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The Supreme Court’s 2002-03 term has produced a series of blockbuster cases, and next term promises to produce landmark decisions as well. The 2003-04 term will be unusual for the way it will begin. The first Monday in October is the Court’s traditional opening day after its summer recess. But not this year — for two reasons. First, Yom Kippur falls on Monday, Oct. 6, so the Court announced it would begin its regular oral argument calendar the day after the Jewish holiday. Second, the Court will, in a sense, begin its work for the fall term before the term actually begins in October. It has scheduled four hours of argument Sept. 8 on the 12 cases challenging or supporting the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in the aftermath of the splintered May 2 opinion of a three-judge D.C. panel. The Court, heeding the law’s mandate for expedited review, scheduled the extraordinary sitting. Parties hope the early argument schedule will help the Court decide the myriad issues before the 2004 presidential campaign begins in earnest. In addition to the consolidated campaign finance cases, the Court has already granted review in 38 cases that will be heard in the fall term. Among the issues they raise: • Church and state: In Locke v. Davey, No. 02-1315, the Court will scrutinize a Washington state regulation that makes theology majors ineligible for state-funded scholarships. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the rule discriminates against religion in violation of the First Amendment. The case also represents the first time since its 2002 endorsement of school voucher programs that the Court will look at so-called Blaine amendments, provisions of many state constitutions enacted decades ago that strictly bar the use of tax dollars for any religious purpose. • Miranda rights: Three cases will test the Court’s continued fealty to Miranda v. Arizona, the 1966 ruling protecting suspects’ right to remain silent in police inquiries. United States v. Patane, No. 02-1183, asks whether physical evidence obtained as a result of “un-Mirandized” police questioning must be suppressed at trial in the same way that the suspect’s statements are. In Missouri v. Seibert, No. 02-1371, the issue is whether statements made after Miranda warnings are admissible, when the questioning began with police intentionally failing to give the Miranda warning. A similar issue is posed by Fellers v. United States, No. 02-6320, in which John Fellers of Lincoln, Neb., confessed to drug use both before and after being given his Miranda warning. The 8th Circuit said the second statement was admissible, rejecting Fellers’ argument that both should be suppressed. • Disabilities Act: The case of Tennessee v. Lane, No. 02-1667, once again presents the question of whether states can be sued under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act — this time under Title II, which covers governmental entities. Two previous cases raising the issue were resolved or withdrawn before the Court could rule. In the new case, paraplegics George Lane and Beverly Jones challenge Tennessee under the law because they were unable to gain access to state courthouses. Appeals courts are split over whether Congress properly abrogated states’ 11th Amendment immunity when it passed the ADA in 1990. • Fourth Amendment: Several cases deal with police searches of cars and homes. Among them are United States v. Banks, No. 02-473, and Illinois v. Lidster, No. 02-1060. The issue in Banks is whether law enforcement officers violated the Fourth Amendment when, in the course of executing a search warrant to look for illegal drugs, they forcibly entered an apartment only 15 or 20 seconds after knocking and announcing their presence. The 9th Circuit said they should have waited longer to determine if the suspect inside was fleeing or resisting the search. In Illinois, the dispute is over searches that took place during a 1997 police roadblock aimed at finding witnesses to a hit-and-run accident. Robert Lidster was arrested for drunken driving after his car was stopped. The Illinois Supreme Court said the search was unconstitutional. • Freedom of information: The Court will rule on the scope of the privacy exemption to the Freedom of Information Act in Office of Independent Counsel v. Favish, No. 02-954. The case stems from a FOIA request by California lawyer Allan Favish for photographs from federal investigations of the death of Clinton White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster Jr. The 9th Circuit said some photographs should be released, but that withholding others was appropriate.

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