Columbia Law Experts on 2024 Supreme Court Decisions

Law School faculty and legal experts offer insights into the high court’s recent rulings.

The facade of the U.S. Supreme Court building with “Equal Justice Under the Law“ visible at the top

As the U.S. Supreme Court issues rulings on questions ranging from the power of federal agencies to the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy settlement, Columbia Law experts are speaking with news media to share context and insights into the court’s decisions. Explore some of the latest stories featuring Law School faculty and staff.

This story may be updated as news articles are published.


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The Chevron Doctrine Is Overruled, Curbing the Power of Federal Agencies

Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce

“The Chevron Deference, and Why It Mattered,” Philip Bobbitt in BBC News
“The problem is many people think the Congress is quite dysfunctional now,” says Philip Bobbitt, Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence. “Where the court is going … seems to defy the realities of gridlock in the Congress as it’s actually operating today.” Read more.

“How the Supreme Court’s Massive Chevron Decision Will Affect Climate Policy,” Michael Burger in Axios
“If I were making a new rule today, I would seek to document and clarify the extent to which the central aspects of the rule are tied to factual, technical, and policy determinations,” says Michael Burger ’03, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. “I would spend a lot less time offering legal rationales for why the decision represents a reasonable or permissible interpretation of an ambiguous statute.” Read more.

“A String of Supreme Court Decisions Hits Hard at Environmental Rules,” Michael Gerrard in The New York Times
“The agencies for more than 30 years have needed to use old, existing laws to deal with new environmental problems,” says Michael Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and faculty director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. “And this new court is now making that extraordinarily difficult. Unless Congress is extremely specific, agencies can’t act. But since Congress is largely immobilized, this in turn freezes what they can do.” Read more.

“‘The Heart and Lungs of Liberty,’” Philip Hamburger in The New York Sun
The decision is “the beginning of the end of the administrative state,” says Hamburger. Read more.

Note: Hamburger submitted an amicus brief in support of the petitioner in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo. The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonprofit legal group founded by Hamburger, represented the petitioner in Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce.

“Fed Bank Oversight Powers Grow More Uncertain in Wake of Court Action,” Kathryn Judge in Reuters
Federal Reserve bank supervisors “may be less inclined to regulate aggressively out of fear that banks, being the more well-funded out of the potential litigants, are more likely to fight back in the event of aggressive regulation,” says Kathryn Judge, Harvey J. Goldschmid Professor of Law. “But there’s no reason to assume that courts are necessarily going to be any more inclined to side with banks,” and that lack of clarity means it will be hard to know how any rule challenges will ultimately shake out. Read more.

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Presidential Immunity for Official Acts

Trump v. United States

“Trump Sentencing in Hush Money Case Delayed Until September,” Philip Bobbitt in BBC News
It could be difficult to convince a court that President Donald Trump’s hush money payments to an adult film star constitute “official” presidential acts, says Philip Bobbitt, Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence. “I just don't see it,” he says. Read more.

“Supreme Court Gives Donald Trump’s White House Bid Another Shot of Momentum,” Daniel Richman in the Financial Times
“The math is not just daunting, but I think precludes any trial” before November, says Daniel Richman, Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law. Read more.

Trump v. United States and the National Security Constitution,” Matthew C. Waxman at a National Constitution Center event
“As constitutional lawyers around this virtual table, we like to look to constitutional law to solve problems. And if you’re worried about Trump or you’re worried about any president abusing his or her powers … the solution is more in the ballot box than the courtroom,” says Matthew C. Waxman, Liviu Librescu Professor of Law. “Law is important, and we can talk about legal reforms that can, perhaps, better hem in a president where a president should be hemmed in, but ultimately, we need American politics to right itself.” Watch the full event.

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Social Media Content Moderation Is Protected by the First Amendment

Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton

“The First Amendment Is Out of Control,” Tim Wu in The New York Times
“While the Supreme Court remanded both cases to lower courts for further factual development, the court nonetheless went out of its way to state that the millions of algorithmic decisions made every day by social media platforms are protected by the First Amendment,” writes Tim Wu, Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science and Technology. “Even if one has concerns about the wisdom and questionable constitutionality of the Florida and Texas laws (as I do), the breadth of the court’s reasoning should serve as a wake-up call.” Read more.

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Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Settlement Blocked

Harrington v. Purdue Pharma

“Supreme Court Rules Sackler Family Can Still Be Held Liable for Opioid Epidemic,” Ronald Mann in Rolling Stone
“It’s very difficult to overturn this plan because to overturn this plan is really to take $6 billion out of the hands of people that are really, really badly injured,” says Ronald Mann, Albert E. Cinelli Enterprise Professor of Law. “It’s money that they will most likely never get if they do get it. Lawyers will make huge amounts of money recovering this so it may just be a windfall for lawyers to litigate for years.” Read more.

“What the Supreme Court’s Purdue Pharma Decision Means for the Sackler Family Fortune,” Edward R. Morrison in Forbes
The Supreme Court’s decision is “a tragedy for the bankruptcy system and litigation more generally,” says Edward R. Morrison, Charles Evans Gerber Professor of Law. Read more.

Note: Morrison is one of the authors who submitted an amicus brief in support of the respondents in Harrington v. Purdue Pharma.

“Supreme Court Rejects Purdue Pharma Opioid Settlement,” Edward R. Morrison on Spectrum News
“I think the tragedy of the Supreme Court decision today is that who does this decision help? Who does it help?” says Morrison. “It certainly doesn’t help the victims. At least the vast majority of them want the money now, and some will die before they get a dime.” Watch the news segment.

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EPA’s “Good Neighbor” Air Pollution Rule Blocked

Ohio v. Environmental Protection Agency

“Supreme Court Puts EPA ‘Good Neighbor’ Smog Rule on Hold,” Camille Pannu on WBUR’s Here and Now
“I think what we’re seeing is a court that is willing to depart from … record evidence and science a little bit more when it comes to imposing costs on industry,” says Camille Pannu, director of the Law School’s Environmental and Climate Justice Clinic. Listen to the segment.

“EPA’s State Smog Pollution Plan Down, Not Out Yet,” Camille Pannu in Law360
“I don’t think the EPA is going to promulgate a new plan,” says Pannu. “But it could change its position in the litigation and otherwise.” Read more.

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Limiting the SEC’s In-House Tribunals

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy

“Justices Limit Major SEC Tool to Penalize Fraud,” Ronald Mann in SCOTUSblog
“The decision will have a far-reaching impact on dozens of federal administrative agencies that use similar processes,” writes Ronald Mann, Albert E. Cinelli Enterprise Professor of Law. Read more.

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Upholding a Tax Provision on Offshore Income

Moore v. United States

Moore v. United States—Winning the Battle But the War Goes On,” Michael Graetz in TaxProf Blog
“Despite the best efforts of Justice Kavanaugh and his colleagues in the majority, Moore is a caution to Congress about what and how it can legislate, an invitation to more antitax litigation, and a potential boon to young tax lawyers with the time and inclination to rehearse and refine the voluminous scholarship on realization,” writes Michael Graetz, Columbia Alumni Professor Emeritus of Tax Law. Read more.

“SCOTUS Down to the Wire and Tax on Foreign Income,” David M. Schizer on Bloomberg Law Podcast
“What it says is that many of the international tax provisions that the U.S. government has used to tax income from foreign corporations are constitutional, and that’s a very important holding,” says David M. Schizer, Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics and Dean Emeritus. Listen to the segment.

Note: Schizer submitted an amicus brief with the American Tax Policy Institute in support of the respondent in Moore v. United States. The brief was quoted in the Supreme Court’s decision.

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Governments May Request Removal of Misinformation on Social Media

Murthy v. Missouri

“No Remedy for Censorship: The Perils of Murthy,” Philip Hamburger in RealClear Politics
“In the face of the most sweeping censorship in American history, the decision fails to recognize either the realities of the censorship or the constitutional barriers to it,” writes Philip Hamburger, Maurice & Hilda Friedman Professor of Law. “In practical terms, the decision invites continuing federal censorship on social media platforms. It thereby nearly guarantees that yet another election cycle will be compromised by government censorship and condemns a hitherto free society to the specter of mental servitude.” Read more.

Note: The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonprofit legal group founded by Hamburger, represented one of the individual plaintiffs in Murthy.

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Rejecting a Challenge to the Sale of the Abortion Drug Mifepristone

Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine

“Justices Hand Abortion Advocates an Incomplete Win,” Christopher Morten in Law360
“I don't read anything in this opinion as really revealing anything very significant,” says Christopher Morten, founding director of Columbia Law School’s Science, Health, and Information Clinic. Instead, the justices were committed to “scrupulously avoiding saying too much about the standing of other potential plaintiffs and avoiding saying anything about the merits.” Read more.

Note: Morten and the Science, Health, and Information Clinic submitted an amicus brief with Doctors for America and The Reproductive Health Coalition in support of the petitioners in Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.

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Firearms Ban for Domestic Abusers Upheld

United States v. Rahimi

“What the Supreme Court’s Rahimi Ruling Means for Everyone,” Naomi Young in Women’s Health
“Without the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment], we see laws like that [federal law that prohibits individuals under domestic abuse protective orders from possessing guns] come under threat, and I think Rahimi is a really great example of that,” says Naomi Young, policy associate at the Equal Rights Amendment Project at Columbia Law School. “We really shouldn’t have ever had to be waiting with bated breath.” Read more.