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A pair of cases seeking certiorari to resolve a circuit split, despite involving states choosing to defund Planned Parenthood via Medicaid spending, did not garner enough interest among the Justices to be accepted. Technically, the case is about whether Medicaid provides a private right of action, but Justice Clarence Thomas clearly believes there's so much more, or maybe not, to it.

Justice Thomas, joined by Justices Alito and Gorsuch, published a dissent (scroll to the end), lambasting their colleagues for not doing their jobs to fix the circuit split over a procedural matter. Justice Thomas explains that he disapproves of the other Justices for not taking up the issue because it involves Planned Parenthood and thus is highly controversial and tangentially related to abortion rights.

No, really, he pretty much flat out said that.

Justice Sonya Sotomayor has issued another dissent in a case involving another death row inmate opting for the electric chair over a lethal injection as his preference for execution. And while the ink was barely dry on the page, David Miller was executed.

The impassioned Justice explains in a brief page-and-a-half dissent, that the very idea that Miller's choice was voluntary is a "fiction." She further explains that the inmate should not have been required to show other "available alternative means of his own execution." In a footnote, the Justice quotes another court's finding that "electrocution will unquestionably inflict intolerable pain unnecessary to cause death in enough executions so as to present a substantial risk that any prisoner will suffer unnecessary and wanton pain."

This week, the High Court issued their first opinion of the Fall 2018 term. The case, Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido, involved the statutory interpretation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act's 1974 revision which added liability to state and local governments.

At issue was whether that liability existed regardless of the size of the local government, as the ADEA only applies to private employers with 20 or more employees. There is a circuit split as to whether the 20 or more employee requirement applies to state and local governments, or whether the revised statute wholesale included state and local governments as categories covered by the ADEA regardless of size.

In what is being hailed as a victory for net neutrality advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected cert. in the U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC matter.

The case dates back to 2015 and the Obama-era net neutrality policies that were put into place. The telecoms and service providers challenged the law, and failed. And while the Court didn't provide any explanation behind the denial, it's highly likely that the fact that the policies at issue were rescinded by the FCC motivated the justices' decision.

In a lonely dissent, Justice Sotomayor explained that she believes her colleagues made a mistake in not taking up the matter of Edmund Zagorski.

Zagorski became the first person to be executed in the electric chair in five years in this country, and that was due to the fact that the lethal injection couldn't be proven to be painless, given the recent troubles we've all seen and read about. In short, while lethal injection was once believed to be a painless process, it is now understood to feel like being burned alive from the inside out while drowning and suffocating (for as long as 18 minutes).

Given the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, several commentaries have been published questioning whether, or just when, the High Court will take up a case involving abortion.

Currently, there are a few cases that have pending petitions before the justices, but it's believed that the justices are trying to avoid the issue due to how political of an issue abortion is, and how political the recent confirmation hearings were. It's posited that the High Court may want to avoid such partisan issues until it feels that the public's trust in it has rebounded.

In a one-paragraph order, Chief Justice John Roberts has put the climate change case of the decade on hold.

The big climate change case being brought by a group of children was slated to go to trial in a week, but it looks like the federal government just succeeded in derailing the train of experts and testimony that was expected to shock the world with facts about climate science and government accountability or the lack thereof. And while all hope is not quite lost yet that a trial will still happen, given the makeup of the new Court and issues at play here, the case may be politically doomed.

A recent dissent issued from the High Court without a majority opinion at all. The case wasn't even argued. Rather, the dissent, written by Justice Ginsburg and joined by Justice Kagan, explained that the majority was flat out wrong to reject the North Dakota voter ID challenge.

In short, North Dakota passed a voter ID law that required voters to show a valid state ID with a street address at the polls. The federal district court, however, enjoined enforcement of that law in time for the primaries that occurred ahead of this upcoming midterm election. After the primaries though, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the injunction, allowing the voter ID law to take effect. The challengers sought immediate review by SCOTUS as the midterms are only a few weeks away.

The case of Vernon Madison was just argued before the Supreme Court again. However, this time, there might be a bit of a catch 22, or perhaps, a catch 8, seeing as how the Court is one justice shy of the full 9.

Nevertheless, for the death row inmate suffering from dementia, the novel legal questions his case has presented has stumped scholars and justices over the past few years. The big question boils down to whether a person with dementia, who cannot remember his crime(s), should be executed. Generally, there are exceptions to death sentences. Namely, per SCOTUS's own rulings, minors and the mentally incompetent cannot be executed thanks to the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

In recent years, big oil has faced increasing pressure from state and local governments due to potential violations of environmental laws and due to the increasing visibility of climate change.

Massachusetts has been pursuing an investigation against Exxon since 2016. Unfortunately for the state's AG, Exxon isn't being cooperative. And after the state secured a victory before the State's Supreme Court demanding the oil company respond to the state's investigatory demand, Exxon recently petitioned SCOTUS, seeking review of the state High Court decision.