The Supreme Court of the United State is set to resume session on Monday, and there are several landmark cases scheduled to take place in the near future.
A major hot topic will be abortion, as states are making efforts to limit the practice and regulate clinics and doctors. Religious institutions are particularly involved, as they believe it is their right to refuse to offer women terminations to complicated or unwanted pregnancies.
Some people are arguing that abortion clinics and their doctors must meet the same standards required for hospitals and surgical centers. Facilities that do not meet such guidelines would be shut down. Those in favor of this ruling claim that high standards are needed in order to protect the health of women. However, others are stating that this would harm poorer women who would be unable to access such services due to rising costs and a reduced number of facilities. Many believe that the possible requirement has the actual goal of reducing the number of abortions, rather than improving women’s health.
Immigration will be another discussion point for the court, with many people questioning President Barack Obama’s right to provide semi-legal status to millions of immigrants in the United States who came to the country illegally when they were children.
A major case for labor unions is set to take place, as teachers from California are claiming that being forced to pay union fees is a violation of their First Amendment rights. They believe that unions should be required to obtain permission before collecting the fees that are going to be used for political purposes. Under the current system, objecting employees must opt out of the union to avoid paying fees.
The court will also address a major case on affirmative action, as the constitutionality of the law school program of the University of Texas is being questioned. Rejected applicant Abigail Fisher claims that she was not allowed entry into the program because of her race. The case had previously been in the Supreme Court, where it was ruled that affirmative action programs must be handed with “strict scrutiny”, but they were not necessarily unconstitutional. Making a ruling in support of Fisher here could result in a major blow to both affirmative action and racial and ethnic diversity in public institutions across the United States.
One Texas case could shift political influence away from densely-populated urban areas and provide suburban and rural areas with more voting power. The case is questioning whether or not the legislative districts of states should be allowed to be appointed by using the number of eligible voters in the district instead of the total number of people in the district, regardless of whether or not they can vote. Since immigrants and children cannot vote, some people believe that they should not be counted. If only eligible voters are to be counted, then rural areas would gain power, since there tends to be fewer immigrants and fewer children in these areas. The ruling could affect Congressional redistricting in the future.
Religious nonprofit institutions are filing lawsuits arguing that Obamacare’s process for letting them opt out of the policy’s contraception requirement forces to them to violate their religious beliefs. Many judges are asking the Supreme Court to intervene by overturning the refusal of lower courts to protect religious parties from penalties for not filling out paperwork that triggers the contraception exemption while setting in motion coverage from others.
With many intense court cases lined up, it’s clear that the Supreme Court of the United States is ready for a busy fall session of 2015.