the recent SCOTUS decision as provided by Steve Vladeck on Twitter. (if you click on the image, it will enlarge and be readable)

Short version is; SCOTUS blocked a stay by a US District Court which was blocking the discharge of pollutants into navigable waters. Allowing states to determine such was a part of the Trump administration issued rule interpreting the Clean Water Act to allow such. The US District Court disagreed with the state. SCOTUS in a 5-4 decision blocked the US District Court.

Lets read “the rest of the story” of what Justice Amy Barrett had to say about SCOTUS decisions at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

“Does (the decision) read like something that was purely results driven and designed to impose the policy preferences of the majority, or does this read like it actually is an honest effort and persuasive effort, even if one you ultimately don’t agree with, to determine what the Constitution and precedent requires?” she asked.

Americans should judge the court — or any federal court — by its reasoning, she said. “Is its reasoning that of a political or legislative body, or is its reasoning judicial?”

With divisive Supreme Court rulings coming, Barrett says: ‘Read the opinion’ (

Judging from where Justice Barrett gave her commentary, it was not meant to appeal to the entire nation. I suspect her commentary is a warning of what is too come.

Some other reads too:

Steve Vladeck on Twitter is writing a book about the Shadow Docket and has a good take on the Louisiana vs American Rivers decision. Lawyers, Guns, and Money’s Scott Lemieux has a good article up too. And I, I am a few days late to the news here. It is worth repeating.

On Monday, Justice Amy Barrett asked us to read the opinions of SCOTUS and not take them as setting policy for a nation. Wednesday found SCOTUS deciding whether a state can issue certificates for discharging pollutants into navigable water. I am assuming this water may also be for drinking purposes also.

And again SCOTUS used the Shadow Docket;

SCOTUS made their 5-4 decision using the emergency shadow docket and never issued an Opinion Justice Barrett so proudly speaks of as a Justice in support of the majority decision. So much for understanding SCOTUS decisions. Justice Roberts agreed with the minority in support.

Justice Kagan’s dissent;

“An applicant must show more than a likelihood of prevailing on the merits in the appellate court. It must also show an exceptional need for immediate relief.” (According to the dissent the states and non-profits challenging the vacatur failed to show irreparable harm if the 2020 rules is vacated.)

“[T]he applicants have not identified a single project that a State has obstructed in the five months since the District Court’s decision. Still more, they have not cited a single project that the court’s ruling threatens, or is likely to threaten, in the time before the appellate process concludes.” “And the application fails to show that proper implementation of the reinstated regulatory regime—which existed for 50 years before the vacated rule came into effect—is incapable of countering whatever state overreach may (but may not) occur.”

Supreme Court Allows Clean Water Act Rule to Stay in Effect – The Council of State Governments (

I suspect Justice Amy Barrett is giving the nation a clue as to what is forthcoming. Understand too, the commentary made by bloggers is mostly about SCOTUS’s shadow docket which leaves no reasoning in support of their decision for future courts.