Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court during a formal group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 7, 2022. Seated from left: Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Standing from left: Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. File Photo by Eric Lee/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court will begin a fresh docket of cases starting Monday, highlighted by cases involving free speech and gun rights.
The high court, featuring a conservative majority, opens the new term with a case related to federal drug sentencing. However, First Amendment cases focused on how elected officials engage with social media will be a marquee discussion in coming months.
One of the cases, Lindke vs. Freed, will examine whether a public official's social media activity is considered state action. The other, O'Connor-Ratcliff vs. Garnier, asks whether a public official is depriving a person of their First Amendment rights by blocking them on social media.
There is also the question arising from Republican-led states Texas and Florida about alleged free speech violations and censorship of conservative views on social media platforms, including Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter.
Florida enacted a law in 2021 that applies several requirements to social media companies for alerting users if their posts are modified or removed. A coalition of internet trade associations, with members including Google and Meta, have challenged the law.
Texas codified a similar law that restricts the content moderation activities of social media companies.
The Second Amendment will take center stage in a case that explores the rights of people accused of domestic violence to carry firearms.
In 2022, the high court made a 6-3 ruling in the case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association vs. Bruen, that restricts limits states can place on gun ownership. The ruling by conservative justices took an originalist point of view on gun rights.
In this incoming term, the court will weigh the case United States vs. Rahimi. The case challenges a 30-year-old federal law that bars people accused of domestic violence and people with domestic violence related restraining orders from possessing firearms.
Zackey Rahimi, the plaintiff in the case, is challenging the constitutionality of the law. He was the subject of a restraining order from his former girlfriend in 2020, when he was involved in five shootings and threatened another woman with a gun. He was found to be in possession of two firearms.
A restraining order was granted for Rahimi's former girlfriend due to the allegation that he assaulted her and threatened to shoot her if she told anyone.
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to begin on Nov. 7.