WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is starting a new term that promises a steady stream of divisive social issues, and also brighter prospects for conservatives who suffered more losses than usual in recent months.
The justices are meeting in public Monday for the first time since a number of high-profile decisions in June that displayed passionate, sometimes barbed disagreements and suggested some bruised feelings among the nine judges.
The first case before the court involves a California woman who lost her legs in a horrific accident after she fell while attempting to board a train in Innsbruck, Austria. The issue is whether she can sue the state-owned Austrian railway in U.S. courts. The court also is expected to reject hundreds of appeals that piled up over the summer.
Future cases will deal with abortion, religious objections to birth control, race in college admissions and the power of public-sector unions. Cases on immigration and state restrictions on voting also could make it to the court in the next nine months.
The term will play out against the backdrop of the presidential campaign, in which some candidates are talking pointedly about the justices and the prospect of replacing some of them in the next few years. Four justices are in their 80s or late 70s, led by 82-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg.