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Supreme Court to take up health reform, immigration, profanity and more

The U.S. Supreme Court tackles controversial issues in its new term.
The U.S. Supreme Court tackles controversial issues in its new term.
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The US Supreme Court kicks off its new term today. Fascinating cases about hotly divisive issues are expected on the docket. The most politically-charged will look at the Obama Administration's health care law. At dispute is whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to require people to buy insurance. The 11th Circuit struck down that requirement in the Affordable Care Act, but the 6th Circuit upheld it. Now, the Supreme Court will hear it, and a decision could come just months before the 2012 presidential election.

Another major case for health care watchers stems from California's cuts to Medi-Cal. Doctors and hospitals have been trying to sue the state for lowering reimbursement payments. The Supreme Court is being asked whether they have the right to sue. The decision could affect Governor Jerry Brown's ability to reduce spending on social services.

A bigger headline case will test Arizona's power in enacting its controversial immigration law, SB 1070. Can states such as Arizona and Alabama adopt their own enforcement schemes or does the federal government have exclusive control?

Other top cases include the FCC v. Fox: think of the late, great George Carlin, Cher's f-bomb and prime-time nudity; Perry v. New Hampshire: the validity of eyewitness identification testimony; US v. Jones: does the warrantless installation of a GPS monitoring device on a person’s car and the monitoring of the car’s movements violate the Fourth Amendment?; and finally, one that could prove to be among the Court’s most important religious-liberty cases in many years: Hosanna-Tabor Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which asks whether religious schools have a First Amendment exemption from anti-discrimination laws.


Which cases will you be watching? How could a decision on the Affordable Care Act affect the next election? What impact could an immigration decision have across the country? Is America ready for profanity on network TV?


Kitty Felde, KPCC’s Washington D.C. correspondent

David Savage, Supreme Court Reporter, Los Angeles Times

Lisa McElroy, Professor of Law, Earle Mack School of Law, Drexel University; Supreme Court scholar