Supreme Court kicks off new term, faces agenda that could be historic

Story highlights

  • Court resumes work three months after politically charged healthcare ruling
  • Affirmative action, voting rights, same-sex marriage on judicial horizon
  • Issues will test John Roberts leadership of shaky 5-4 conservative majority
A day after the Supreme Court upheld the health care law, Chief Justice John Roberts joked that he would spend some time at "an impregnable island fortress" to escape the torrent of vitriol and praise heaped on the bench.
The nation is now focused on the presidential election, but attention will likely shift back to the court after the November vote. A new term opens on Monday and the nine justices will address another potentially historic docket. Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, voting rights, and abortion could be taken up.
"The justices are moving from the frying pan right into the fire, having moved up with the big healthcare case," said Thomas Goldstein, a leading Washington lawyer and publisher of "They are tackling some of the most difficult legal questions of today. Across the board, probably the biggest term in at least a decade."