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By adding two domestic-law-related challenges that raise issues of federalism and fundamental rights to its docket, the U.S. Supreme Court has lengthened the list of potentially landmark rulings in the new term.

Less than a week before the Oct. 4 term opening, the justices agreed to decide whether Congress exceeded its lawmaking power under the commerce clause and Sec. 5 of the 14th Amendment when it created a civil remedy for victims of gender-motivated violence in the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The combined appeals–U.S. v. Morrison, No. 99-5, and Brzonkala v. Morrison, No. 99-29–constitute the fourth, and perhaps most consequential, federalism challenge on the new docket.

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