WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Supreme Court launches its 2010 session this week, tackling cases involving campaign finance, gun control and free speech, among others. The court's composition has shifted slightly with the election of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, but Justice Anthony Kennedy is still considered the swing vote.
Some closely watched cases on the docket include:
- Whether it's constitutional to sentence juvenile offenders to life in prison without parole (Roper v. Simmons);
- Whether a Latin cross memorial can be displayed on land once owned by the federal government (Buono v. Kempthorne);
- Whether state and local gun control laws violate the Second Amendment (McDonald v. Chicago); and
- Whether a conservative nonprofit group should have been blocked from showing a political documentary called "Hillary: The Movie" on cable-on-demand before the 2008 primary elections (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission).
The justices convened early to hear Citizens United v. FEC, which marked Sotomayor's debut on the high court.
They also agreed to take up several business cases this term, including one that asks if a method of hedging financial risk can be patented.