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The Supreme Court is back in session. Here are the top cases to watch.

The Supreme Court will weigh in on everything from voting rights to government surveillance this fall.

Supreme Court Announces Remainder Of Decisions On Last Day Of Current Term Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images

The US Supreme Court’s fall term starts Monday, kicking off with a major case that could change workers’ rights and an immigration case that will affect who can be deported.

After that, more big cases are already on the docket. The Court could outlaw partisan gerrymandering — in which political parties can redraw district maps to give themselves an electoral boost in future elections. It will decide if the government can obtain your cellphone records without probable cause. And it will weigh in on a culture war: Does a Colorado baker’s refusal to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple represent constitutionally protected free speech?

Here are the top nine cases to watch for the coming fall term, and why they matter.

Sessions v. Dimaya

The big question: Immigrants convicted of a “crime of violence” can be deported by the United States. Is the current definition of a “crime of violence” too vague?

Why it matters: A decision will affect immigrants who are convicted of crimes, especially important as the Trump administration steps up deportations of immigrants who are convicted of small crimes.

Who’s involved: James Garcia Dimaya is a lawful permanent resident who immigrated from the Philippines. Dimaya was convicted of two nonviolent burglaries in 2007 and 2009, but these were classified as “crimes of violence” by a US immigration court, and he was deported. The question hinges on whether the current definition of a “crime of violence” is too vague; right now it encompasses crimes that impose risk on both people and physical property. The US government is arguing that the definition should stay.

The backstory: This case is the first of two immigration cases that were heard last term with eight justices on the bench and came to a split decision, so Justice Neil Gorsuch’s vote will be key. Gorsuch may vote with the rest of the Court’s conservatives upholding the current definition, but he has also sided with defendants in criminal cases in the past, and argued against having too many criminal laws on the books. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this provision was unconstitutionally vague in 2015.

Argument date: Monday, October 2

National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis

The big question: Do class-action waivers and forced arbitration agreements employees have to sign violate the National Labor Relations Act?

Why it matters: Arbitration may seem like a dull topic, but it’s hugely important for millions of American workers. More than 60 million employees are required to sign mandatory arbitration clauses when they are hired; by doing so, they’re essentially waiving their right to join a class-action lawsuit if a disagreement occurs down the line. A recent study found that mandatory arbitration clauses are now in about 50 percent of workers’ contracts, up from about 2 percent in the 1990s.

Who’s involved: These three cases involve companies from different parts of the economy — Murphy Oil USA, the accounting firm Ernst & Young, and the software company Epic Systems Corporation. Employees at the companies filed lawsuits alleging they were not paid overtime for hours worked, and the National Labor Relations Board took up the case.

The backstory: The Supreme Court historically has sided with employers in past arbitration cases. There’s been disagreement on this case in federal courts; while a federal district court ruled that the arbitration provision in the employees’ contracts was enforceable, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling it was unenforceable.

Argument date: Monday, October 2

Jennings v. Rodriguez

The big question: Can immigrants in the US who are arrested for minor crimes be detained without a bond or bail hearing in front of a judge?

Why it matters: This case could make a huge difference in the lives of unauthorized immigrants and US asylum seekers, who have their lives disrupted when they are sent to jail with no opportunity for a bail hearing. This has been the law since well before the Trump administration, but it especially matters given Trump’s crackdown on immigrants.

Who’s involved: Plaintiff Alejandro Rodriguez, who was brought to the US as a 1-year-old and became a legal permanent resident. Rodriguez was convicted for joyriding and misdemeanor drug possession as an adult, and because US immigration law denies bond hearings to immigrants with criminal records, he sat in jail for more than three years. His lawyers sued the Obama administration in 2010.

The backstory: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that immigrants and asylum seekers held longer than six months have the right to a bail hearing, unless they’re a clear public danger. As with Sessions v. Dimaya, the Supreme Court split 4-4 on this case earlier this year, so Gorsuch is the key vote here.

Argument date: Tuesday, October 3

Gill v. Whitford

The big question: Is partisan gerrymandering — drawing legislative districts to give one party an advantage — constitutional?

Why it matters: Right now, drawing legislative districts based on voters’ party affiliation is legal but drawing districts based on race is not. So partisan gerrymandering is a common phenomenon that tips the scales in favor of whichever party is in power to redraw voting maps. This particular challenge is to the Wisconsin state assembly map, redrawn by Republicans in 2011.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said this case may be the most important one of the upcoming term. If the justices decide partisan gerrymandering isn’t lawful, it could have immediate impacts not just in Wisconsin but in other states like Texas and North Carolina.

Who’s involved: Opponents of Wisconsin’s map say it dilutes the power of Democratic voters and makes the state’s political system uneven by giving more weight to Republican voters. They will argue it violates the First Amendment freedom of association and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, because Democratic voters should have the same amount of political representation as Republicans. The state of Wisconsin, meanwhile, will argue the courts should not intervene in state politics.

The backstory: Justice Anthony Kennedy is the vote to watch. The last time the Court heard a gerrymandering case was back in 2004, when it considered Pennsylvania’s electoral map. Kennedy sided with the Court’s conservative wing on a 5-4 vote not to set a standard spelling out what is unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. But he also left the door open for a standard to be decided in the future, going against justices who argued the Court should never get involved in state electoral politics.

Argument date: Tuesday, October 3

Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute

The big question: Are Ohio’s regular voter roll purges unconstitutional?

Why it matters: Right now, voting officials in Ohio can cancel a person’s voter registration if they go six years without casting a ballot. The process to determine whose registration gets canceled is lengthy, and voters are contacted beforehand, but this has led hundreds of thousands of people to lose their eligibility to vote over the years. (Because Ohio is a swing state in presidential elections, voting controversies there are often particularly fraught.)

Opponents of the practice argue that purges are a way to disenfranchise voters who are homeless or minorities. They argue that in addition to having the right to vote, voters should also be able to exercise their right not to cast a vote. Supporters — including the Trump administration — argue that it’s legal.

Who’s involved: Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted is one of the parties in the case, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an organization representing minority workers, is the other.

The backstory: The Obama administration supported the challenge to Ohio’s law. The Trump administration filed an amicus brief in support of the law itself. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the challengers to the law in September 2016.

Argument date: November 8

Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

The big question: Can a baker refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple? More broadly, do businesses based on artistic skill (such as bakers) have the free speech right to refuse to service to someone based on their beliefs?

Who’s involved: A conservative Christian baker from Colorado named Jack Phillips refused to bake the wedding cake of a gay couple, saying it went against his religious beliefs. The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, filed an anti-discrimination complaint with the state, and are now being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. Phillips’s lawyers from the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom will argue that baking a wedding cake amounts to free expression, and that declining to do so in this case is akin to constitutionally protected free speech.

Why it matters: As Vox’s German Lopez wrote, the case “isn’t just about individual bakeries; (it’s) part of a much broader debate about how LGBT people should be protected in places that are open to and serve the general public.” As with many other cases this term, Justice Anthony Kennedy is the one to watch, as it is likely that the Court’s liberal and conservative wings will split on this question. Kennedy has voted to protect free speech over the years, but he cast the key vote to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015 and is an ardent supporter of that right as well.

The backstory: The Colorado Civil Rights Commission already found that refusing to make the cake violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, and the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the decision in August 2015.

Argument date: Not yet scheduled

Carpenter v. US

The big question: Does law enforcement need probable cause and a warrant to obtain cellphone records?

Why it matters: The Fourth Amendment protects Americans against search and seizure and says that law enforcement must have probable cause to search a suspect’s belonging or home. The way US surveillance law is structured, law enforcement needs probable cause and a warrant to obtain a suspect’s communications on their cellphone, but doesn’t need those things to obtain cellphone records. It matters especially as there’s a heated debate about how much the government can surveil cellphones; a decision could have huge implications for privacy rights.

Who’s involved: The case involves a man named Timothy Carpenter, who was convicted in a series of armed robberies in Ohio and Michigan. Police investigating the case were able to obtain Carpenter’s cellphone records using the Stored Communications Act, which requires a lower standard of proof to obtain records: reasonable suspicion, rather than probable cause.

The backstory: The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Carpenter’s conviction in April 2016, agreeing that cellphone records aren’t protected by the Fourth Amendment and don’t need a warrant to be searched.

Argument date: Not yet scheduled

Digital Realty Trust v. Somers

The big question: Does whistleblower protection extend to employees who report wrongdoing internally?

Why it matters: The Dodd-Frank Act already protects government employee whistleblowers who report wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, but this case will decide whether the protection should also extend to employees who report things internally. There’s not a lot of legal clarity on this issue, and past courts have deferred to the SEC’s interpretation of the law under Chevron deference, which says that the courts defer to regulatory agencies when they interpret ambiguous laws.

Newly minted Justice Gorsuch has made it clear he thinks Chevron deference — which has been key to decisions on everything from net neutrality to immigration — could be unconstitutional and takes power away from the judicial branch.

Who’s involved: Paul Somers, a former employee of the real estate investment trust company Digital Realty, was fired after he complained internally about misconduct by one of his supervisors. Somers sued his employer using Dodd-Frank, even though he didn’t report securities violations to the SEC and therefore was not given whistleblower protection.

The backstory: The Ninth Circuit allowed the suit against the company to go forward in March 2017, in effect finding that whistleblower law protects employees who report internally too.

Argument date: Not yet scheduled

Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association

The big question: Can the federal government stop states from legalizing sports gambling?

Why it matters: On its face, the case is about whether New Jersey can legalize sports gambling. But it has much deeper implications for questions of federalism and states’ rights.

Who’s involved: New Jersey (the case bears the name of Gov. Chris Christie), and a bunch of athletic associations, including the NCAA the NBA, the NFL, and the NHL. New Jersey legalized sports gambling at racetracks and casinos back in 2012. The sports groups tried to thwart the move, citing a federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which essentially bans the government from facilitating sports gambling.

There are exceptions in the law for places where gambling was already legal (including Nevada and Atlantic City), but the federal government wanted to stop that from happening anywhere else. New Jersey is arguing that this is federal overreach.

The backstory: A federal district court ruled against New Jersey’s argument in 2014; the Third Circuit Court of Appeals did the same in 2016.

Argument date: Not yet scheduled

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