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Speaking at the University of Minnesota Law School earlier this week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that the Sixth Circuit cases on same-sex marriage were going to be crucial to the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decisions.

If the Sixth Circuit upholds bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, "there will be some urgency" on the High Court's part to intervene, Ginsburg told the audience.

"There are drones flying over the air randomly that are recording everything that's happening on what we consider our private property. That type of technology has to stimulate us to think about what is it that we cherish in privacy and how far we want to protect it and from whom."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a discussion with faculty and students at Oklahoma City University's law school, sounded the alarm on privacy intrusion, by both public and private actors, reports The Wall Street Journal's Bits Blog. This alarm, of course, is one that many Americans have been hearing ever since Edwards Snowden blew the whistle on the National Security Agency's mass surveillance here and abroad.

And while Justice Sotomayor's comments were general in nature, and addressed unmanned drones controlled by both the government and private citizens, her comments and recent Supreme Court decisions indicate that the Court may just be ready to start addressing some of the more pressing privacy issues.

With the Supreme Court set to consider same-sex marriage petitions from five states at its first conference on September 29, one argument lurks in the background.

Utah, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Virginia passed their same-sex marriage amendments through statewide referenda. "Millions of voters" would be "disenfranchised," Utah argued, if the Court didn't take the case. Similarly, Wisconsin said the Seventh Circuit's opinion "ignored Wisconsin voters' right to 'exercise[] their privilege to enact laws as a basic exercise of their democratic power.'"

Implicit in this concern for popular sovereignty must be a suggestion that, when the people themselves make law, that law is somehow more important than when the legislature does it (and, as a corollary, it's more important because it's achieved via the mechanism of voting). Consequently, the Court must take the great weight of popular opinion into account.

Can you feel it? Only 19 more days until the Court returns for its Big Fall Conference. The BFC will determine the fate of thousands of cert. petitions, including the growing pile of same-sex marriage appeals.

But the Obamacare cases may have to wait a bit. The D.C. Circuit, which ruled against federal Obamacare subsidies, granted en banc review, delaying that case's inevitable request for Supreme Court review. And the religious exemption cases are marching forward in the Tenth Circuit, with religious parties not satisfied with the latest revision to federal contraceptive coverage exemption paperwork.

Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., now allow same-sex couples to get married. In 14 other states, state or federal judges have overturned state-level bans on same-sex marriage. As this blog post is being written, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing oral arguments on same-sex marriage bans in Hawaii, Nevada, and Idaho.

The momentum for this movement came from the Supreme Court's 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a federal ban on same-sex marriage as violative of the Constitution.

Two years later, 32 states on both sides of the issue are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to finally rule on the legality of same-sex marriage bans as they pertain to the states. (Even the winners at the Fourth Circuit are urging the Court to take the case.)

This is an issue that the U.S. Supreme Court has been dodging for years: Whose speech is conveyed on a personalized license plate?

In 1977, the Supreme Court decided Wooley v. Maynard, a case where the Court presumed that a license plate was private speech and held that citizens couldn't be forced to display the motto "Live Free or Die." Since then, the Court has turned away case after case dealing with personalized plate programs, most of which were states' denials of pro-choice or pro-life license plates.

Now, the Court has two more cert. petitions on its desk: Texas' denial of a Confederate Sons plate and North Carolina's refusal to issue a pro-choice alternative to their existing pro-life plate.

Viewpoint discrimination? State speech? Private speech? Or some mixture of the two?

Even though the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate took a blow in Hobby Lobby, the Obama administration is still out there trying to preserve it -- and head off any future problems.

On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services issued new proposed rules about the procedures religious employers can use to get exempted from providing contraceptive coverage in their employer-sponsored health plans.

The U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the Fourth Circuit's decision in the Virginia gay marriage case, which means licenses won't be handed out to same-sex couples tomorrow. Anyone surprised by this? Thought so.

And despite a national trend toward increased support for same-sex marriage, at least one state is still staunchly opposed. Any guesses?

And finally, who wants to see a Supreme Court justice dump a bucket of ice water on his or her noggin? (Answer: We all do!)

Same-sex marriage: It's the hottest legal topic out there, one that despite a bit of issue fatigue, we end up covering every single day because there is some fascinating legal development at hand.

What's the latest on the many gay marriage appeals? After the Fourth Circuit declined to issue a stay in the Bostic case, where that court ruled against Virginia's gay marriage ban, state officials reached out to the U.S. Supreme Court for some timely intervention -- if no stay is issued, then gay marriage becomes legal in Virginia on Thursday.

Meantime, oral arguments in the Sixth Circuit, and a decision in a state court in one of that circuit's states, have drawn renewed attention to a decades-old order in which the Court already decided the gay marriage debate. But is it still valid?

When the majority in Shelby County held that the Voting Rights Act had outlived its purpose, all because minority voter registration numbers had caught up in previously problematic states, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was furious. Actually, lots of people were furious, but she was furious and had the bench to use as a pulpit.

We covered her powerful dissent, which pointed out every other sign of voter suppression: gerrymandering, racist southern lawmakers who were caught on tape referring to their black constituents as "aborigines," the hundreds of discriminatory voting law changes blocked by the DOJ since the 1980s, and more.

The majority had one stat: voter registration numbers. Ginsburg had many, many more. Here are a few others: