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3 Supreme Court Decisions We're All Still Waiting On

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Oral arguments before the Supreme Court for the October 2014 Term have ended. Now, the justices and clerks will focus on writing decisions for all the cases heard this term.

Usually, decisions are issued about 90 days after they're heard. However, there are several cases beyond the 90 day average, and we've heard of no decision yet. Maybe they're extra special?

Here are three Supreme Court decisions we're eagerly awaiting:

Elonis v. United States

This case, heard in December, is an appeal of the U.S. Court of appeals for the Third Circuit which affirmed Elonis' conviction for threats to injure his coworkers, wife, the police, and a kindergarten class under federal law, 8 U.S.C. section 875(c).

Elonis' conviction was for several threatening Facebook posts. He claims that they were rap lyrics. The government claims that they were criminal threats. In his appeal, Elonis claims that his statements were not true threats, which would be unprotected by the First Amendment, because he did not intend for his words to be threatening.

The federal government wants the Court to rule that a statement is a true threat if a reasonable person would interpret it as a threat. Elonis wants the Court to rule that a statement is only a true threat if the declarant specifically intended for it to be a threat.

The Court's decision in this case could have widespread effect on many pending cases of people arrested for rants and threats on social media.

Zivotofsky v. Kerry

This case, heard in November, is an issue of separation of power.

The United States refuses to recognize Jerusalem as a part of Israel, so requires the passports of people born in Jerusalem to list "Jerusalem" as their birthplace. However, Congress passed a law recognizing Jerusalem as part of Israel, so passports would list "Israel" instead of "Jerusalem" as the birthplace.

Both Presidents Bush and Obama argue that the law violated the Constitution. Lower courts have sided with the Presidents' position, but the Supreme Court has yet to make a decision.

Comptroller of Maryland v. Wynne

This case, also heard in November, is about taxation.

Maryland is the only state that taxes residents on 100 percent of income, regardless if it was earned in state, or out of state. All other states give residents tax credits on income earned out of state.

Taxpayers claim this is a violation of the dormant commerce clause because it unfairly penalizes out-of-state income. Maryland argues that a state has a right to tax its residents because of the benefits the residents receive from living in that state. From the questions asked at oral argument, it is unclear which way the Justices will decide.

Now that oral arguments are done, maybe we can expect decisions on these cases soon.

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