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Transgender rights and religion among cases judges could add

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WASHINGTON (AP) – A closely watched voting rights dispute in Arizona is one of five cases pending between the Supreme Court and his summer vacation. But before the judges even finish their work, possibly later this week, they could say whether they will add more high-profile questions to what already promises to be a hefty tenure, starting in October.

This month the court has already made big decisions on healthcare and religious freedom. And the next legislature, the High Court agreed to take over the abortion cases and weapons. The court could say as early as Monday what it will do on these issues pending action:

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

Á The Virginia School Board is asking the court to uphold a policy, struck down by lower courts, that prohibits transgender students from using school toilets that match their gender identity. The case has been around for six years, since high school student Gavin Grimm filed a federal complaint against the Gloucester County Board’s refusal to allow him to use the boys’ washroom.

RELIGION

Judges just closed a case involving a church-affiliated foster care agency that refused to work with same-sex couples, ultimately siding with the agency. Now they will have to decide whether they want to hear other cases involving claims for religious freedom. Alternatively, they could send the cases back to lower courts for review in light of their recent decision.

Ongoing cases include an out-of-Washington dispute involving a florist who refused to make arrangements for a same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court has already referred this case once to the lower courts for reconsideration after 2018 court ruling involving Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

A case involving a Catholic hospital in Maryland is also pending, pursued by a transgender man who wanted to undergo a hysterectomy. The hospital canceled the procedure, claiming it was against her Catholic faith, after learning the reason.

ABU GHRAIB

Seventeen years after shocking photographs of mistreated prisoners in the US Abu Ghraib prison were made public, Iraqis who claim to have been victims of torture are still seeking trial against a US defense contractor who provided the army of interrogators. The company, CACI Premier Technology of Arlington, Virginia, is appealing to the court on a technical legal issue that could delay or even prevent a lawsuit. The detainees say they were beaten and tortured by military police who acted on the orders of civilian interrogators who wanted the detainees to be “softened” for questioning. The CACI says that none of its interrogators are linked to the abuse suffered by the men who prosecute.

PROPERTY RIGHTS

Plans to expand a chocolate business lie at the heart of what could be the court’s biggest property rights case in years, if the judges take it. The case concerns a property which the City of Chicago took by eminent domain in order to allow the Blommer Chocolate Company to develop.

Agreeing to hear the case would give the court an opportunity to overturn a 2005 case that was heavily criticized by the Conservatives. In this case, the court divided 5-4 to say that the City of New London, Connecticut, could use a prominent estate to take private property and then sell it to private developers as part of an attempt to revitalize the city. The decision was drafted by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who admitted it was the most unpopular opinion he had ever written. Dissenting Judge Antonin Scalia ranked it among the court’s biggest mistakes. Only two judges who decided the case remain in court: Judge Clarence Thomas and Judge Stephen Breyer. Stevens died in 2019 and Scalia in 2016.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

A book that became the Hollywood movie “War Dogs” is at the center of what could become a landmark First Amendment affair. Shkelzen Berisha, the son of the former Albanian prime minister, said the book hurt him by falsely linking him to potential Miami arms traffickers.

He sued for libel and wants judges to reconsider the high bar the court has set for public figures to win libel suits. Berisha’s complaint stems from a landmark case from the civil rights era, New York Times v. Sullivan. In the wake of Sullivan and the cases that followed, public figures can only win libel lawsuits if they can prove that the person publishing the lie knew or made the statement they made was false. with a reckless disregard for the truth. Former President Donald Trump complained about the high bar and Thomas said the court should consider overturning the case.


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