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After its summer recess, the Supreme Court will return in October to cases ranging from juvenile executions and racial segregation to wine trading and medicinal marijuana. More than 35 cases have been granted certiorari already, and the court will continue to add to the docket in private conferences when they reconvene after summer recess. So far, a select few cases are likely to grab the spotlight during the 2004-05 term. “One thing that strikes me about this upcoming term is the high number of criminal cases,” said Georgetown University Law Center Professor Richard Lazarus, “and the biggest criminal case is probably Roper v. Simmons.“ In Roper, No. 03-633, the court will rule on whether the death penalty for juvenile defendants constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth and 14th amendments. The court declined to prohibit such executions in the 1989 case Stanford v. Kentucky, but it will revisit the issue to rule on whether 16- and 17-year-old defendants may be constitutionally put to death under the “evolving standards of decency” test. In Johnson v. California, No. 03-636, the court will address whether California’s practice of segregating prisoners for the first 60 days of their incarceration violates the equal protection clause. Although Brown v. Board of Education abolished school segregation more than 50 years ago, government-supported racial segregation is still a common practice in the state’s prisons. Also, the court will examine age discrimination against workers over the age of 40 in Smith v. City of Jackson, Mississippi, No. 03-1160. Currently, older workers must prove their employers’ intent to discriminate against them because of their age; merely demonstrating “disparate impact” does not establish a prima facie case under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The court will decide whether the ADEA should be reinterpreted to allow these “disparate impact” claims. The court will also consider laws that make it illegal for wineries to ship their wares directly to private out-of-state customers. Plaintiffs in New York and Michigan have challenged these laws in Granholm v. Heald, No. 03-1116, Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association v. Heald, No. 03-1120, and Swedenburg v. Kelly, No. 03-1274. Finally, in Ashcroft v. Raich, No. 03-1454, the court will decide whether Congress has the power under the commerce clause to regulate the medicinal use of homegrown marijuana.

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