- - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

America Magazine helps us look ahead to the next term of the U.S. Supreme Court that begins in October, asking the question, “What Will SCOTUS Take Up This Year? 

Here is a brief summary of their answer to the question. Read the entire article and stay informed about important legal developments.

(1) Death Penalty and Life Imprisonment

“The court will hear three death penalty cases and one life imprisonment case within the first month it is in session, but other cases may be added as states set execution dates for death row inmates.”

(2) Voting Rights and Redistricting

“The two scheduled redistricting cases, one from Arizona and another from Texas, will not be heard before the November elections, but they are of great importance as they get to the heart of our democratic process and the “one-person, one-vote” principle that was established by the court during the 1960’s.” 

(3) Tribal Authority

“In Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the court will decide an important issue for tribal independence. If the Choctaw Indians win, nonmember individuals and companies that do business on tribal lands will be subject to tribal courts for civil damages even regarding issues that are not necessary to protect self-governance or important to internal tribal relations. The case involves a store manager who allegedly molested a tribal member employed at a store located on tribal lands. The tribal member brought a lawsuit against the manager and corporate owner of the store in tribal court; the defendants contend the tribal court has no authority over them.”

(4) Labor Law and Free Speech

“A case brought by California public school teachers threatens to undermine collective bargaining for millions of government workers.  …If the Court rules in favor of the teachers and declares automatic non-union payroll deductions an unconstitutional infringement on First Amendment rights, the ability of public sector unions to represent government employees would be seriously impaired.”

(5) Water Rights 

“As fires rage and the record drought worsens throughout the northwest, water rights cases may gather increased attention. Last term the court decided a tri-state dispute between Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. This term it will hear cases that pit Florida against Georgia in a dispute over river water usage, and Mississippi against Tennessee in a controversy regarding ground water.”

(6) Possible Cases

“The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to hear religious freedom challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, but it is likely they will as the lower courts of appeals now are split on whether Health and Human Services regulations place too great a burden on religious objectors.

The court also may take a case from the Ninth Circuit that denied a religious objector’s challenge to Washington State’s requirement that pharmacies fill prescriptions for abortifacients.

In addition, cases regarding state health requirements for abortion clinics and religious objections to same-sex marriage brought by both government officials and private business owners may find their way to the justices who work at 1 First Street, NE, Washington, D.C.”


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