The highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States has the decision on many important aspects of the nation’s life in hand, yet five issues are in the spotlight.
One of them has to do with the question about citizenship that is to be included in the 2020 population census survey.
Its wisdom will have to mediate in cases of political manipulation, bias in the election of juries, issues related with the separation of church and state, and a collective action lawsuit against Apple.
Today would be the beginning of the end for some of those issues that will be decided on the stand where there is no longer national appeal.
Hoy sería el principio del fin para algunos de esos temas que tendrán decisión en el estrado de donde ya no hay más apelación nacional.
The judges seemed to be divided in their approach to a couple of partisan gerrymandering cases, pointing out their past struggles to address the issue.
North Carolina Democrats argued in court that Republicans built the state’s congressional district in favor of the Republican Party. And Republicans in Maryland alleged that Democrats in the state rebuilt a district in such a way that they eliminated a seat in the Republican Congress.
The Supreme Court has previously noted that congressional redistricting by the state legislature is an inherently political process, and that it may be difficult to know exactly when those maps became too partisan.
Racism in the selection of the jury
The judges have indicated that they are willing to rule in favor of an inmate who claims that racial discrimination during the jury selection process biased his murder trials.
Curtis Flowers of Mississippi alleges that prosecutor Doug Evans repeatedly prevented African-Americans from being part of the jury in his trials for the murder of four people in a furniture store.
Flowers, who is African American, claims that during his first four trials, Evans beat up all possible black jurors. His fifth trial ended in a mistrial, meaning there is no information about the race of the battered jurors, but during a sixth trial the prosecutor accepted the first qualified black jury before rejecting five others.
Prosecutors are allowed to remove a certain number of individuals from juries for undisclosed reasons, but an earlier Supreme Court decision ruled that such prerogatives cannot be used to reject jurors on the basis of their race.
Census Citizenship Question
The Trump administration’s efforts to add a question about citizenship began being considered by the judges last month.
Opponents argue that the question will cause an inaccurate count of the population. Census data are used to determine representation in Congress, as well as federal funds.
But the Trump administration holds that it needs to collect the data to help the Department of Justice in its enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
Three federal judges had already blocked the addition of the question. If the court rules in favor of the issue, it will be yet another instance of judges defending a controversial Trump action.
Where is the Church-State separation?
The court again has the task of assuming a case about the separation between church and state, this time it concerns the care of a big cross by a state commission as part of a veteran’s memorial.
The American Legion built a 40-foot-high cross in a memorial park for World War I veterans in Maryland, and the National Planning and Capital Parks Commission of Maryland finally took responsibility for the park, including the care of the cross.
But non-Christian residents claimed that the government’s care of the cross is a violation of the separation established in the Constitution, of church and state.
Apple and the Class Action
Apple has become a focus of attention of the high court, as judges debate whether to allow a class action lawsuit over the alleged monopoly of the technology giant over iPhone apps.
A group of consumers wants to sue the company, alleging that application developers are artificially inflating the price of applications because Apple receives 30 percent of every sale made through the App Store.
Translated by: José Espinoza