The Supreme Court’s new term starts Monday, and the justices will rule on a number of significant issues. “There’s only one prediction that’s entirely safe of the upcoming term, and that is it will be momentous,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said last week.
From Nevada’s standpoint, perhaps the most compelling case involves New Jersey’s effort to legalize sports wagering. It’s possible the justices could go so far as to allow states across the country to offer legal betting on professional and college sports.
The court’s already noteworthy docket got more weighty last week when the justices agreed to hear a case out of Illinois that could vastly scale back the power of government unions. At issue is whether the state may compel nonunion workers to pay union dues supposedly earmarked for collective bargaining. If Big Labor loses this one, its cash pipeline to Democratic candidates may slow to a trickle.
Other major issues before the court:
— President Donald Trump’s effort to limit immigration from several majority-Muslin nations.
— The wedding cake issue. Was a refusal by a Colorado “cake artist” to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding covered by the First Amendment, or did it violate the state’s anti-discrimination laws? The court will hear the case in December.
— The gerrymandering controversy. In three previous cases, the Supreme Court has failed to clearly outline rules for drawing political districts. The court is slated to hear another case on the matter, from Wisconsin, this week.
— Privacy and the Fourth Amendment. The justices will decide whether the FBI and police need warrants before they can obtain cellphone data to track crime suspects or terrorists. As USA Today notes, while justices previously ruled police could not place GPS devices on suspects’ cars — and that they needed warrants to search information on cellphones seized in arrests — federal appeals courts have ruled that cellphone location data is OK. The case will be heard in December.
— The contentious voter access debate. Amid the commission Mr. Trump created to investigate voter fraud comes a case that will determine how — and, more importantly, when — voters may be purged from registration rolls. Ohio removes those who haven’t voted in two years, which, challengers say, violates federal law.
Other issues before the court include whether non-citizens slated for deportation can be jailed indefinitely or if they have a right to a bail hearing after six months.
All this will play out as Mr. Trump flexes his thumbs on Twitter. As USA Today reminds us, the president has not been shy about criticizing the courts and judges for stalling his immigration ban and tossing out his efforts to withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities. He also called Justice John Roberts a disaster for his support of Obamacare, and he says 84-year-old Justice Ginsburg needs to resign because “her mind is shot.”
At any rate, this term offers the justices a number of opportunities to reaffirm the principles of freedom and liberty enshrined in the Bill of Rights and our Constitution. Let’s hope they do exactly that.