Supreme Court Term Begins… With One Less Associate Justice.
As Congress continues to grapple with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, justices began the latest term with one less justice.
Kavanaugh, the nominee slated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, continues to weave through his confirmation process amid sexual assault allegations. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced his nomination to the full floor of the Senate Friday, but a final vote on his confirmation has been held up pending an investigation into the claims by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Even if it is Kavanaugh who is confirmed, the next justice will miss the first round of oral arguments on cases in front of the court this term.
One of the biggest cases the court could hear this term is on the constitutionality of Trump’s decision to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program which currently protects nearly 800,000 children that were illegally brought to the United States by their parents.
The saving grace here is that the court accepts cases and petitions throughout the nine-month term rather than accepting them all at once.
Here are other cases the court could take up during the term:
- The case of an Alabama man who is currently on death row, but has now been declared with a mental disability. Vernon Madison, 67, is claiming protection under the Eighth Amendment barring against cruel and unusual punishment. A lower court decision stayed the execution.
- In Maryland, a cross was erected for residents of Prince George’s County for World War I veterans who died in action. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the cross violates the separation of church and state and ruled that the cross either be removed or altered.
- There are potentially three cases, which could be rolled into one, that involve discrimination in the workplace. One case involved a worker with child welfare services who was falsely accused of mismanaging funds and later fired for being gay. The second case involves a now-deceased skydiving instructor who was terminated from their job based on sexual orientation. A third case involves a funeral director terminated after it was learned she was transgender.
- Congressional powers could come into question in a case involving a man who failed to register as a sex offender in Maryland and New York. The man argued that the registration rule does not apply as he was convicted in 2005, prior to the sex offender law and that the U.S. attorney general cannot retroactively enforce the law.
- Redistricting by state legislatures could also find ears with the Court. In North Carolina, the state’s governing body is being challenged over its redrawing of legislative districts based on political parties. Republicans in the state are appealing a lower court ruling that the redistricting is unconstitutional.
Matthew Clark is the Executive Editor of The Daily Lead.