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The U.S. Supreme Court has a habit of leaving the best for last. With roughly two weeks left in the current term, the court has 14 argued cases still to decide. They include blockbusters – a pair of cases testing state-university affirmative action, and a major gay rights case out of Texas. Some of the rest are no slouches: One asks whether a criminal defendant suffering mental disorder can be forcibly medicated to stand trial. Another tests the free speech rights of corporations. Yet another will decide the fate of a controversial trespassing ban in a Virginia housing project. The court’s schedule calls for the announcement of opinions on June 16 and June 23, but if past patterns hold, the justices will convene on additional days – not yet announced – as the end of the month approaches. Summaries of all remaining cases follow. Sell v. United States, No. 02-5664. Whether administering antipsychotic medication to a defendant against his will solely to render him competent to stand trial violates his rights under the First, Fifth and Sixth amendments. United States, et al. v. American Library Association, et al., No. 02-361. Whether the Children’s Internet Protection Act violates the First Amendment by inducing public libraries to install Internet-filtering software blocking information that is “harmful to minors.” Wiggins v. Smith, et al., No. 02-311. Whether defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance in violation of the Sixth Amendment by not conducting background investigations and presenting possible mitigating evidence at a capital sentencing hearing, due to the lawyer’s belief that to do either would undercut the defense strategy of raising doubt about the defendant’s guilt. Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, et al., No. 02-403. Whether the Federal Election Campaign Act’s prohibitions on corporate and labor union campaign contributions violate the First Amendment when applied to a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to engage in political advocacy. Overton, et al. v. Bazzetta, et al., No. 02-94. Whether the Michigan Department of Corrections’ restrictions on prisoners’ noncontact visitations violate the First, Eighth, and 14th amendments. Lawrence, et al. v. Texas, No. 02-102. Whether defendants’ criminal convictions under Texas’ “homosexual conduct” law – which criminalizes sexual acts by same-sex couples – violate equal protection and due process under the 14th Amendment. Stogner v. California, No. 01-1757. Whether a California statute that retroactively changes the statute of limitations and, thus, revives a previously expired cause of action in a criminal case violates the Ex Post Facto and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Grutter v. Bollinger, et al., No. 02-241. Whether the University of Michigan Law School’s use of racial preferences in student admissions violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and federal anti-discrimination statutes; whether an appellate court that is required to apply strict scrutiny to governmental race-based preferences should review district court findings de novo when the factual issues are constitutional in nature. Gratz, et al. v. Bollinger, et al., No. 02-516. Whether the University of Michigan’s use of racial preferences in undergraduate admissions violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and federal anti-discrimination statutes. Green Tree Financial Corp. v. Bazzle, et al., No. 02-634. Whether, under the Federal Arbitration Act, classwide arbitration is permissible when the arbitration agreement is silent regarding class actions. American Insurance Association, et al. v. Garamendi, No. 02-722. Whether California’s Holocaust Victim Insurance Relief Act can constitutionally require an insurance company licensed to do business in California to disclose information related to an insurance claim even though that information may be in the hands of a related entity located in a foreign country. Nike Inc., et al. v. Kasky, No. 02-575. Whether the First Amendment protects a corporation from liability for factual inaccuracies in letters and statements addressed to the general public in response to allegations of misconduct on the part of the corporation. Georgia v. Ashcroft, et al., No. 02-182. Whether a Georgia state Senate redistricting plan has the purpose and/or effect of abridging the right to vote on account of race or color. Virginia v. Hicks, No. 02-371. Whether a housing authority’s trespass policy violates the First Amendment; whether a criminal defendant may challenge that policy as overbroad on First Amendment grounds even though his own offense did not involve any expressive conduct and his conduct was not proscribed by that portion of the policy he challenges as overbroad.

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