Supreme Court takes up several cases with Texas ties

The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on several controversial cases this week. Some of them have Texas ties.

In fact, the three most closely watched cases all originated in Texas. The first relates to a Texas law that places significant restrictions on abortion clinics.

The law requires all abortion clinics in the state be ambulatory surgical centers and that doctors performing abortions first obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Supporters of the law say it’s about protecting women’s health. Opponents say the law makes it nearly impossible to operate an abortion clinic in the state of Texas, leaving only nine clinics in the country’s second most populous state.

The case known as U.S. vs. Texas is a multi-state challenge of the president’s use of executive power to block certain undocumented immigrants from being deported, despite being in the country illegally.

At issue is whether as many as 4 million immigrants can be spared deportation, including many who entered the country illegally as children or those who are parents of citizens or legal residents.

Opponents say the White House’s broad immigration policy plan exceeds the president’s constitutional power.

The justices will also take up the controversial issue of using racial preferences in university admissions. The case was filed by a white student who was denied admission to the University of Texas.

The justices first heard the case three years ago. At that time the high court demanded tougher judicial scrutiny of the schools use of race, but it wasn’t a final, definitive ruling.

Some court watchers think it’s likely the high court will come down against the use of racial preferences in admissions, but nothing can be predicted with certainty.

Because of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia back in February, the court only has eight members and 4-4 tie votes are possible.

Tie votes mean a default victory for the party that won at the lower court. But, the Supreme Court could re-argue the case when it is operating again at full strength.