Seven disputes remain to be decided.
The judges are grappling with the case of Joe Kennedy, a former Washington state high school football coach at a public school who lost his job for praying on the 50-yard line after games.
The school district said it suspended Kennedy to avoid giving the impression that the school endorsed a particular religion, in violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.
Kennedy told CNN in an interview that “every American should be able to trust the public and not fear being fired for it.”
“I think it’s important to keep our promises, especially to God,” he said.
The court’s liberal justices – Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor – made it clear during closing arguments that they feared the players would feel compelled by the school to pray.
Immigration: Staying in Mexico
The justices debate whether the Biden administration can end a Trump-era border policy known as “Stay in Mexico.” Lower courts have so far prevented Biden from ending the policy.
Under the unprecedented program launched in 2019, the Department of Homeland Security can return certain non-Mexican citizens who have entered the United States to Mexico — instead of detaining or releasing them in the United States — while their immigration procedure takes place.
Critics call the policy inhumane and say it exposes asylum seekers with credible claims to dangerous and squalid conditions. The case raises questions not only about immigration law, but also about a president’s control over politics and his diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.
Climate Change: EPA Authority to Regulate Power Plant Emissions
Judges will decide a case over the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants, in a dispute that could hurt the Biden administration’s attempts to curb emissions. It comes at a time when scientists are sounding the alarm about accelerating global warming.
The court’s decision to step in and hear the case was of concern to environmentalists as there are currently no rules in place. A lower court erased a Trump-era rule in 2021, and the Biden administration’s EPA is now working on a new rule.
But the fact that there have been enough votes to address the issue now, has struck some as an aggressive grant, signaling that the court wants to limit the scope of EPA’s authority even before a new rule takes hold. be in force.
The so-called ‘Pill Mill’ case comes amid a national opioid crisis and pits a doctor’s ability to dispense controlled substances for pain management against government pressure to sue doctors who prescribe drugs dangerous in the absence of medical justification.
Lawyers for two doctors convicted of prescribing dangerous opioids without valid medical justification in violation of federal law are leading the challenges. The doctors are appealing their convictions and lengthy sentences, arguing that a jury should have been able to determine whether the doctors reasonably believed they were acting within professional boundaries.
The dispute comes as some members of the court have expressed concern over the overuse of federal criminal law that could threaten innocent conduct.
Congressional War Powers: Labor Protection for Veterans
In another dispute, the court could weaken labor protections for veterans. Le Roy Torres, a veteran and former employee of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told the state agency he could no longer serve as a state trooper and was seeking comparable employment to fit his service-related disability. When he was denied the job, he sued under a federal law designed to protect the re-employment rights of returning veterans.
But Texas has responded that states are shielded from such lawsuits under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act, passed under the war powers of Congress. Now the court will decide a clash that will pit the authority of Congress to provide national defense against a state’s ability to decide when it will be sued. The decision could impact thousands of active and reserve service members nationwide who work for state agencies.
Native American lands
Victor Manuel Castro-Huerta, a non-Indian, was convicted of child neglect in a case involving his stepdaughter, who is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
His conviction was overturned after a state appeals court ruled that because the crime was committed in Indian Territory, the state lacked jurisdiction. Now the court will decide whether a state has the power to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians in Indian Territory.
In 2020, in an opinion written by Judge Neil Gorsuch and joined by the court’s liberals, the majority ruled that Oklahoma had no jurisdiction to prosecute an Indian who had committed a crime in Indian Country.
Fair Sentences Act
Carlos Concepcion (who was convicted in 2009 of a crack offense) was sentenced as a career offender just before the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced sentences for federal crimes involving crack cocaine.
In 2018, Congress passed the First Step Act which made FSA changes retroactive and allowed for reduced penalties. In 2019, Concepcion requested a reduced sentence and said he should no longer be considered a career offender. He said the court should consider factors in making such a decision, including his rehabilitation after the offence.