SUPREME COURT BEGINS TERM WITH MANY IMPORTANT CASES ON THE DOCKET
By statute, the Supreme Court Term begins on the first Monday of October. This term is already generating a lot of interest because of the variety and importance of the cases set to be heard this session. We have outlined some of the cases being heard below.
Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
In 2012, a cake shop refused to create a custom cake for a same-sex couple's wedding reception, though they did offer to sell the couple a cake off the shelf. The couple filed a discrimination claim with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Both the Commission and the state supreme court ruled in the couple's favor. The cake shop owner, Jack Phillips, appealed to the Supreme Court. Phillips argument is that as a cake decorator he has the First Amendment protected right of artistic expression. The couple argues that this case is similar to cases in the 1960s that involved people claiming artistic expression as a way to allow discrimination.
Carpenter v. United States
Already considered the most important Fourth Amendment case that will be heard our generation, this case could determine if police can track a person's cell phone location without a warrant. The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable search and seizures and as it is currently understood means that police must secure a warrant before they intrude upon a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The third party doctrine, the idea that when you share information with a third party, like a cell phone company, you give up your constitutional right to privacy, currently allows police to obtain location information with a court order, which is much easier to secure than a warrant. If this information is determined to be "fair game" for police, then similar information, like texts and emails, could also be obtained without a warrant.