Opening Day For SCOTUS: A Preview

Today opens the new term of the United States Supreme Court and, by all accounts, is a term that promises to offer plenty for court watchers to talk about.  Just a cursory review of the petitions pending include cases involving protesting military funerals, illegal immigration, privacy rights, and support for religious schools.  Many of these cases will be featured here at Care2 as the briefing and arguments unfold.

This term will be notable for a number of other reasons as well.  Ever since the controversial Citizens United decision the decisions, and indeed the personalities of the Supreme Court justices have become a greater focal point of public attention.    Chief Justice John Roberts has seemingly caught his leadership stride as the Court has moved further and further to the right under his guidance.  There’s no reason to think this term will be any different.

This term will also mark the first for former Solicitor General Elena Kagan as a sitting Supreme Court justice.  Her impact may be mollified somewhat as she has already recused herself from a significant number of cases pending before the Court, leaving open the possibility of a 4-4 split on many controversial issues.  To address this situation Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced legislation to allow the court to assign a retired justice to hear cases when an active justice is disqualified.  Ironically, it is the fact that the justices most likely to step in during such a situation, Justice David Souter and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, are widely seen as moderates has many wondering if the legislation stands a chance at passing given the highly partisan make-up of both the Senate and the confirmation process.

Needless to say, it promises to be an exciting term with plenty to write about.  It’s rare that we get to witness so many significant issues before the court as we do this term and, regardless of the outcomes, bear witness to history in the making.

photo courtesy of dbking via Flickr

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Dave Tohunga
Dave te tohunga5 years ago

My observation is that justice is dead in the USA, a victim, like the TRUTH of vested interests, of warmongers, of corruption, and bought and sold in the marketplace just as the politicians and judges are.
As usual, when justice fails the law is brought into disrepute and people take the law into their own hands.
When the justice system fails to bring to account torturers and mass murderers and allows them to continue and to be rewarded while poor people are imprisoned for 5 years and thus disenfranchised for inhaling a herb then the society is doomed.
There is neither honesty nor justice in americas.
Ask any native american.

Pamela G.
Pamela G.5 years ago

Well we have seen where the SCOTUS stands on corporations, their motto being "take a corporation to lunch" day. This new session should be fun. Gosh with Roberts at the helm, and trailing along behind with Scalia and Thomas - mediocracy rules.

Walter G.
Walter g.5 years ago

Unfortunately, when it comes to balance of power these days, 'The dog wag the tail.' This particular 'dog' has been sorely abused, and needs to be cleaned up after.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Amber S.
Amber S.5 years ago

i'll be watching...

Jean Muir
Jean Muir5 years ago

The nomination & appointment to the Supreme Court is certainly a political process, but the Justices are not suppose to be political -how much sense does that make?

Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS5 years ago


What happened was that the Evangicals and Fundamentalists got the bit between their teeth and started trying to shove their religion -- and ONLY *their* religion -- down everyone else's throats, by forcing prayer into schools and, even worse, into politics. Going by their personal lives and their actual actions, I'd be willing to bet that most of the politicians praying loudly and publicly in Congress, at the beginning of court sessions, public assemblies, etc. are only doing so because they know that the clueless Evangicals will vote for anybody whom they perceive as being the same type of sanctimonical Christian as they are, and all they see is the public praying and not the politicians' actual actions. And that's why the separation of church and state is in danger!

donald baumgartner

Welcome to the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK,should they make a mistake in the ruling {s}, we'll try again later!!@

Fred Urbasek
Past Member 5 years ago

Carol O. I can't give you a green star however I believe your comment deserves one.

Tierney G.
Tierney G.5 years ago

Oh great I can hardly wait for more crap to be thrown on us the american people.Oh and by the way the Citizens United case was a 100 year old amendment to the Constitution they "they" the Supreme court extreme righties overturned. They have messed with the Constitution is that not a no-no on the righties side?