Is Turner v. Rogers Decision Coming Soon?

So, we’ve yet to see a decision for Turner v. Rogers yet. This is not particularly surprising since it was argued later in the Supreme Court’s term. And indeed, when I gave my reactions to oral arguments, I suggested that we probably wouldn’t have results until later in June.

Well with half of the month gone, might we expect to see it come down next week? There are thirteen outstanding cases left to be decided and two more days (maybe three) when the Court will be handing down opinions in June. The next time opinions are expected is June 20th (next Monday).

At SCOTUSblog, Tom Goldstein gives his likely predictions on who will be authoring the opinions and what the disposition will be. Here is an excerpt:

Now is the time that we can really let loose the dogs of speculation regarding which members of the Court are writing opinions, and what the result will be.

My best bets are below.  Preliminarily, recognize that this is not even a serious exercise.  There are too many unknowns.  But I’m giving my best guess, with the reasons.  My aspiration is that half of these will be correct.

*     *     *

Turner (right to appointment of counsel) – Justice Scalia, affirming.  Justice Scalia is due to write an opinion in this sitting.  I think he’s likely to dissent in PLIVA.  And McBride does not seem an important enough assignment.  So I give him Turner by default.

I also predicted that the Court would probably affirm the South Carolina ruling based upon the tone at oral arguments. However, if Goldstein is right that Scalia is authoring, I might actually predict a different result. Although Scalia didn’t seem warm to Turner’s position during oral arguments, he likes clear lines regarding the constitution’s bounds. To the extent that caselaw is (in my opinion) clear about the right to counsel any time incarceration exists as a possible punishment, I think he might find some right to appointed counsel. However, Scalia’s reputation as an originalist may dictate affirming South Carolina based on the history of contempt of court.

At any rate, once the opinion is handed down, I’ll post it here with a short summary. I’ll also write a longer, more in-depth explanation when I have had the chance to read the opinion in its entirety.

Stay tuned!

-Zachary Cloud

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