Supreme Court term begins with contentious topics
By The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 7:39 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is beginning a new term with controversial issues that offer the court's conservative majority the chance to move aggressively to undo limits on campaign contributions, undermine claims of discrimination in housing and mortgage lending, and allow for more government-sanctioned prayer.
Assuming the government shutdown doesn't get in their way, the justices also will deal with a case that goes to the heart of the partisan impasse in Washington: whether and when the president may use recess appointments to fill key positions without Senate confirmation.
The court was unaffected for the first few days of the government shutdown, and there was no expectation that arguments set for October would have to be rescheduled.
The new term that starts Monday may be short on the sort of high-profile battles over health care and gay marriage that marked the past two years. But several cases ask the court to overrule prior decisions — bold action in an institution that relies on the power of precedent.
“There are an unusual number of cases going right to hot-button cultural issues and aggressive briefing on the conservative side asking precedents to be overruled,” said Georgetown University law professor Pamela Harris, who served in President Obama's Justice Department.
Paul Clement, a frequent advocate before the court and the top Supreme Court lawyer under President George W. Bush, agreed that the opportunity exists for dramatic precedent-busting decisions. But Clement said each case also offers the court “an off-ramp,” a narrower outcome that may be more in keeping with Chief Justice John Roberts' stated desire for incremental decision-making that bridges the court's ideological divide.
There is a familiar ring to several cases the justices will take up.
Campaign finance, affirmative action, legislative prayer and abortion clinic protests are all on the court's calendar. The justices will hear for the second time the case of Carol Anne Bond, a woman who was convicted under an anti-terrorism law for spreading deadly chemicals around the home of her husband's mistress.
The justices probably will decide this fall whether to resolve competing lower court decisions about the new health care law's requirement that employer-sponsored health plans include coverage of contraceptives.
An issue with a good chance to be heard involves the authority of police to search the contents of a cellphone found on someone they arrest. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said over the summer that the right to privacy in the digital age “is bound to come up in many forms” in the years ahead.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Affluenza’ family won’t pay full rehab fee
- Recovery expert believes wreckage of missing plane located
- Heroin-related deaths set record in Ohio
- Android systems running 4.1.1 softward carry Heartbleed bug
- 50 years later, ‘flying housewife’ Mock recalls fun of becoming first woman pilot to fly around the world
- Obama, House Republicans trade accusations in thwarting immigration reform
- Denver wife killed 12 minutes into 911 call, sparking inquiry
- Imam’s influence detailed as NYC terror trial begins
- Deal reached in Ukraine crisis talks, but U.S. remains wary of Russia’s end game
- 7 clever chimps devise way to break out of zoo enclosure
- Military dog that saved patrol retires in Tampa with honors