This week, The Supreme Court of The United States will hand down decisions on a number of major issues.
Here is what you need to know to stay up to date with the three biggest ones:
1) The court already ruled today on its Affirmative Action case, you can read the majority opinion here. A prospective student sued the University of Texas on the grounds that she had been denied admission in place of somebody who had allegedly been admitted based on racial factors. Supporters had hoped that a broad ruling might illegalize the practice of factoring race into admission across the board.
The takeaway from the ruling is not negligible but is not the sweeping change many people expected. By and large, the court kicked the decision back down to a lower court.
The other two each regard gay rights.
2) DOMA, The Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996, is under fire in the case of United States V. Windsor. The court did not offer a ruling, but one is expected soon, most likely Tuesday morning. The government is being sued on the grounds that married gay couples do not receive the same federal benefits as straight couples. You can read about the relationship to political policy here.
3) Proposition 8, the controversial California ballot issue, is also being challenged in the case of Hollingsworth V. Perry. While the legal matter is ostensibly a voting rights issue, this is being viewed as primarily an issue with same-sex marriage in America’s most populous state. Depending on which way it goes, and what the majority opinion dictates, this could have ramifications for the legality and the illegality of gay marriage in other states as well.