The Supreme Court has a powerfully controversial docket for its term beginning Monday that will test Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s efforts to portray the institution as above the noisy and partisan battles of the moment.
On the court’s agenda:
●Whether federal law protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination or being fired.
LGBT rights (Tuesday)
Title 7 of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, among other categories. The question for the justices in two cases is whether that provision protects people from discrimination in the workplace because they are gay or transgender. The sexual orientation case involves a fired skydiver in New York, who has since died, and a fired county government worker in Georgia. Aimee Stephens, a fired funeral home director in suburban Detroit, is at the center of the case about gender identity. The Trump administration has reversed the Obama administration’s support for the workers.
●Whether the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Obama-era program that protects immigrants brought to this country as children are lawful.
Protections for young immigrants (Nov. 12)
President Donald Trump first announced his intention in 2017 to end the Obama-era program that protected from deportation and gave work permits to roughly 700,000 people who, as children, entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was never authorized by Congress. At issue before the court is whether the way the administration has tried to wind down the program is lawful. There seems to be little debate that Trump has the discretion to do so, as long as his administration complies with a federal law that generally requires orderly changes to policies.
●The first Second Amendment claim involving gun ownership in more than a decade.
Guns (Dec. 2)
A case from New York City could be the court’s most significant word on gun rights in a decade, or it could go away altogether because of changes in local and state law since the justices agreed to weigh in. At issue is a New York City ordinance that prohibited licensed gun owners from carrying their unloaded weapons to shooting ranges or second homes outside the city. New York has amended the ordinance and the state also has passed a law requiring local governments to allow licensed gun owners to transport their weapons. That could make the case go away, even if the justices often frown on an effort by one party to end a case after it has been accepted for review.
●Whether a state may withhold aid to private religious schools if it offers funding to secular ones.
Religious school funding (no date set)
The Montana Supreme Court struck down a state program that provided tax credits for contributions to a private school scholarship fund because religious schools were included in the program. The state court said the program violated a state constitutional ban on sending public funds to religious institutions, even indirectly through the scholarship program. Montana parents are challenging the ruling as a violation of their religious freedom under the U.S. Constitution.
●An abortion case that gives the court’s new conservatives an opportunity to begin reconstructing its jurisprudence on what is perhaps the nation’s most divisive subject.
Abortion (no date set)
Louisiana’s law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals is virtually identical to a Texas measure the court struck down in 2016. What’s different is that Justice Anthony Kennedy, part of the majority in 2016, has retired and been replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Both appointees of President Donald Trump, Justice Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh dissented in February from a decision to keep the Louisiana law on hold. Now they will hear their first major abortion case. The outcome could reveal whether the justices are willing to uphold more state abortion restrictions.
Original story appeared on US News