After fanning out and speaking out across the globe this summer — at one event, Justice Elena Kagan confessed the justices need a break from each other — the U.S. Supreme Court returns to the bench Monday, October 7.
The justices face a broad range of issues, ranging from abortion to prayer in public places, campaign finance to affirmative action. Here, at a glance, are 10 of the cases most worth following.
Bond v. U.S.: On its second trip to the Supreme Court, this case has turned from a nasty “lover’s triangle” fight in Pennsylvania into a multilayered, major test of congressional power to implement treaties through legislation. The case, set for argument November 5, will likely feature former solicitor general Paul Clement.
Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice: This could be the court’s biggest abortion ruling since 2007 — or not. It tests an Oklahoma law that regulates drugs used for so-called “medical abortions.” Before scheduling it for argument, justices want the Oklahoma Supreme Court to clarify the law’s meaning.
DaimlerChrysler v. Bauman: Can a human rights lawsuit based on the car company’s activities in Argentina be litigated in the United States just because it has a subsidiary here? This follow-on to last term’s Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum case will be argued October 15.
EPA v. EME Homer City Generation: The Environmental Protection Agency seeks to overturn a D.C. Circuit ruling that struck down the agency’s “transport rule,” regulating air pollution that originates in one state but harms other states. The case will be argued December 10.
McCullen v. Coakley: The court revisits the knotty First Amendment issue of abortion-clinic buffer zones and whether protestors can be banned in public areas near clinics. On the protestors’ team is Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. No date is set for argument.
McCutcheon v. FEC: Could this case, testing contribution limits to multiple campaigns, be the undoing of Buckley v. Valeo and make it almost impossible to enact campaign finance regulation? The argument, scheduled for October 10, could signal whether justices want to move incrementally instead.
Mt. Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action: In cases of housing discrimination, is it enough to offer statistics showing that minorities are treated differently? Mt. Holly, a New Jersey town, says no, and has Sidley Austin’s Carter Phillips in its corner. Argument is set for December 4, unless the parties settle.
NLRB v. Noel Canning: The validity of hundreds of National Labor Relations decisions hangs in the balance of this case asking the court to define the scope of the president’s power to appoint NLRB and other officials during congressional recesses. The case is not yet scheduled for argument.
Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action: Michigan’s constitutional ban on affirmative action, enacted in a 2006 ballot initiative, goes before the high court on October 15, and is likely to produce a split decision like last term’s Fisher v. University of Texas case on affirmative action. Justice Elena Kagan is recused.
Town of Greece v. Galloway: Thirty years ago the court gave its blessing in Marsh v. Chambers to traditional prayers before legislative sessions. The issue returns in this case from a New York town where the vast majority of premeeting prayers have been Christian. Oral argument is set for November 6.
Contact Tony Mauro at firstname.lastname@example.org.