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It’s been eight years since my last finals week, but I still remember the stress of studying for exams and finishing papers, and feeling like there were not enough hours in each day. I have to imagine the Supreme Court justices experience a similar tension every June as they wrap up their latest term.
As of Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court has 29 cases left to resolve and a quickly approaching deadline. The justices typically finish their business by the end of June, although they’ve spilled over into July for the past two years.
The list of remaining cases includes Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the abortion case at the center of last month’s opinion leak. The opinion draft published by Politico showed that at one point there were enough votes to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Justices are free to change their votes as the majority and dissenting opinions come together.)
There are also two outstanding religion cases: The battle over school funding in Maine and the case of the praying football coach.
If you don’t follow the court closely, you might be surprised to hear the justices’ process for releasing opinions is pretty unpredictable. Reporters, attorneys and other court watchers don’t know ahead of time when a specific case will be decided; the only thing we know ahead of time is whether a given day is marked as an opinion day or not. (But even that is less helpful than it sounds — sometimes the court’s calendar is updated less than 24 hours ahead of time.)
Since Monday was marked as an opinion day, I knew that I needed to check the Supreme Court’s website starting at 8 a.m. MDT to see which decisions were uploaded. The justices ended up releasing three new opinions, none of which were for cases I’m tracking.
Right now, the Supreme Court calendar shows no more opinion days for the rest of June, but that will certainly change soon. Otherwise, the justices will be dealing with a lot more than stress.
Fresh off the press
- The good, the bad and the ugly in the State Department’s new religious freedom report
- Church shooting in Iowa leaves 3 dead, including shooter
- The latest research on friendship in America – and why it matters
- How common is abortion in the U.S.? Your questions, answered
- The Nancy Pelosi communion conflict, explained
- Which people of faith are the most likely to own guns?
Term of the week: Operation Benjamin
Jewish soldiers in World War II often hid their religious identities out of fear of retaliation from German forces or bullying from other Americans. For these reasons and others, many American Jews who died in the war received Christian burials and were buried under Christian crosses, according to The New York Times.
Now, there’s an effort to identify these soldiers and replace the crosses over their graves with Stars of David. The organization Operation Benjamin is a major player in this effort; it identifies American-Jewish soldiers in cemeteries and then tracks down living relatives.
In April, “the group, which started organizing these services four years ago, held its first ceremonies since the start of the pandemic, reconsecrating seven graves at four cemeteries in France, Belgium and Luxembourg,” the Times reported.
What I’m reading ...
The Rev. Deanna Hollas is the first minister of gun violence prevention in the history of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Religion News Service spoke with her last week about recent shootings in Buffalo, New York; Laguna Hills, California; and Uvalde, Texas.
Reporters on the ground in Uvalde have written some absolutely beautiful articles about how faith leaders are working to help the community heal. My favorite came from The Washington Post: “Funeral after funeral, Uvalde’s only Catholic priest leans on faith.”
In her latest column for The New York Times, the Rev. Tish Harrison Warren offers her case for sticking with your spouse through the good times and the bad ones.
Odds and ends
Scholar and author Kate Bowler tweeted a beautiful blessing “for when today already feels like too much.”
If you’ve ever turned to a beloved movie, TV show or YouTube clip for comfort during a time of crisis, I urge you to read this essay by filmmaker Ted Geoghegan about how “Bob’s Burgers” carried his family through the loss of baby twins.
Last week, I wrote about a fascinating survey on friendship from Public Religion Research Institute. Because my article focused primarily on the race-related findings, I didn’t get a chance to highlight some really interesting faith-related data. Here are a few of the interesting data points that were left on the cutting-room floor:
- One-quarter of Americans said they don’t discuss religion with any of their closest friends.
- Republicans (39%) are more likely than Democrats (23%) to discuss religion with their social network.
- Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults (74%) are at least somewhat satisfied with their current level of involvement in religious organizations.