The Supreme Court term that, by law, begins on the first Monday in October includes several high-profile cases dealing with controversial social issues or with the potential to affect millions of Americans. The justices probably won't hear the dispute over President Trump's travel ban, originally scheduled for October, now that he's issued a new policy that has yet to be examined by lower courts. The AP takes a look at some of the biggest cases being heard in the new term, with argument dates in parentheses:
- Employee rights (Monday): The term's first case will decide whether businesses can enforce part of a contract with their employees that prohibits workers from taking complaints about pay, working conditions, and other issues to court, and also forces them to engage in individual arbitration, rather than a group effort. Workers say the provision contained in millions of contracts violates federal labor laws; employers argue the federal law encouraging arbitration trumps the labor laws.
- Wedding cake for same-sex couple (unscheduled): The case stems from a Colorado baker's religious objections to making a cake for a recently married same-sex couple. At issue is the baker's claim that he shouldn't be forced to produce a message with which he disagrees versus the Colorado law that bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Trump administration backs the baker.
- Partisan redistricting (Tuesday): The legal fight over redistricting in Wisconsin has the potential to reshape American politics. The justices could, for the first time, impose limits on drawing political maps for partisan advantage. Democratic voters sued over redistricting plans that entrenched Republicans' hold on state government in a state that's otherwise closely divided between the parties.
- Sports betting (unscheduled): New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is appealing court rulings that effectively prevent the state from making it legal to bet on pro and college sports games at casinos and racetracks. Christie, whose term expires at the end of the year, almost certainly will be out of office when the case is decided, but it could lead several states to seek a share of the estimated $150 billion that's bet illegally on sports each year. The NCAA and major professional sports leagues oppose Christie's effort.
- Cell tower site records (unscheduled): In a case about privacy in the digital age, a Michigan man convicted in a string of robberies of stores selling cellphones and other equipment says the police shouldn't have been able to obtain months' worth of records of his cellphone use without first getting a search warrant. The records helped place him in the proximity of the stores when they were robbed. The decision is likely to affect the privacy rules for a raft of digital data held by large institutions, including banks, telephone companies, and internet providers.
There's also a case on Ohio voter purging (Nov. 8), as well as a still-unscheduled case on union "fair share" fees
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