The New Roberts Court Releases Its First Opinions in Argued Cases
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was known to be a fast opinion writer. Indeed, she was often the first justice to issue an opinion in an argued case each term (even if Justice Thomas beat her to the punch last year). This year, without the Notorious RBG on the bench, there was some question about who would write the first opinion. This year, four of her colleagues shared the distinction of getting out the first opinion. As is often the case with opinions released early in a Supreme Court term, each of these opinions was unanimous. Each was also quite short.
The first decision released was Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, rejecting the claim by pharmacy benefit managers that an Arkansas law governing prescription drug reimbursemednt rates was preempted by ERISA. Justice Sotomayor wrote for an 8-0 court. Justice Thomas wrote a separate concurrence, as he often does in preemption cases, to express disagreement with the Court’s preemption jurisprudence. As he has noted before, Justice Thomas believes the Court’s Court’s ERISA preemption jurisprudence, in particular, is divorced from the relevant statutory
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