10 big Supreme Court cases awaiting decisions

NCC Staff

Last week, the Supreme Court heard its final arguments for the current term. So what big decisions can we expect between now and late June?

800px-Supreme_Court_US_2010
800px-Supreme_Court_US_2010

So far in 2014, two big decisions already have come down from the nine Justices in cases about affirmative action and campaign financing.

In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the Court decided that states could restrict their use of affirmative action programs in university admissions and at other public institutions. And In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, Chief Justice John Roberts and four other justices struck down general limits on how much money can be spent on federal political campaigns over a two-year period.

But 10 other big decisions remain unannounced by the Court as it moves toward wrapping up a busy term in late June. Here are the cases to watch, with a brief description of each case (or pair of cases).

10 Cases To Watch

Bond v. U.S.

The big picture issue in the Bond case is the possible fate of a landmark 1920 Supreme Court decision: Missouri v. Holland. The Holland decision gave Congress the power to pass laws to carry out the U.S. government’s obligations under international treaties.

Town of Greece v. Galloway

The Justices will decide whether a town council’s practice of beginning its legislative meetings with a prayer session violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius

In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the national hobby and crafts chain store asked the Court to take on the Affordable Care Act birth control mandate that applies to for-profit companies. The Obama administration also had asked the Court to take up the Hobby Lobby case.

In the Conestoga Wood case, a Mennonite family-owned, profit-making business claims that the ACA’s birth control mandate violates the company’s rights under the First Amendment free exercise clause and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning

This high-profile case invites the Court to interpret the breadth of the President’s constitutional authority to make appointments during Senate recesses.

McCullen v. Coakley

This case is about Massachusetts’s selective exclusion law – which makes it a crime for public speakers other than clinic “employees or agents . . . acting within the scope of their employment” to protest within 35 feet of a reproductive health care facility.

Hall v. Florida

The Justices will determine how states define if a person is mentally disabled to the point of becoming ineligible for the death penalty.

American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo

The highly publicized case involves a copyright battle between Aereo, a tech TV startup, and the major television networks that could affect the future of broadcast television and cloud computing.

Riley v. California and U.S. v. Wurie

Both cases examine the power of the police, acting without a search warrant in certain circumstances, to look at information stored on a cellphone taken from a suspect at the time of an arrest.

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