Three cases to watch as the Supreme Court prepares for the warrant’s closing arguments

The Supreme Court will hear its final arguments this month in a term that has been overshadowed by disputes over abortion and the Second Amendment and the confirmation of the nation’s first black woman to justice.

As the country awaits rulings in these potentially landmark cases, three cases stand out as highlights among the remaining disputes to be heard before the judges.

They involve a Trump-era immigration policy, a dispute over a high school football coach’s religious practice on school grounds, and Miranda’s warning that suspects are being given by law enforcement. ‘order.

This is the final round of arguments that will include Justice Stephen Breyer, who will retire this summer. He will be replaced by new confirmed judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The Trump-era “stay in Mexico” policy

One of the most high-profile fights on the court docket is a dispute over the Biden administration’s efforts to end a controversial Trump-era immigration measure that forces southern border asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their applications are processed.

Arguments will focus on whether the Biden administration should continue the policy despite the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) conclusion that the measure is not in the national interest of the United States.

Former President Trump’s ‘stay in Mexico’ policy, implemented in 2019, prevented migrants at the Mexican border from entering the United States to seek asylum, leaving tens of thousands in limbo. awaiting their fate in Mexico and subjecting them to potential persecution and abuse.

More than 60,000 asylum seekers have been returned to Mexico under the policy, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols, a break from a previous practice of allowing those fleeing violence to cross the border and seek asylum in the United States.

Both efforts by the Biden administration to cancel the program were blocked after a lawsuit by the attorneys general of Texas and Missouri. Lower courts found that the legal basis to end the policy was lacking, prompting the administration to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“DHS has therefore been forced to reinstate and continue to implement indefinitely a controversial policy that the Secretary has twice determined is not in the best interests of the United States,” the administration told the judges in court documents.

The court will hear arguments in the case during the second week of the two-week period in which it will hear new arguments.

Miranda Rights

Judges will hear a procedural dispute this week that stems from a police officer’s failure to issue a Miranda warning in a case with potentially far-reaching criminal justice implications.

The case arose after Los Angeles hospital worker Terence Tekoh was accused of sexually assaulting a patient. During the investigation, Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Carlos Vega brought Tekoh to a private room to speak, but did not advise Tekoh of his rights in Miranda, which include a notice of the right not to not incriminate themselves while in custody.

At the end of their meeting, Tekoh had produced a written confession. The party’s claims of what happened at their meeting are in complete contradiction, with Tekoh claiming that Vega coerced him into confessing by threatening to deport Tekoh and his family to their native Cameroon. Vega, on the other hand, portrayed Tekoh as contrite and remorseful and having confessed willingly.

Prosecutors used Tekoh’s confession as evidence in his criminal trial, but the jury found Tekoh not guilty. Following his acquittal, Tekoh filed a civil suit against Vega for violation of his constitutional rights.

Tekoh asked the court to instruct the jury that the prosecution’s use of Tekoh’s confession — which came after he received no Miranda warning — amounted to an automatic violation of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The trial court denied Tekoh’s claim and the jury sided with Vega.

On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided with Tekoh. The appeals court determined that a violation by Miranda alone could serve as the basis for finding an officer liable if the confession is later used in a criminal trial. Vega has appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments in the case on April 20. The Biden administration asked the judges to side with the officer.

Prayer in school athletics

A third upcoming case pits a high school football coach against school administrators who reprimanded the coach for his practice of holding a brief prayer on the field 50-yard line after games.

A devout Christian, coach Joseph Kennedy’s habit of kneeling on the field and praying while surrounded by several of his players has drawn rebuke from officials at his public school in the Washington area. Seattle. Administrators told Kennedy that his conduct violated a school policy that prohibited staff from encouraging students to engage in prayer or other devotional activities.

Amid widespread publicity, Kennedy sued the school district, alleging that his First Amendment speech and his religious rights had been violated. A federal district court in Washington ruled against him, finding that Kennedy’s conduct was not constitutionally protected because it was committed in his capacity as a public employee.

Kennedy appealed, but a unanimous three-judge panel at the San Francisco-based federal appeals court last year upheld the lower court’s decision. The panel found that the Bremerton School District (BSD) violated the Constitution’s prohibition on government endorsement of religion “by allowing Kennedy to pray at the end of football games, in the center of the field, with students who felt compelled to join him.”

“Kennedy’s attempts to bring the nation’s attention to his challenge to BSD compels the conclusion that he was not engaging in private prayer, but rather was engaging in public discourse of an overtly religious nature in the exercise of his functions”, wrote the court of appeal.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Kennedy’s appeal on April 25.

About Jessica J. Bass

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