The 17 Supreme Court Decisions We're Still Waiting For

By Klein, Philip | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, June 15, 2015 | Go to article overview

The 17 Supreme Court Decisions We're Still Waiting For


Klein, Philip, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court is scheduled to release decisions with sweeping ramifications. Though the rulings on same- sex marriage and Obamacare subsidies are the most anticipated, justices will also be releasing decisions on issues relating to environmental law, free speech, police brutality, property rights (and raisins), the drawing of congressional maps, the use of lethal injection - and even a patent dispute involving a popular Spider- Man toy.

Below is a list of the 17 cases remaining to be decided by the Supreme Court, with some background, and the legal questions raised (as described by the Oyez Project at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, where you can read more by clicking on the links of the case names). Justices will be releasing opinions on every Monday from now until the end of the month, and on whatever additional days are needed. This Thursday, for instance, was added to the calendar as a day when opinions may be released. The following list will be continuously updated as decisions come in, to reflect the ones that remain outstanding. The cases are listed in order that they were argued, though that doesn't dictate the order at which they'll be decided.

FREE SPEECH

Reed v. Town of Gilbert (Argued 1/12/15) -- Clyde Reed, pastor of the Good News Community Church, is challenging a Gilbert, Ariz., ordinance that restricts the church from maintaining signs advertising church services, despite allowing political campaign signage. From the Oyez Project, the question presented is: "Does an ordinance restricting the size, number, duration, and location of temporary directional signs violate the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment or the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?"

HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project (Argued 1/21/15) - The case concerns tax credits for affordable housing that the Inclusive Communities Project said were allocated in a way that kept units in poor, minority neighborhoods. Oyez Project: "Did the district court use the correct standard for evaluating a Fair Housing Act claim of discrimination based on disparate impact?"

DRAWING CONGRESSIONAL MAPS

Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (3/2/15) - The Arizona legislature argues that a commission adopted to draw up congressional districts strips away power that should be the purview of the legislature. Oyez Project: "Did Proposition 106 violate the Elections Clause of the federal Constitution by removing the congressional districting power from the state legislature?"

CHILD ABUSE REPORTING

Ohio v. Clark (Argued 3/2/15) -- A preschool teacher in Cleveland noticed injuries on a three-year old student and under questioning, the student said he was abused by his mother's boyfriend. A judge said the three-year old couldn't serve as a witness during the trial, but admitted statements of the teacher. Darius Clark, the boyfriend, has argued that this violated his constitutional right to confront witnesses against him. Oyez Project: "Does a teacher's obligation to report suspected incidences of child abuse transform the teacher into an agent of law enforcement when questioning children about possible abuse?"

PRIVACY

City of Los Angeles v. Patel (Argued 3/3/15) -- Motel owners are challenging the constitutionality of a local ordinance that allows law enforcement to search records (such as information about their guests) without a warrant. From Oyez: "Is a municipal ordinance that allows police to inspect hotel records without a warrant inconsistent with the Fourth Amendment's privacy expectations?"

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Davis v. Ayala (Argued 3/3/15) -- Hector Ayala, a Hispanic man, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by a jury in which prosecutors were able to challenge the inclusion of black and Hispanic jurors. At a closed hearing, a state court determined that prosecutors had established sufficient nonracial reasons for challenging the inclusion of the jurors. …

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