U.S. Supreme Court returns with several key cases on the agenda

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May 13 (UPI) — The U.S. Supreme Court returns to work Monday with a number of significant cases to examine — particularly a government case in which the Trump administration wants to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

The court will release an order list on this week’s cases at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

The high court is expected to rule soon on the citizenship question, which the administration argues is intended to reinforce the federal Voting Rights Act. Opponents say it’s merely another attempt by the administration to target undocumented migrants. Multiple federal courts have blocked the question from appearing on the census, but the Supreme Court could vote along partisan lines, 5-4, to approve it.

During oral arguments last month, several justices questioned the administration’s facts and said the question was improperly added to the census. Critics have challenged the need for a citizenship status question, saying it would almost certainly result in an inaccurate count — as migrants and other non-citizens would decline to answer the question or even turn in the census form at all.

The United States hasn’t inquired about citizenship on any census since 1950.

The high court is expected to expedite its ruling on the issue, because the Commerce Department must start printing census materials next month.

The court will also hear arguments on gerrymandering in North Carolina and Maryland. Democrats in North Carolina argue that Republicans drew a state congressional district in favor of the GOP, and Republicans in Maryland make a similar accusation about a district that was redrawn to eliminate a GOP congressional seat.

In the past, justices have questioned whether they should get involved in gerrymandering issues.

“Have we really reached the moment, even though it would be a big lift for the court to get involved, where the other actors can’t do it?” Kavanaugh said.

The gerrymandering issue is significant for its impact on the 2020 elections.

Other cases on the court’s agenda include accusations a Mississippi prosecutor blocked blacks from jury duty in a murder trial — and a 40-foot-tall cross in Maryland built by the American Legion to commemorate those who fought in World War I.

Critics say the cross is a religious symbol and the Maryland government’s handling of the memorial violates the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state. The court heard arguments in February about whether the large cross is an appropriate monument for government property.

Most justices during arguments seemed to favor allowing the cross to stay, but were reluctant to set a precedent for religious symbols on government property.

Another case before the court is one asking whether Apple can face a class-action lawsuit that accuses the device maker of having a monopoly over iPhone apps. The court’s liberal minority appeared to back consumers’ rights to sue Apple, but the conservative majority didn’t appear to have a clear stance.

Apple has cited a precedent from 1977 that states damages in antitrust cases only go to people who were actually harmed by anti-competitive behavior. Apple argues that app developers should be the only ones who can sue, not consumers.

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