Monday, October 06, 2014

Red Mass and Modernized Website Herald Opening of Supreme Court's 2014 Term

The Supreme Court's new term opens today.  To mark the occasion, the annual Catholic Red Mass was held yesterday in Washington's Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.  According to the Legal Times, four of the Court's six Catholic Justices (Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas) and two of its three Jewish Justices (Breyer and Kagan) attended. So did a number of D.C. lower court judges.

Tomorrow the Court will hear oral arguments in a religious accommodation case-- Holt v. Hobbs.  At issue is whether the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act permits Arkansas to bar a Muslim prison inmate from growing a one-half inch beard. (See prior related posting.) All the briefs filed in the case are available from SCOTUSblog.

The Court usually issues a long list of certiorari denials on its first day of the term, and might grant review in additional cases as well.  Among the most closely watched are a number of petitions for review in same-sex marriage cases.

The Court also begins the Term displaying a revamped website with a modernized look and improved navigation features. (Court press release.)