UC Davis Supreme Court Experts 2024

Abortion, Ballot and Social Media Before the Court

Gavel hitting desk with blue background
(Getty Images)

The following UC Davis School of Law professors can offer expertise on a series of issues before the U.S. Supreme Court this session. Some of those cases are highlighted below.  We will add to this list as more cases surface and are argued, and as more media sources become available.  Contact information for each source is contained in the hyperlinked biographies below.

Issue of Trump’s name on ballot in Colorado

The court is hearing arguments in February looking at the issue of whether states can keep Donald Trump off their electoral ballots because of his efforts to overturn his election loss in 2021. An insurrection, involving a series of events culminating in the attack of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, resulted in the arrest and conviction of nearly 400 people. Vik Amar, constitutional law scholar at UC Davis, has co-authored an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief stating there is historic precedent in a similar but less-egregious move on the U.S. Capitol in 1861. Amar said in the brief that central to the case is that presidents take an oath to follow the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Gabriel “Jack” Chin, a constitutional law expert, can also speak to this case.

Reproductive rights, health care

Mary Ziegler is an expert on the law, history, and politics of reproduction, health care, and conservatism in the United States from 1945 to the present. She is a 2023 Guggenheim fellow and one of the world’s leading historians of the U.S. abortion debate.

Justices will decide whether to ban mifepristone, part of a two-drug regimen used in half of U.S. abortions. Medical professionals consider it safer than a surgical abortion.  Arguments are scheduled for March. The case stems from a lower court ruling in New Orleans restricting its use. Additionally, the high court is set to hear more cases that could further restrict abortion rights. The court plans to hear arguments in an Idaho case in which the state has banned abortions in emergency rooms. A ruling in favor of the law could have implications even in states with less stringent abortion bans because the federal law at issue applies to religiously affiliated hospitals that would otherwise decline to provide abortions if they receive federal funding.


Christopher S. Elmendorf is an expert on zoning and land-use issues.

‘Impact fees’

A dispute originating with a retiree in Placerville and El Dorado County over a $23,420 building fee has potential to affect local government budgets and housing markets across California. At issue is how far cities and counties must go to justify “impact fees” assessed on new construction projects in order to offset the impact new developments have on local infrastructure. Local governments, restricted by California law from raising property taxes and borrowing funds, rely on impact fees to pay for infrastructure like roads and sewer lines.

Homeless camping

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could change how far cities across the country can go when it comes to clearing and removing homeless camps from their streets. The case involves a dispute over whether an Oregon city can enforce its ban on public camping against homeless people. Elmendorf has discussed its potential impact on other cities in the media.

Social media and free speech

Ashutosh Bhagwat is an expert on free speech and the Supreme Court. The court is considering whether to uphold laws passed by Texas and Florida that restrict companies including Meta, YouTube, X and others from moderating the content that their users post online. The case could have implications on the posts that people and institutions make on social media during this presidential election cycle. In November 2015, ISIS terrorists carried out coordinated attacks across Paris, killing 130 people and injuring 400. Among the dead was Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American studying abroad. Lawyers for her family and others are in the Supreme Court challenging a law enacted more than a quarter century ago that protects social media companies from what the families see as the role of internet companies in aiding and abetting terrorist attacks.

Media Resources

Media Contacts:

  • Karen Nikos-Rose, News and Media Relations, 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu
  • Kelley Weiss, School of Law, kweiss@ucdavis.edu

Primary Category