2013: A year for big issues in the courts
updated 9:45 AM EST, Thu December 27, 2012
Chief Justice John Roberts re-administers the oath of office to Barack Obama at the White House on January 21, 2009.
- Jeffrey Toobin: 2013 will see pivotal decisions in several key areas of law
- He says Supreme Court could decide fate of same-sex marriage
- Affirmative action for public college admissions is also on Court's agenda
- Toobin: Newtown massacre put gun control debate back in the forefront
Editor's note: Jeffrey Toobin is a senior legal analyst for CNN and a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, where he covers legal affairs. He is the author of "The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court."
(CNN) -- What will we see in 2013?
One thing for sure: The year will begin with Chief Justice John Roberts and President Obama getting two chances to recite the oath correctly.
After that, here are my guesses.
1. Same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court. There are two cases, and there are a Rubik's Cube-worth of possibilities for their outcomes. On one extreme, the court could say that the federal government (in the Defense of Marriage Act) and the states can ban or allow same-sex marriage as they prefer. On the other end, the Court could rule that gay people have a constitutional right to marry in any state in the union. (Or somewhere in between.)
CNN Opinion contributors weigh in on what to expect in 2013. What do you think the year holds in store? Let us know @CNNOpinion
on Twitter and Facebook/CNNOpinion
2. The future of affirmative action. In a case pending before the Supreme Court, the Court could outlaw all affirmative action in admissions at public universities, with major implications for all racial preferences in all school or non-school settings.
3. Gun control returns to the agenda. The Congress (and probably some states) will wrestle with the question of gun control, an issue that had largely fallen off the national agenda before the massacre in Newtown. Expect many invocations (some accurate, some not) of the Second Amendment.
Court same-sex marriage reaction
4. The continued decline of the death penalty. Death sentences and executions continue to decline, and this trend will continue. Fear of mistaken executions (largely caused by DNA exonerations) and the huge cost of the death penalty process will both accelerate the shift.
5. Celebrity sex scandal. There will be one. There will be outrage, shock and amusement. (Celebrity to be identified later.)
Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter
Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeffrey Toobin.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:52 AM EDT, Sat May 18, 2013
JR's "Inside Out" project pushes the boundary of creating more human interactions.
updated 8:57 PM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
With guest Rep. Keith Ellison, John Avlon, Margaret Hoover and Dean Obeidallah discuss the president's scandal trifecta, hope for immigration and what Jolie's revelation means for women.
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
Roger Colinvaux says the IRS scandal is fundamentally about disclosure of donors, not tax-exempt status.
updated 4:57 PM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
Theater critic Kevin Williamson was kicked out of a play when he took the phone away from an audience member and threw it. He says it was worth it.
updated 11:56 AM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
Mike Downey says Los Angeles has well-funded but clueless sports teams.
updated 11:52 AM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
Grace Liu says It's time for some tiger cubs to approvingly roar for our strict and demanding parents
updated 7:57 AM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
Sens. Al Franken and Roger Wicker say we need a strong SEC to make sure credit ratings fraud doesn't bring down the economy again.
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
Alex Castellanos says Chris Matthews is wrong; the Washington controversies result from a government that is too big to control
updated 10:25 AM EDT, Sat May 18, 2013
Gil Welch says women must not panic over Angelina Jolie's mastectomies: 99% of women don't carry the BRCA1 gene.
updated 10:25 AM EDT, Thu May 16, 2013
LZ Granderson says instead of reducing the blood alcohol content threshold, how about enforcing existing laws better?
updated 11:14 AM EDT, Thu May 16, 2013
Maia Goodell says the military should use civil legal remedies on sexual assault cases.
updated 6:50 AM EDT, Thu May 16, 2013
Donna Brazile says the lack of transparency and due process at GOP-led hearings shows their true intent: to damage Clinton's presidential prospects and Obama's credibility.
updated 7:09 AM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
Laura Wexler says Angelina Jolie's openness about her mastectomy fits into a pattern of celebrities who have shared secrets and helped others
updated 1:37 PM EDT, Thu May 16, 2013
Simon Tisdall says a gruesome video might further damage the already challenged reputation and credibility of the Syrian opposition.
updated 12:16 PM EDT, Thu May 16, 2013
Rand Paul says firing the acting head of the agency isn't enough of a remedy to the abuses that endangered individual rights
updated 4:26 PM EDT, Wed May 15, 2013
Michael Harley says to give Tesla Model S the "best" trophy is presumptuous - it is pioneering but not flawless