High Court's Jammed Term: Campaign Finance, Abortion

ObamaCare, affirmative action once again on docket

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 7, 2013 7:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court begins its new term today, and once again, there are plenty of headline-grabbing cases on the docket, the New York Times notes. In fact, says an expert, "this term is deeper in important cases than either of the prior two terms." A number of court precedents, including matters of free speech and abortion, could be overruled, the Times points out. The conservative majority could "really knock ... the few legs out of prior, more liberal precedents," a court watcher tells NPR. Among the key cases:

  • McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission will weigh in on how much money one donor can hand to all federal candidates. The ruling, which challenges laws in place since the 1970s, could allow candidates to seek, say, $1 million or more from a single person, Politico reports.

  • National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning will address the president's power to make appointments during a Senate recess, which dodges the hurdle of lawmakers' approval.
  • Abortion-related cases include McCullen v. Coakley, which reassesses a previous decision limiting public protests near reproductive clinics; that precedent looks likely to be knocked down, says a lawyer. Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice considers states' rights to restrict abortion drug availability.
  • Can religious leaders offer prayer at the start of city council meetings? Justices will address the question in Town of Greece (in New York state) v. Galloway.
  • Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action will see the court assess an affirmative-action issue: Do Michigan voters have the authority to ban the consideration of race in college admissions?
  • And once again, ObamaCare is facing a challenge, this time to the requirement that employers provide contraceptive coverage—a rule firms say hurts their religious freedom.

In this Oct. 8, 2010, file photo members of the U.S. Supreme Court. Seated from left are: Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing, from left...   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
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