Supreme Court in new term to weigh political gerrymandering, other high-stakes cases

The Supreme Court begins a new term today that will be packed with high-stakes cases on issues from partisan gerrymandering to whether private outfits such as a bakery can refuse service to same-sex weddings.

Also to come before the court is a case about dues-paying to public-sector unions.

The new term will be the first full one for the court’s newest member, Justice Neil Gorsuch. And with all the crucial cases before the court, the pivotal role of Justice Anthony Kennedy will be on full display.

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The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for an official group portrait to include new Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, top row, far right, June 1, 2017, at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

Below are the big cases we’ll be watching.

One case not on the list is a challenge to the President Donald Trump‘s “travel ban” executive order, which bars admission to the United States for individuals from a number of Muslim-majority countries. The court was initially scheduled to consider that case on Oct. 10, but after Trump issued a new proclamation on the matter last week, the court canceled its previously scheduled arguments and asked for a briefing on how the new proclamation affects the existing case. If the court restores the case to its calendar, it will be one of the biggest issues before the justices this term; but there’s a real chance the court won’t hear it at all.

Gill v. Whitford (partisan gerrymandering) — Oct. 3

The court has agreed to hear Gill v. Whitford, a political gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin that is likely to be one of the biggest election law cases in decades.

Gerrymandering, the drawing of legislative districts for partisan advantage, is a common practice. This case asks when the consideration of politics in redistricting crosses the line from ordinary partisanship to something so excessive as to be unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court has said that courts can decide these cases, but has…

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