A look at some of the noteworthy cases the Supreme Court will hear this term, which begins today (Oct. 6):
-Mistaken traffic stop: A broken brake light led a North Carolina police officer to pull over a car in which cocaine was later found. Turns out, the state requires only one functioning brake light. The court is weighing a case about whether a defendant's constitutional protection against unreasonable searches was violated because of the officer's mistaken understanding of the law.
-Prison beards: An Arkansas inmate is challenging a prison policy that prevents him from growing a short beard in accordance with his Muslim religious beliefs. Prison officials say the policy prevents inmates from concealing contraband or quickly changing their appearance in an escape.
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals this week reversed a lower court ruling that had allowed provisions of North Carolina's restrictive voting law to go into effect before the midterm election.
The appeals court order restores same-day registration and reinstates out-of-precinct provisional voting on Voting Rights Act grounds.
Taking advantage of a free military surplus program, school police departments throughout the nation have joined with municipal police departments in stocking up on mine-resistant armored vehicles, grenade launchers and scores of M16 rifles.
Even as Ferguson grows calmer, recent indictments in the St. Louis suburb continue to provoke outrage around the world.
Most of the nearly 60,000 Central American children who have arrived on the U.S.-Mexico border in the last year still don't have lawyers to represent them in immigration court, and advocates are scrambling to train volunteer attorneys to help cope with the massive caseload.
With the number of unaccompanied immigrant children more than doubling this past fiscal year, the need for attorneys has surged, and it has been exacerbated by the immigration courts' decision to fast-track children's cases, holding initial hearings within a few weeks instead of months.
Precincts with more minorities experienced longer waits on Election Day, according to a new study released this week by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.
The study found a lack of poll workers and low numbers of voting machines are key contributors to long voting lines.
This afternoon, in a speech in the East Room at the White House, President Barack Obama spoke about the "It's On Us" campaign, a national public service to combat sexual assault on college campuses. The following is a transcript of the president's remarks, provided by the White House:
Welcome to the White House, everybody. And thank you to Joe Biden not just for the introduction, not just for being a great Vice President -- but for decades, since long before he was in his current office, Joe has brought unmatched passion to this cause. He has. (Applause.)
While many liberal policy goals have proved elusive during Barack Obama's presidency, there have been dramatic advances for two causes that once seemed quixotic - the legalization of same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana.
Neither cause was embraced by Obama during his first term. Yet he is now a fervent supporter of marriage equality and has said it is "important" that Colorado and Washington state be allowed to proceed with their pioneering laws, approved by voters in 2012, that legalize marijuana.
A Northern California slaughterhouse involved in a massive beef recall for processing cows with cancer and later distributing the meat, was charged in federal court on Aug. 18. The case is the latest development in a growing movement by health and animal-welfare advocates challenging the factory-farming industry.