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The Supreme Court Building is seen, Thursday, March 5, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The Supreme Court Building is seen, Thursday, March 5, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The biggest cases the Supreme Court will hear this term


It's the first Monday in October -- meaning a new term for the U.S. Supreme Court, and a new slate of cases to consider.

The judges decided not to reconsider President Obama's proposed overhaul of the immigration system after a 4-4 split vote in June.

There are a number of big decisions to make this term, but the court will do so with only eight justices, since GOP leaders in the Senate continue to block Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland. 

Here are the biggest cases the court will handle this term. 

Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed celebrates his touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

When do trademarked names count as derogatory? 

This is a big deal to Washington Redskins fans. A rock band called The Slants won its case in a lower court, which may make it easier for the NFL team to keep its controversial name. 

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Can you patent rounded corners? 

Samsung's case against Apple continues. Apple claims Samsung has violated its iPhone patents by having a phone with, among other things, rounded corners. Lower courts ordered Samsung to pay almost $1 billion.

Can a church get government money for playgrounds? 

Missouri initially ruled that Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia wasn't eligible to get government grant money to fix playgrounds with recycled tires. The church argued that playgrounds aren't religious activities, and the lack of grants make the playgrounds dangerous for kids. 

What exactly counts as insider trading?

This one gets tricky. In the case, a tipster told his relative, who then told his friend -- a grocery wholesaler named Bassam Salman -- some insider information. Salman's lawyers say a conviction gives the government free reign to prosecute any insider who tells his relative any trade information.

But the prosecution says if they don't convict, then more businessmen will pass along insider information to friends and family, according to SCOTUSblog.

All of the rhetoric is about race, but the true, underlying motivation is unquestionably partisanship.
Nicholas Stephanopoulos, University of Chicago

Can lawmakers draw voting districts based on race?

Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v.  Harris  both involve Republican state legislatures that drew voting district lines such that some were largely populated by minorities, leaving the surrounding areas whiter and more Republican.

Will the death penalty change?

Two different cases, Buck v. Davis and Moore v. Texas, challenge some aspect of the death penalty. The defendant in the former wants a new sentencing after a defense witness testified that black people are "more likely to be dangerous."

The latter defendant argues Texas needs to update its legal definition of mental disability with regards to the death penalty.

Gavin Grimm.jpg
In this Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 photo, transgender high school student Gavin Grimm poses in Gloucester, Va. Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, heads back to Gloucester High School for his senior year as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to intervene in his case that challenges the county school’s policy barring him from using the bathroom of his choice. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

What does the court think of transgender people and bathrooms?  

This case might not end up being heard. Gavin Grimm was fighting to use the boy's bathroom in his Virginia school.

jack phillips.jpg
File - In this March 10, 2014 file photo, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips decorates a cake inside his store, in Lakewood, Colo. Phillips, who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, is to argue Tuesday, July 7, 2015 before the Colorado Court of Appeals that his religious beliefs should protect him from sanctions against his business. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

Can a wedding cake baker refuse to serve gay couples? 

This case is another maybe. A Colorado baker has refused to serve gay couples and has repeatedly appealed after courts have ruled his actions were discriminatory.

Which Supreme Court case is most important to you?

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