WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will rehear Texas case weighing new limits on affirmative action, stemming from the University of Texas.
Abigail Fisher is in a legal battle with UT about whether race can be considered as a factor in admissions. Fisher, who is white, sued UT back in 2008 when she was denied admission. Last year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to rehear the case.
The Supreme Court is meeting for the final time until the fall to decide the three remaining cases — and add some new ones for the term that starts in October. The court decided its two blockbuster cases last week by declaring the right of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states and upholding a critical part of the health care overhaul.
Meanwhile, the three remaining cases on Monday raise important questions about a controversial drug that was implicated in botched executions, state efforts to reduce partisan influence in congressional redistricting and costly Environmental Protection Agency limits on the emission of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants.
The justices also could add important cases for next term on abortion and the power of unions that represent government workers. The justices have already added affirmative action into the mix for their next session.
Here are more details about the three undecided cases:
• Lethal injection: Death-row inmates in Oklahoma are objecting to the use of the sedative midazolam in lethal-injection executions after the drug was implicated in several botched executions. Their argument is that the drug does not reliably induce a coma-like sleep that would prevent them from experiencing the searing pain of the paralytic and heart-stopping drugs that follow sedation.
• Independent redistricting commissions: Roughly a dozen states have adopted independent commissions to reduce partisan politics in drawing congressional districts. The case from Arizona involves a challenge from Republican state lawmakers who complain that they can’t be completely cut out of the process without violating the Constitution.
• Mercury emissions: Industry groups and Republican-led states assert that environmental regulators overstepped their bounds by coming up with expensive limits on the emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants without taking account of the cost of regulation at the start of the process. The first-ever limits on mercury emissions, more than a decade in the making, began to take effect in April.