Holtzman Vogel Supreme Court Review, October Term 2022

By: Jason Torchinsky, Ed Wenger, Jan Baran, Jonathan P. Lienhard, Kent Safriet, and David Brown

The Supreme Court wrapped up its decisions from the October 2022 Term, with a blockbuster final week addressing issues like affirmative action and First Amendment freedom of speech. In the two biggest end-of-term cases (Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, and 303 Creative v. Elenis) Holtzman Vogel filed a total of four amicus briefs.

In a landmark decision that changes the way universities accepting federal funds may consider race in their admissions, the Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College 6-3 decision fell in favor of the Petitioner, whom the Holtzman Vogel team supported with an amicus brief on behalf of former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III. Reversing the judgments of the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Court held that the use of race in admissions by Harvard and UNC “cannot be reconciled with the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause.”

In 303 Creative v. Elenis, the Court ruled that the State of Colorado could not compel a business owner to produce expressive work that violated her personal beliefs. This represents a win for free speech, and Holtzman Vogel is proud to have submitted amicus briefs in support of the Petitioner on behalf of 21 First Amendment Scholars, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, and Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University. Our amicus brief on behalf of First Amendment Scholars was cited in Justice Gorsuch’s majority opinion.

These were not the only cases that kept the firm busy this term. The Holtzman Vogel team was intimately involved in two major redistricting cases. We filed multiple amicus briefs in Merrill v. Milligan and Moore v. Harper. In the former, the Court found that Alabama likely violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and will have to redraw a map to include one more majority-minority district. In the latter, the Court held that federal courts do indeed have the right to review the way states regulate federal elections, which was largely consistent with the amicus brief that Holtzman Vogel filed on behalf of the Republican National Committee.

Finally, the Firm represented the State of Louisiana in Robinson v. Ardoin, a Louisiana redistricting case for which the Court granted a motion to stay and certiorari before judgment of the Fifth Circuit. In the aftermath of the Merrill v. Milligan decision, Ardoin will return to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for further proceedings.

The Supreme Court will remain at the center of American debates over constitutional rights and liberties, and Holtzman Vogel is proud of our work to represent our clients who wish to engage in that debate.