The Supreme Court is ending its term unusually late this year, with decisions in three cases still under wraps days after the justices would have typically cleared out its docket for the season.
The coronavirus pandemic can be partly blamed for the delay. Already, the justices broke tradition in May by holding oral arguments over the phone and broadcasting them live as much of the country was under lockdown.
The court has so far issued opinions in dozens of cases, including several major ones last month dealing with LGBTQ rights, abortion and immigration, where Chief Justice John Roberts notably sided with the four liberals.
On Thursday, the court is expected to wrap up its term with opinions in widely watched cases concerning access to President Donald Trump’s financial records.
Here are the three remaining cases on the court’s docket:
Trump’s financial documents
For over three hours in early May over the telephone, the court delved into two momentous cases that will determine whether the House of Representatives and a New York prosecutor can subpoena Trump’s accounting firm and banks for his financial documents.
The justices focused on Trump’s effort to shield his documents but they also prodded the lawyers to look into the future and gauge how an eventual decision will impact the separation of powers and the White House’s broad claims of immunity.
Trump’s attorneys argued that the House subpoenas were “unprecedented in every sense” and asked for “temporary presidential immunity” against the subpoena from a New York prosecutor for the President’s tax records.
The release of any Trump financial documents before the election could be another bombshell for the President in an already dramatic year.
The limits of tribal sovereignty
In a case concerning the limits of tribal sovereignty and what constitutes a reservation under the law, the Supreme Court will decide whether the eastern part of Oklahoma qualifies as an American Indian reservation, where suspects must be tried for major crimes by the federal government.
The court heard a similar challenge to eastern Oklahoma’s territorial boundaries last term but was unable to come to a final decision after Justice Neil Gorsuch recused himself.
As the term nears its conclusion, some court watchers are also keeping an eye on conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, both of whom could announce their retirements ahead of the election.
While neither justice has given public indications he is ready to step aside, the prospect of a vacancy has excited conservatives about installing a younger justice as a replacement.
Though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell famously blocked President Barack Obama’s nominee from receiving a hearing or vote in 2016, he has said a Trump nominee would go ahead.