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The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in the case of Moore v. Texas, a challenge to the standards Texas uses to determine whether inmates are too mentally disabled to be executed. In this case, Bobby James Moore was sentenced to death in 1980 for the murder of a grocery store clerk. A court later ruled that Moore was too mentally disabled to be executed, based on modern medical standards. Texas's highest criminal court, however, reversed that determination.

Questions of intellectual disability and eligibility for capital punishment, Texas ruled, must be determined on the state's judicial precedent, which references an outdated medical definition of disability from 1992 and Lennie Small. Yes, that Lennie, the kindhearted but dim-witted character from John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."

A year ago on Sunday, while campaigning in Iowa, Donald Trump said that as president he would "absolutely" implement a registry for Muslims in the United States. He has since denied ever supporting a registry, though his Chief of Staff-in-waiting, Reince Priebus, has refused to rule the possibility out. And just the other day, a Trump surrogate went on TV to argue that such a registry would be perfectly constitutional. His evidence? Japanese internment and the Supreme Court's approval of it in Korematsu.

But Korematsu may not be good law any longer, despite having never been explicitly overturned, according to one Harvard law professor.

Gerrymandering in America is almost as old as U.S. democracy itself. In 1788, Patrick Henry drew congressional boundaries in Virginia in order to keep James Madison out of the first U.S. congress. (It didn't work.) But despite gerrymandering's long history, it's widely acknowledged as a threat to democracy, as a way to manipulate America's political processes for unearned advantage.

Now, the issue of gerrymandering will be back before the Supreme Court this December, as the Court hears oral arguments in two gerrymandering cases, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris. The results could be significant.

The Supreme Court is looking to keep controversial, potentially divisive issues off its docket this term, the conventional wisdom goes -- at least until it has a ninth justice on the bench. Today's oral arguments, for example, deal with service dogs and administrative exhaustion, for one, and cheerleader uniforms, in the other. Hardly the kind of issues that grab headlines or split the Court.

But the idea that the Court was playing it safe was upended on Friday, when the Court granted cert in five new cases, including a dispute over transgender students' ability to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a fundamental right to marry. So far, the impact of that ruling, Obergefell v. Hodges, has largely been confined to similar issues. (A quick review: Does Obergefell mean that state same-sex marriage bans are invalid? Yes, of course. Even Puerto Rico's? Yes. Does it require states to issue same-sex marriage licenses? Yes. Even if you're Kim Davis? Yes. Even if you're in Alabama? Yes. Really? Yes.)

But now a new lawsuit is turning to Obergefell to strike down marriage license paperwork requirements in Louisiana. These requirements are seen by marriage equality advocates as unconstitutionally burdening the marriage rights of immigrants and refugees, be they gay, straight, or other.

Sergio Hernandez died in Mexico, but the bullet that killed him was fired from the United States. The 15-year-old boy was shot in the head by a Border Patrol agent in 2010. The agent, Jesus Mesa, initially said Hernandez was throwing rocks in order to distract agents from a smuggling operation; his parents say he was simply playing with friends along the unmarked border that separates El Paso, Texas, from Juarez, Mexico.

The Hernandez family sued, alleging that Mesa violated the Constitution when he killed their son, but an en banc Fifth Circuit tossed the suit. Now, the Supreme Court will take up Hernandez's case, ruling later this term on how far constitutional protections against excessive force can reach.

Miguel Angel Pena-Rodriguez was guilty because 'he's Mexican and Mexican men take whatever they want,' a juror in Pena-Rodriguez's misdemeanor sexual harassment trial declared during deliberations. Then that jury convicted Pena-Rodriguez, a conviction that requires him to register as a sex offender.

Yet when two jurors came forward to reveal the openly racist comments, there was little Pena-Rodriguez could do. Colorado, where he was convicted, prohibits the use of juror testimony during an inquiry into the validity of a verdict or indictment. This "no impeachment" rule, which can be found in virtually every jurisdiction, shouldn't be allowed to trump Pena-Rodriguez's right to a fair trial, he argued in the Supreme Court today. From the looks of it, he may have a few justices on his side.

When Duane Edward Buck was tried for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and a man he suspected of being her lover, the jury did not struggle to convict him. But they were more hesitant over whether he should be sentenced to death, focusing, according to NPR's Nina Totenberg, on whether Buck would pose a danger in the future. Buck's own defense may have tipped the scales, sending him to death row, when it introduced testimony that Buck posed a greater risk in the future simply because he was black.

Today, the Supreme Court took up Buck's case, hearing oral arguments over whether that prejudiced testimony was enough to entitle Buck to appeal his conviction. And, if today's arguments are any indication, things are starting to look promising for Buck.

What could be the upcoming term's most interesting case isn't a dispute over controversial subjects like gay rights or immigration. It doesn't involve boldface names or the continued existence of massive government programs. No one's life hangs in the balance.

It's Trinity Lutheran v. Pauley, and it's a battle over used tires and religion -- or rather, whether a church in Missouri can have access to a state program that helps resurface playgrounds with rubber from ground up scrap tires. But as peculiar as this conflict might be, it could have a significant impact on religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

Whether a Texas inmate lives or dies could depend, in part, on the work of John Steinbeck. In the upcoming term, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Moore v. Texas, a challenge to the sentence of Bobby James Moore, who faces execution for the murder of grocery store clerk, but who also suffers from severe intellectual incapacity.

The case asks the Court to weigh in on the standard Texas uses when deciding if someone's intellectual disability is so extreme as to disqualify them from a death sentence. Moore wants a standard that comports with modern medical understandings. Texas's highest criminal court, however, demanded the use of a more out-dated metric, the so-called "Lennie standard," named after the sweet-natured, but feeble-minded character from Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."