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The new term of the U.S. Supreme Court is unlikely to match the prior one for drama, historic acts and the number of blockbuster decisions. But the docket is chock full of potentially major challenges concerning health care, the intersection of religion and LGBT discrimination, a battle over grand jury materials in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and a billion-dollar showdown between tech giants Google and Oracle.

Last term, the nation witnessed a series of “firsts” involving the court: In the middle of January arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., for the first time, presided over impeachment of a president. The court cancelled oral arguments in March and April because of the coronavirus. The justices heard historic telephonic arguments in 10 cases in May with live audio available to the public. And the usually silent Justice Clarence Thomas participated fully in all 10 arguments.

Substantively, Roberts emerged clearly at the court’s center, using his position to steer the court to moderate rulings in such highly politicized cases as the separation-of-powers battle over President Donald Trump’s taxes and financial materials and the plight of so-called “dreamers” brought to this country by their undocumented parents.

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Marcia Coyle

Marcia Coyle, based in Washington, covers the U.S. Supreme Court. Contact her at [email protected]. On Twitter: @MarciaCoyle

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