With the Supreme Court starting a new term, there is potential for a number of controversial cases to reach its justices. In a report by the Washington Examiner, the site points out that aside from the travel ban, five other controversial disputes could reach the court.
The president’s appeal to uphold his travel ban is one decision the nation’s highest court will likely face. In late October, it dismissed an appeal in two cases challenging President Trump’s executive order, issued in March, which sought to limit travel to the United States from a handful of countries. The court expressed “no view on the merits” of the case, saying that the March ban had expired and therefore, the issue was moot.
That March order was replaced in September with broader restrictions, which have been blocked by federal district courts in Hawaii and Maryland. The court’s dismissal cleared out the challenges of the March order, though the justices await eventual appeals from the new September ban.
In the Examiner report, the publication lists other controversial decisions likely to reach the Supreme Court. To follow is a brief description of the cases.
- Neely v. Wyoming
Judge Ruth Neely, a Wyoming municipal judge and state court magistrate, was punished by the Wyoming Supreme Court because of comments she made to a newspaper about her religious beliefs and same-sex marriage. When Wyoming legalized same-sex marriage in 2014, Neely told a local newspaper that she was not excited to start performing same-sex marriages, and cited her religious beliefs as her reason.
Neely never turned away anyone seeking a union, however her published comments prompted the Wyoming Supreme Court to censure her. Lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom have petitioned the Supreme Court, asking them to resolve the conflict between Neely’s First Amendment rights and the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
- Hargan v. Garza
An underage, illegal immigrant came to America in order to undergo an abortion. The minor was in federal custody when a federal appeals court stepped in, allowing the abortion, in a case that involved the American Civil Liberties Union. The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to review the case and provide guidance for other lower courts to follow. They also suggested discipline may be warranted against the ACLU, who may have “misled” the Justice Department.
- South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc.
In South Dakota, tax revenue from online retailers is under review. The state is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a ban on sales tax for Internet retailers, opening the doors to billions of dollars of tax revenue across the country.
Thirty-six states’ attorneys general filed a brief in support of South Dakota, including both Republican and Democratic representatives.
- Kennedy v. Bremerton School District
A Washington state high school football coach, Joseph Kennedy, was suspended for kneeling in prayer after games. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against his appeal in August, saying the coach’s constitutional rights may not have been violated by the school district, and that he was unlikely to prove that they were.
The Western federal appeals court has been asked to review of the Ninth Circuit’s panel opinion, but the case may well end at the high court.
- Harvest Family Church v. FEMA
Churches are petitioning to have the right to federal disaster relief, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency does not provide them access to disaster-relief grants because of their religious status.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing churches in a lawsuit against FEMA, saying houses of worship should be considered “private nonprofit societal institutions such as community centers and zoos.” The case began in federal court on Tuesday, but as its adjudication has far-reaching implications, it may eventually land on the Supreme Court docket.