The first Monday in October is the traditional day for the reconvening of the United States Supreme Court.
After a three-month recess, the court once again began hearings on some of the most controversial cases in the land. Last year's term ended with Chief Justice John Roberts breaking with conservative colleagues to uphold the constitutionality of Obamacare. The 5-4 vote ensured the survival of the president's biggest legislative achievement of his first term.
This year the court is scheduled to hear cases on affirmative action, voting rights and gay marriage. Certainly the voting rights issue is ramping up significantly as several states have passed requirements for government-issued photo IDs in order to cast a ballot.
Democrats have cast such laws as voter suppression tactics by Republicans - the GOP responds that it wants to stop fraud. It further argues that it makes no sense to require a photo ID to get on an airplane, but there are no such documents required to vote.
But, according to the Washington Post, the first big case of this session will be heard on Oct. 10 when the justices will hear arguments about affirmative action at the University of Texas. The role of racial preferences in college admissions across the country could be riding on the outcome.
The Post article on the opening of the court predicts the justices will take up the issue of gay marriage in November. A case has been brought regarding California's Proposition 8 that outlawed gay marriage there. Lower federal courts have struck down the amendment.
While court watchers try to predict how the justices will rule in big cases, one can look foolish trying to do so. As Roberts' vote in the health law case proved, the court is simply unpredictable.
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