Decision days: Awaiting key Supreme Court rulings

From WiG and AP reports

UPDATE TO THIS STORY: A tie vote by the Supreme Court is blocking President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

An annual race takes place in early summer, with Supreme Court justices delivering decisions on their most contentious cases before completing a term.

This time around, as justices approach the finish line, court watchers await decisions on cases involving disputes over the regulation of abortion clinics, race in college admissions, protections for people living in the country without government permission and the corruption conviction of Virginia’s former governor.

Adding suspense to the climactic conclusion of the court’s term is that some cases could end in a 4-4 tie. Justice Antonin Scalia died in February and the U.S. Senate has yet to hold a hearing on the president’s nominee to succeed the conservative judge.

A look at some late-term decisions due from the court:

  • Abortion: Texas abortion clinics are challenging a state law and regulations that already have cut the number of abortion providers in half, to roughly 20. Fewer than 10 would remain if the 2013 law were allowed to take full effect.
  • Affirmative action: Argued in early December, the challenge to the use of race in admission to the University of Texas remains undecided. There is no chance of a tie in this case because only seven justices are taking part. Kagan is out because she worked on an earlier version while serving in the Justice Department.
  • Immigration: The fate of two programs that could shield roughly 4 million people from deportation and make them eligible to work in the United States hangs in the balance. The president announced the programs in November 2014 and they were soon challenged in court by Texas and 25 other states.