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While dodging the Microsoft matter, the Supreme Court on Tuesday added 12 new cases to its docket. Among the new litigants now before the Court: an alleged marijuana farmer, a disabled golfer, a jailhouse lawyer, and a driver’s license applicant who doesn’t speak English. So far, the justices have granted certiorari in 47 cases, filling the docket through January. That puts the Court slightly ahead of last term, when the justices set a record low for modern times by issuing only 74 decisions. Last term included major rulings regarding abortion, school prayer, grandparents’ rights and other hot-button issues. This term is shaping up to be quirkier, with the government’s power of search and seizure under particular scrutiny. One of the cases the Court said it would hear, Kyllo v. United States, fits squarely into that category. Danny Kyllo is challenging on Fourth Amendment grounds charges from a 1992 drug bust. Police had aimed a heat-detection device at Kyllo’s Oregon home and concluded he was using high-intensity lamps to grow marijuana. Kyllo argues that the use of thermal imaging devices is a warrantless search since the marijuana plants were not in “plain view” of police officers in the street. In 1998, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed by a 2-1 vote. However, when one judge resigned, the panel was reconstituted and then voted 2-1 to reverse the decision, leading Kyllo to the Supreme Court. Thermal imaging devices can reveal not only high-intensity lamps, Kyllo’s brief to the high court says, but also two people embracing. The technology “strips the citizenry of the most basic boundary of personal privacy,” the brief argues. The government responds that Kyllo had no expectation of privacy from police who were on a public street, using a device available to the general public to detect heat. Next month, the justices are scheduled to hear a states’ rights challenge of the Americans With Disabilities Act. In taking PGA Tour v. Martin, the justices have added a second ADA case, one more likely to spark the public’s interest than yet another argument over federalism. The case surrounds golfer Casey Martin, who suffers from a circulatory problem that keeps him from walking the entire 18-hole course. He sued the PGA Tour for not bending its rules and letting him use a motorized cart in tournaments. Martin argues that a cart is a “reasonable accommodation” required under the ADA, but tour officials complained that carts “fundamentally alter” the competition of a golf match, making the accommodation unreasonable. The 9th Circuit sided with Martin in March. But two days later, in a similar case involving golfer Ford Olinger, the 7th Circuit ruled the other way. In another case out of the 9th Circuit, the justices accepted Shaw v. Murphy, which could give prison inmates a novel First Amendment right. The 9th Circuit ruled that a Montana jailhouse lawyer had a First Amendment right to contact other inmates to offer them legal help. Montana officials claim that five other federal circuits disagree. At the end of last term, the high court declined to get involved in the Elian Gonzalez case, but on Tuesday the justices agreed to hear two matters of great interest to immigrants. In Nguyen v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Court will review the constitutionality of immigration rules that make it harder for out-of-wedlock children of American fathers to become citizens than for out-of-wedlock children of American mothers. The case deals with the daughter of a Vietnamese woman and an American serviceman. The 5th Circuit upheld the rules. In Alexander v. Sandoval, the Court will review Alabama’s policy of issuing drivers’ tests only in English. A federal judge and the 11th Circuit held that the English-only tests violate Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Other cases the high court accepted were: � National Labor Relations Board v. Kentucky River Community Care, which deals with determination of “supervisor” status under the National Labor Relations Act; � Buckhannon Board and Care Home Inc. v. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, which looks at the “catalyst theory” to award attorney fees; � District of Columbia v. Tri County Industries Inc., which examines the power of a district court to overturn jury awards; � Department of the Interior v. Klamath Water Users, which deals with irrigators’ third-party water rights under a contract between the federal government and an Oregon power company; � Buford v. United States,which reviews whether a judge may enter separate sentences for crimes consolidated for trial; � Murphy v. Beck, dealing with whether oral evidence can show that a bank in federal receivership entered into a joint venture; and � Shafer v. South Carolina,dealing with a judge’s refusal to tell a jury that a convicted murderer would not be eligible for parole if sentenced to life imprisonment.

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