The Supreme Court will hear about 75 cases this session, but those cases will set the course of United States law for some time to come. Some of the cases will be determined at the will of the Court.
Particularly challenging for the American citizen is that no Supreme court in recent history has had as much controversy in terms of favoritism toward corporate interests, personal and judicial ethics, and right wing extremism as the current court.
Challenging the health care reform law and other health care issues
Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California. In the throes of economic crisis, California decided to cut between 1 percent to 10 percent in reimbursements to pharmacists, hospitals and others under the state’s Medicaid program. Can the states impose cuts in reimbursement under the Medicaid law, or can private parties like Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital invoke the constitution when they challenge the state’s use of Medicaid? 30 states plus the Obama administration are with the State of California and are watching this case.
The Affordable Care Act is under fire in a host of issues, including whether the act is constitutional, the minimum coverage provision, and dealing with the split decisions between the 11th, 4th and 6th Circuit Courts.
Right to privacy under the fourth amendment
U.S. v. Antoine Jones will decide whether law enforcement can put GPS tracking on a suspect’s car without a warrant. One aspect is whether police can infringe on private property in order to install the device.
People v. Gregory Diaz, will examine whether police can rifle through a cell phone’s text message folder without due process.
Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington will challenge the court to decide whether strip searches of all jail detainees violates the Fourth Amendment.
The death penalty and prisoner’s rights
In Maples v. Thomas, when the law firm and court offices mishandle the defendant’s mail in a death penalty case, causing him to miss a filing deadline, is the state allowed to block a constitutional review of his death sentence in federal court?
Minneci v. Pollard Will address the rights of prisoners to sue private prison authorities for violating the rights of federal prisoners.
Public domain and copyright issues
This is a huge case that will resonate throughout the arts and entertainment industries. In 1994, Congress restored the copyrights of foreign artists, effectively removing them from the public domain. In 1998, Congress extended copyrights an additional 20 years, shrinking the catalog of public domain works even more. This meant that those works could not be used without permission by those who had been inserting clips, planning remakes of famous films, or adapting great books for the movies.
Golan v. Holder challenges the 1994 action, arguing that Congress went too far in reducing the content that is in the public domain.