WASHINGTON, DC (AP) – The Supreme Court opens a new term on Monday, hearing arguments for the first time after the summer break and with new judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. The court has already announced that it will deal with a number of important issues, including affirmative action, voting rights and LGBTQ rights. Judges will add more cases to their list in the coming months.

Let’s take a look at some of the cases the court has already approved. The judges are expected to settle each case before the summer recess at the end of June:


In cases from Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, a court may conclude all race considerations on admission to college. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the Supreme Court has been asked many times over the past 20 years to end affirmative action in higher education. In previous Michigan and Texas cases, a court affirmed the validity of considering the race of applicants among a number of factors. But this court is more conservative than its predecessors.



The court may further limit protection for minority voters in its third important aspect in the 10-year landmark law on voting rights that was passed to combat persistent racial discrimination in voting. The case before the judges is in Alabama, where only one of the state’s seven congressional districts has a black majority. This is even despite the fact that 27% of the state’s population is black. A three-member panel of judges, including two nominated by President Donald Trump, agreed that the state should create a second black majority constituency, but the Supreme Court halted any changes and said it would consider the case. A ruling on behalf of the state could remove all but the most obvious instances of intentional race discrimination.



Republicans are asking judges to adopt a new legal concept that would limit state court oversight of Congressional elections. The North Carolina Supreme Court rejected the state’s congress map that gave Republicans a crooked advantage in a tightly split state, and eventually produced a map that essentially evenly divided the state’s 14 congressional districts between Democrats and Republicans. The state government argues that the state courts have no role to play in congressional elections, including redistrictions, because the US Constitution gives this power only to state legislatures. Four conservative judges expressed different levels of openness to the theory of an “independent legislature”.



This is another case in which a court is asked to overrule an earlier ruling and loosen property regulation under the supreme national law on combating water pollution. The case concerns an Idaho couple who won an earlier high court round trying to build a house on a property near a lake without obtaining permission under the Clean Water Act. The result could change the rules for millions of acres of wetland property.



The Biden administration returned to the Supreme Court to argue for a change in immigration policy from the Trump administration. He appeals against the judgment against Biden’s policy of prioritizing the deportation of people in the country who pose the greatest threat to public security. In the last term, judges by 5-4 votes paved the way for the administration to end Trump’s policy of requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for a court hearing. In July, also by a vote of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court refused the administration to introduce political guidelines on deportation. Trump-era policies favored the illegal deportation of people to the country, regardless of criminal history or social connections.



A new clash over religion, freedom of expression and LGBTQ rights will also be brought to justice. The case concerns Colorado graphic designer and web designer Lorie Smith who wants to expand her business and offer services related to a wedding website. She says her Christian beliefs would lead her to reject any request by a same-s*x couple to design a wedding website, putting her in conflict with Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.

The case is a new opportunity for judges to confront issues that the court missed five years ago in the case of a baker who objected to making biscuits for same-s*x weddings. The court has since become more conservative.


Native American ADOPTION

In November, a court will review federal laws that give Native Americans priority in adopting Native children. The case presents the most significant legal challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act since its enactment in 1978. The law has long been defended by Native American leaders as a means of protecting their families and culture. In April, a federal appeals court upheld Congress’ right and authority to pass it. But the judges also found certain provisions of the law unconstitutional, including the preference for placing Native American children in Native American adoptive and foster homes.



Also on the judges menu: California Animal Rights Act. The case stems from the 2018 voting procedure, in which California voters banned the sale of pork in a state if the pig it came from or the mother pig was raised in a confined setting preventing them from lying down or turning around. Two farming associations challenging the law claim that hardly any farm meets these conditions. They say the “enormous costs of compliance” “will fall almost exclusively to farmers out of state” and that these costs will be passed on to consumers nationwide.



Settlement by a court of a dispute over the works of artist Andy Warhol could have serious ramifications in the world of art and beyond. Lawyers say if Warhol’s side loses a copyright dispute over the image Warhol did with musician Prince, other artwork could be at risk. But the flip side argues that if Warhol wins, it will license other artists to blatant duplication.

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