The Supreme Court is scheduled to issue decisions Thursday, with six major cases remaining on the docket, and is expected to release opinions again on Friday and perhaps next week. Still to be decided are the health-law subsidies and gay-marriage cases, along with closely watched rulings involving congressional redistricting and power plant emissions. Here’s a list of the remaining cases.
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1. Execution Methods
Glossip v. Gross
At issue: Whether the sedative midazolam presents an unconstitutional risk of severe pain in executions of condemned criminals.Three men on Oklahoma’s death row claim that midazolam, the anesthetic the state plans to administer before introducing paralytic and heart-stopping drugs to their bloodstreams, is unreliable, exposing them to an unconstitutional risk of severe pain as they are put to death.
2. Power-Plant Emissions
Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA et. al.
Issue: Whether the EPA unreasonably disregarded costs when it decided to regulate power plant emissions of mercury and other air toxics. The regulations would cost $9.6 billion annually, according to EPA estimates. But the agency said it was appropriate to consider only public health risks—not industry costs—when it decided to regulate coal- and oil-fired generation plants.
3. Congressional Redistricting
Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission
Issue: Whether a state may transfer redistricting authority from the legislature to a nonpartisan independent commission. Arizona voters in 2000 passed a ballot initiative that shifted responsibility for drawing congressional districts from the state legislature to an independent redistricting commission made up of two Democrats, two Republicans and an independent.
4. Housing Discrimination
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project
Issue: Whether Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits practices that have a disparate impact on minorities unless otherwise justified. The court is looking at whether the current system for doling out tax subsidies promotes racial segregation and violates the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The suit began in 2008 as a Dallas housing dispute brought by an advocacy group against the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
5. Affordable Care Act
King v. Burwell
Issue: Whether the Affordable Care Act authorizes tax credits for insurance bought on healthcare.gov, as well as on state-operated insurance exchanges. The case turns on a single word in the 2,000-plus-page statute, in a clause authorizing the tax credits for policies purchased on an exchange established “by” the state. Only 13 states and the District of Columbia currently run their own exchanges. The court could potentially strike down subsidies in as many as 37 states that depend on HealthCare.gov.
6. Same-Sex Marriage
Obergefell v. Hodges et. al.
Issue: Whether the 14th Amendment permits states to deny marriage to same-sex couples, or to deny recognition to same-sex marriages performed in states or countries that allow them. On a national right to marry, the outcome could be headed for a 5-4 split one way or another. But the court also is weighing an incremental step that potentially could attract more justices: upholding state marriage restrictions while compelling states to recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states.