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This photo provided by the U.S. Courts Circuit Executive's Office shows Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, participating in a program at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort that is part of the Science and the Law program by the Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia Circuit in Farmington, Pa. on Friday, June 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Ann Wilkins/US Courts Circuit Executive's Office)

This photo provided by the U.S. Courts Circuit Executive's Office shows Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, participating in a program at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort that is part of the Science and the Law program by the Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia Circuit in Farmington, Pa. on Friday, June 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Ann Wilkins/US Courts Circuit Executive's Office)

U.S. Supreme Court

On October 1, the U.S. Supreme Court begins a new term that is shaping up to be as important as the last one, with the prospect of major rulings about affirmative action, gay marriage and voting rights.