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 In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries 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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs