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The Supreme Court this week will again assemble for a new term and pundits and politicians are already handicapping the cases. This term, however, has more drama and tension as Democrats call for packing the court with an instant liberal majority and others attack its members in anticipation of opinions that have yet to be written.
The reality is summed up in one of my favorite stories about Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes when he was on a trip to Washington. Holmes forgot his ticket but the train conductor reassured him, “Do not worry about your ticket. We all know who you are. When you get to your destination, you can find it and just mail it to us.” Holmes responded, “My dear man, the problem is not my ticket. The problem is, where am I going?”
The same question is being posed about the court as a whole. Last term was marked more by unanimous decisions than sharply divided justices breaking along neat ideological lines. However, this term has some “matinee cases” that could deliver transformative rulings. Here are four such cases to watch.