News / USA

US Supreme Court Opens Term With Crucial Cases

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for a group portrait at the Supreme Court in Washington, October 2010. (file photo)
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for a group portrait at the Supreme Court in Washington, October 2010. (file photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court opened its annual term Monday, and legal analysts say the High Court is likely to rule on some high-profile domestic issues in the months ahead that could have an impact on next year’s presidential election.

Legal experts say it is likely the nine-member Supreme Court will take up the question of whether President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform is constitutional. Obama administration officials recently asked that the high court take up the health care law, which already faces several challenges from individuals and states in the lower courts.

At the heart of the issue is whether a mandate in the law requiring Americans to buy health insurance is permissible under the U.S. Constitution.

The controversial health care law continues to be a main point of attack for the Republican presidential candidates and a High Court decision by next June could have a political impact on next year’s U.S. presidential election.

Texas Governor and presidential contender Rick Perry promised to strike down the health care law during a campaign appearance in New Hampshire.

“On my first day in office I will pull out probably a Sharpie [pen] and I will put my signature to an executive order to wipe out as much of Obama-care as I can using that technique,” said Perry.

Analysts say it is hard to predict how the High Court would rule on the conservative challenge to the health care law. Miguel Estrada argued several cases before the Supreme Court as an official with the Justice Department in the 1990s.

“The issues are really hard. Every time you ask the Supreme Court to overturn an act of Congress, it is a very difficult thing for the court to do. And Congress comes to the Supreme Court with a presumption of deference [to Congress] and constitutionality,” said Estrada.

In addition to the health care law, the Supreme Court also could take up a controversial immigration law in Arizona that allows police officers to check immigration papers of people they suspect may be in the country illegally. The Obama administration opposes the law and says it could lead to racial profiling.

The High Court also is expected to consider various cases involving privacy rights, as well as the power of the federal government to regulate offensive content on television.

Legal experts expect several significant rulings over the next several months from a court led by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society, said, “The Supreme Court’s October 2011 term has the potential to be a real blockbuster. Already on the court’s docket are questions about whether the government can place a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s car without first obtaining a warrant.”

The so-called GPS case involves the question of whether police need to secure a court warrant before placing a Global Positioning System device to the car of a suspected drug dealer, one of several privacy cases due to come before the High Court this term.

The court remains ideologically split with four justices regularly voting as a conservative bloc and four others generally making up a liberal faction. Justice Anthony Kennedy is seen as a moderate or swing vote, who often casts the deciding vote in cases that split the court along liberal and conservative lines.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs