The U.S. Supreme Court this term will have one of the most significant dockets in recent history.
With the new Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court has begun one of the most significant dockets in recent memory. A look at the cases that the Court will consider:
- White House Travel Ban – The Court is widely expected to hold that the litigation regarding President Donald Trump’s travel ban cannot move forward. The Administration recently announced a new travel ban, thereby withdrawing the previous band. Trump’s new ban likely renders the previous case moot, meaning that the new travel ban essentially cancels out the arguments about the previous ban because it has been rescinded. The Court is expected by some analysts to find the litigation “moot.”
- Immigration – Sessions v. Dimaya is about the question of whether the government can deport lawful permanent citizens for criminal convictions. During the previous term, before Gorsuch rose to the Court, the Justices appeared to have a 4-4 split on the case. The Court then decided to hold off on a decision until Gorsuch could consider the case and, thereby, break the tie, rendering a decision. In Jennings v. Rodriguez, the Court will consider arguments from individuals, scheduled or possibly eligible for deportation, who were held in detention for long periods of time. After six months in detention, these individuals argue, among other things, that their Due Process rights have been violate.
- Voting Rights v. Politics – Wisconsin Democrats brought this case challenging Republican-drawn voting districts. The Democrats argue that the maps are unconstitutional insofar as they were developed in secret and unconstitutionally favor Republicans. This sort of back-and-forth between parties is common: in some states, including North Carolina, when Democrats held a majority of the legislature, they also drew maps to favor their party. But this case will challenge the political practice of drawing maps to favor a party “gerrymandering” against the fundamental right of voting.
- Cakes, Creativity v. Gay Marriage – One of the more well-reported cases is that of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for an engaged gay couple, citing his religious belief against gay marriage. Phillips argues that he is an artist and, therefore, forcing him to “create” a cake for the couple violates his First Amendment and goes against sincerely held religious beliefs. The couple, on the other hand, argue that, this case is similar to previous cases, including a barbecue restaurant that refused to sell to African Americans.
- Cell Phone Privacy v. Police – Police often use cell phone tower data to track suspects’ movements. As the suspect travels, their cell phone “pings,” or communicates with first one and then another cell tower along his route. Officers use this in criminal cases. The case before the Court asks whether police need a warrant to get such information. The cards are somewhat stacked against those who argue that a warrant is required: courts have previously ruled that cell phone data has a diminished (lower) level of privacy because much of the data has been provided already to cell phone carriers/providers.
Tough subjects for the Court. Legal problems are complicated: at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, we are dedicated to helping you with your legal needs. Contact us.