(CNN) - A day after the Supreme Court upheld the health care law, Chief Justice John Roberts joked that he would spend some time at "an impregnable island fortress" to escape the torrent of vitriol and praise heaped on the bench.
The nation is now focused on the presidential election, but attention will likely shift back to the court after the November vote. A new term opens on Monday and the nine justices will address another potentially historic docket. Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, voting rights, and abortion could be taken up.
"The justices are moving from the frying pan right into the fire, having moved up with the big healthcare case," said Thomas Goldstein, a leading Washington lawyer and publisher of SCOTUSblog.com. "They are tackling some of the most difficult legal questions of today. Across the board, probably the biggest term in at least a decade."
A range of explosive issues will test Roberts' leadership of a shaky 5-4 conservative majority:
–Affirmative action and whether universities may continue to use race as one factor in student admissions to maintain a diverse campus.
–Same-sex marriage and the constitutional "equal protection" rights of gay and lesbian couples to wed.
–Voting rights challenges to rigorous federal oversight of state and local elections, and to voter identification laws.
–"Personhood" laws that say life begins at conception, a push by some states and anti-abortion opponents to perhaps revisit the Roe v. Wade ruling.
These issues and several other important criminal, business, and international cases could change the social political landscape in coming years.
Editor's note: Jose Antonio Vargas is the founder of Define American, a nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign that seeks to elevate the immigration conversation. An award-winning journalist, Vargas disclosed his undocumented immigration status in an essay for The New York Times Magazine in June 2011. Vargas attended California's public schools and early this year was named Alumnus of the Year by San Francisco State University.
(CNN) - Arizona's immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, has generated a lot of ink recently, especially with a court ruling last week that allowed a controversial provision that in my view will result in racial profiling to move forward.
The law's goal is chilling: ramp up deportations of undocumented people by forcing local police into the difficult role of immigration agents. And with last week's ruling, police are now required to go out of their way to investigate the immigration status of everyone they "suspect" might be undocumented whom they arrest or stop.
In practice, that will mean targeting people just for the way they look or speak, separating families, and trapping undocumented people in local jails for minor infractions to await deportation.
As an undocumented American - and I am, in my heart, an American - it is my hope that our nation doesn't follow Arizona's discriminatory example. Will Arizona become the norm, or can we work as a nation to fix dysfunctional immigration policies so that they reflect our best values as Americans?
All eyes are now on California for a key part of the answer.
Read Jose Antonio Vargas' full column
Television empress Oprah Winfrey is America's only African-American billionaire, according to Forbes magazine. She's worth $2.7 billion.
Despite her persona and global influence, Winfrey came in last in Fortune magazine's latest poll on the 50 most powerful women in business.
So who's the woman who topped the list? Hint: She found herself embroiled in a recent gender controversy involving a green jacket.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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