An intense constitutional turf battle between Congress and the states is raging again in a trio of U.S. Supreme Court challenges this term. Combined with an unusual rash of hot-button First Amendment speech and religion cases, they foreshadow a volatile and potentially landmark year ahead for the nation’s highest court.

“What a term it is going to be,” says Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky, of the University of Southern California Law School. “I tell students and others that every so often there is a blockbuster of a term–the 1988-89 and 1996-97 terms, and now this one–with so many cases of enormous importance.”

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