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Friday
Jun102011

Supreme Court Decisions to Watch: Walmart, Violent Video Games & More

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court term is winding down and the Justices have saved some of the most interesting cases for last. On Monday they will announce anywhere from one to four decisions. All the cases should be decided by the last week of June.

Walmart:  The Court will decide whether to allow one of the largest employment discrimination cases in history to go forward.  The case stems from a suit filed by six women who say they had been paid less than men in comparable positions despite having higher performance ratings and greater seniority.

Violent Video Games:  The Court will decide whether states can forbid the sale of violent video games to children. At issue is a California law, never allowed to go into effect, that provides for up to a $1,000 fine to retailers who sell violent video games to minors. The law defines the games as depicting   “maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being.” The video game industry argues that the law violates free speech and that parents should be left to decide what their children buy. Americans spend more than $10 billion a year on video games.

Global Warming: The Court will decide whether a coalition of states can sue five of the largest power companies and force them to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. The states say the plants emit 650 million tons of carbon dioxide each year , and they seek to sue under the common law of public nuisance. The companies, joined by the Obama administration argue that the issue should be handled by the political branches of government and not by the courts.

Campaign Spending Law: In its first campaign finance case since Citizen's United, the Court will review an Arizona public financing law. A provision of the Clean Elections Act gives public money to candidates who choose to forgo private fundraising. Supporters of campaign finance reform believe that laws like the 1998 Clean Elections Act could ultimately reduce spending. But private groups say the law squelches the First Amendment rights of organizations seeking to have their message heard.

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