Supreme Court issues in 2016

Updated 11:46 AM ET, Mon June 27, 2016
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The Supreme Court is operating with eight justices this year following the death of Antonin Scalia in February. See some of the prominent issues that the high court has faced -- or is still facing -- in 2016. Franz Jantzen/SCOTUS/Getty Images
Texas abortion law: Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of Whole Woman's Health, gestures to the crowd as she and Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, walk down the steps of the Supreme Court in March. They challenged parts of a Texas law -- struck down by the Supreme Court in June -- that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law also mandated that clinics upgrade their facilities to hospital-like standards. Supporters of the law argued that it was meant to protect women's health, but opponents said it was instead a disguised attempt to end abortion and that women would find it harder to end a pregnancy legally. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Obama's immigration actions: Demonstrators gather for a pro-immigration rally outside the Supreme Court in January. In June, the court was deadlocked on executive actions President Barack Obama imposed two years ago on immigration. The actions, blocked from going forward in February 2015, were meant to enable millions of eligible undocumented immigrants to receive temporary relief from the threat of deportation. The immigrants would also be allowed to apply for programs that could qualify them for work authorization and associated benefits. June's ruling means that the programs will remain blocked and the issue will return to the lower court. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Obamacare contraception mandate: Catholic nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor walk down the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in March. The group was challenging the government's new health-care regulations. Lawyers for the nuns and other religious nonprofits told the court that the so-called contraceptive mandate forces these groups to either violate their religious beliefs or pay ruinous fines. The justices, in a unanimous decision in May, sent the case back down to the lower courts for opposing parties to work out a compromise. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Affirmative action: Abigail Fisher, a Texas woman who challenged the use of race in college admissions, speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in December. That month, Supreme Court justices appeared divided about a program at the University of Texas that takes race into consideration as one factor of admissions. In June, the court upheld the program in a 4-3 ruling. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case, presumably because she dealt with it in her previous job as solicitor general. J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Public-sector unions: Rebecca Friedrichs, lead plaintiff in the case Friedrichs v. the California Teachers Association, walks with lead counsel Michael Carvin after the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments on the case in January. The ruling in March was split 4-4, so the lower-court decision was affirmed in a victory for public-sector unions. At issue was whether non-members of a public-sector union could still be compelled to pay fees for collective bargaining that goes to issues such as wages and grievances. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Scalia's replacement: Obama joins his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in the Rose Garden of the White House in March. But Republicans have vowed to block any replacement for Antonin Scalia until a new President takes office. SAUL LOEB/AFPGetty Images