US Supreme Court set to weigh in on major cases in 2020

Top court expected to issue opinions on cases ranging from access to Trump's tax returns to abortion

Mıchael Gabrıel Hernandez   | 02.01.2020
US Supreme Court set to weigh in on major cases in 2020


The Supreme Court is expected to issue opinions on a slew of high-profile cases in the new year with wide-ranging impacts.  

They range from access to U.S. President Donald Trump's financial records to a controversial abortion law and the scope of gun rights in America.

Trump's two Court appointments, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, have firmly cemented a conservative-leaning majority on the top court with the cases now before it likely to have far-reaching effects on American society, and the separation of powers.

In some of the most closely-watch legal battles of 2019, the top court is set to weigh in on three separate cases related to Trump's refusal to make public his financial records. He is the first commander-in-chief in modern history to refuse to disclose his tax returns, and his intransigence has prompted legal challenges from congressional Democrats and state prosecutors in the state of New York.

Trump has so far lost all cases in lower-court rulings, but the Supreme Court agreed to hear them beginning in March, and is expected to issue the final word on the matter some time thereafter.

Regardless of which way the court decides, its ruling will be far-reaching i on the government's key tenet of separation of powers.

The court will also hear a legal challenge to a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges. At stake are two of the state's three operational abortion clinics, which would be shuttered if the law is allowed to go forward.

A similar law was struck down by the court in 2016 in a 5-3 ruling. But the law's proponents are hoping that with Trump's two Supreme Court appointments it will be upheld.

It is expected to be heard March 4.

Separately, the court will weigh in on a challenge to the Consumer Financial Protections Bureau, which was created in the wake of the crippling 2008 financial crisis. The bureau is designed to bolster regulation to prevent a recurrence of the financial collapse, but conservatives have made it a target for elimination and the Trump administration has refused to mount a defense for the agency in the case brought by the state of California-based Seila Law.

The court decided to appoint a former Republican solicitor general to defend the agency, which is challenged on the grounds that its director is given too much power. A ruling is expected by June.

And on gay rights, the court is expected to issue an opinion in two cases centered on whether gay and transgender people are protected from workplace discrimination under federal law.

The court appeared deeply divided in October when it heard arguments in three cases brought by two gay men and a transgender woman who claim discrimination on the basis of sex. It is unclear when the court will issue its decision.

On gun rights, the Supreme Court may now issue an opinion after hearing arguments in December over a repealed New York City ordinance that sought to limit how gun owners could transport weapons. The city did away with the law after the Court agreed to hear the case, but gun rights proponents have sought to use the case to nonetheless broaden the scope of the Second Amendment.

The justices appeared to indicate in December that they were reluctant to issue a ruling in the case, and would instead drop it altogether. But they have yet to act as they begin the new year.

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