Our colleague Stuart Gerson of Epstein Becker Green has a new post on SCOTUS Today that will be of interest to our readers: Court Favors Judicial Review in Railroad Benefits Case, Remands Two Cases Concerning Nazi-Era Looted Property.
The following is an excerpt:
The Supreme Court decided three cases Wednesday, two of them related. None of them could be characterized as a blockbuster ruling or even a matter of broad national interest. One of them, however, will garner much inside-baseball commentary because the 5-4 majority that decided it included the Chief Justice and Justice Kavanaugh, along with the three so-called “liberal” Justices (Sotomayor, who wrote the opinion; Breyer; and Kagan), with Justice Thomas writing a dissent, joined by Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Barrett. The case is Salinas v. Railroad Retirement Board, and the issue was whether, under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974, 50 Stat. 307, as restated and amended, 45 U. S. C. §§ 231 et seq., the decision of the Board refusing to reopen a denial of benefits to Mr. Salinas was subject to judicial review.
The Court began with a textual analysis that demonstrated that the phrase “any final decision” is broad, and it reflects Congress’ intent to define the scope of review “expansively,” and hence reversed and remanded the case to the Fifth Circuit for further proceedings. The dissenters opined that the majority might have been correct with respect to the provision that they analyzed, but it was the wrong provision to apply. According to several commentators, there is little surprise in Justice Kavanaugh’s being in the majority because he held in favor of judicial review in a similar case when he was on the DC Circuit. Chief Justice Roberts apparently agreed with him. In the end, besides its value to Mr. Salinas, the case demonstrates once again that the Justices do not necessarily fit the rigid liberal or conservative molds that much of the popular press would put them in, and there is a majority that would favor judicial review if a statute might be interpreted to provide it.
Click here to read the full post and more on SCOTUS Today.