The nation is waiting in suspense this weekend as the U.S. Supreme Court tees up oral arguments on a series of potentially consequential cases.
According to Law & Crime, the SCOTUS is set to hear arguments on four major cases this week. Among the issues coming before the court is a dispute between two states over shared water rights, a procedural matter regarding the credibility of asylum claims, and a question of whether misdemeanor crimes count as “exigent circumstances” allowing for warrantless searches by police.
A case of states’ rights
On Monday, the high court will hear arguments in the case of Florida v. Georgia, a dispute that falls under its original jurisdiction. The suit was first filed at the Supreme Court level in 2013, according to SCOTUSblog.
The case reportedly involves the rights of both states with regard to the usage of water in the Apalachicola River, which flows from northern Georgia south through the Florida panhandle to the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida has argued that Georgia uses too much of the water, a practice the Sunshine State says has proven detrimental to its oyster fisheries. Accordingly, the state has requested that caps be imposed on usage so that more water flows into the Gulf.
Georgia, meanwhile, has reportedly countered that such caps would prove harmful to both the Atlanta metro area, which relies on the river for water, as well as its agricultural industry in the southern region of the state, which uses the river for irrigation.
The court previously heard arguments on the case in 2018, according to Law & Crime, but left the dispute unresolved. Now, a new “special master” has been placed in charge, and there are two new justices on the high court, which could have an impact on how things turn out.
More cases on the docket
The next day, SCOTUS will hear arguments in a pair of asylum cases, Rosen v. Dai and Rosen v. Alcaraz-Enriquez, Law & Crime reports.
At issue is whether a court of appeals can or should assume that an asylum-seeker’s claims of persecution are credible if an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has not specifically ruled them so. It’s largely a procedural matter, but could have a significant bearing on how future immigration cases are heard going forward.
Finally, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Lange v. California, which pertains to the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures by the police.
According to the Constitutional Accountability Center, which filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff, Arthur Lange had been followed home by a police officer who, due to Lange’s loud music, suspected he was drunk driving. The officer only turned on his squad car’s lights as Lange entered his driveway, however, and followed Lange into his garage without a warrant, where Lange was subsequently arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
Law & Crime reports that the officer cited the misdemeanor offense of loud music as an “exigent circumstance” that allowed him to proceed without a warrant. Typically, only the suspicion of serious felonies or imminent danger to the public has been considered by courts as such — but like in the other cases coming before the high court this week, it’s now up to the SCOTUS to give its final say.