Important Adam Liptak in the NYT:
The Supreme Court was shorthanded for most of the term that ended Monday, and it responded with caution, setting a modern record for consensus.
“Having eight was unusual and awkward,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. told a judicial conference a few days after Justice Neil M. Gorsuch joined the court in April. “That probably required having a lot more discussion of some things and more compromise and maybe narrower opinions than we would have issued otherwise.”
As Justice Alito’s remarks suggested, the next term, starting in October, will be very different from the past one, which was defined by the long vacancy caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016 and the court’s strenuous efforts to avoid 4-4 votes.
The court has already agreed to hear cases on President Trump’s travel ban, a clash between gay rights and claims of religious freedom, constitutional limits on partisan gerrymandering, cellphone privacy, human rights violations by corporations and the ability of employees to band together to address workplace issues.