ACRU

SCOTUS D-Day: Travel Ban, Guns, LGBT, and Possible Supreme Court Retirement

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This column by ACRU General Counsel Ken Klukowski was published June 25, 2017 by Breitbart.

WASHINGTON, DC —- President Trump’s travel ban, the Second Amendment, religious liberty versus LGBT issues, and even the possibility of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement will be addressed, as all eyes are on the Supreme Court on Monday.

The nation’s highest court should decide two major cases on Monday.

The first is Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, where the Court will decide whether Blaine Amendments —- constitutional provisions in some states that bar churches and faith-based organizations from receiving any taxpayer money, including for secular programs like children’s playground programs —- violate the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.

Another case that will be addressed is Hernandez v. Mesa, in which U.S. agents shot a Mexican national in a group of assailants on the Mexican side of the border. Agents said the assailants were throwing dangerous rocks at the agents. The issue is whether the slain foreigner’s family can sue the federal agents for a Fourth Amendment violation.

A final word is also expected on whether the Court will take several major cases for next year.

The first is the Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, the constitutional challenge to Executive Order 13,780, President Donald Trump’s travel-restriction order. It is almost inevitable that the Court will at least take that case, possibly on an accelerated basis.

There are also two major Second Amendment cases, either one of which would be only the third such Supreme Court case in American history. The first is United States v. Binderup, concerning the constitutionality of the federal law making it a crime for convicted felons to own guns. The other is Peruta v. California, which explores whether the right to keep and bear arms extends beyond a person’s home to include places a person goes to in public.

Another is a case pitting religious liberty against LGBT issues. The Court will decide whether the take the case of a Colorado baker who declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding.

But most consider the biggest question Monday to be whether there will be a Supreme Court retirement, which are often announced on the last day of the Court’s term. Specifically, the focus is on Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will turn 81 next month. It has long been expected that Justice Kennedy would retire if a Republican were elected president in 2016.

The rumor mill is flying that he will leave the bench this year, although there is no way for anyone to know whether any of the rumors are based on private thoughts the justice has shared with close friends, versus how much is unfounded speculation.

After June 26’s daily session, the Supreme Court will adjourn for the summer and is not expected to hold another public session until the first Monday in October —- unless the Court holds a special hearing for President Trump’s executive order.