Saturday afternoon, I attended a session at ABA Annual called “On the Docket,” a program reviewing the interesting cases and trends from the 2013-2014 term of the United States Supreme Court. Moderated Bob Ambrogi, lawyer and legal journalist, the panelists were chosen for their expertise on the Supreme Court and were drawn from the top ranks of journalists and scholars.

The panelists started by summarizing the 2013-2014 U.S. Supreme Court term and Renee Landers, professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School summed things up nicely by saying, “We saw a court that was forced to contend with a lot of social issues of our time, like Affirmative Action and the constitutionality of issues around the Affordable Care Act.”

From Hobby Lobby to the town of Greece, there was an intermingling of politics and religion that was interesting and will cause continuing conversation, agreed the panelists.

They also talked about the First Amendment and how it was embraced with gusto this past year. In terms of campaign contribution issues (most held unconstitutional in 2013-2014), we’ll see further attacks on restrictions, according to Paul Smith, partner in Jenner & Block’s Washington, D.C., office.

When it comes to business cases, it wasn’t a particularly Earth-shattering term, especially with the Halliburton case fizzling, according to Kannon Shanmugan, partner at Williams & Connolly. The biggest theme for business cases this past year was patent cases, according to Shanmugan. “The biggest trend on the business side of the docket was the Court’s continued interest in patent law and the work of the Federal Circuit,” he said.

When asked which issues would be hot topics in the next year, the panelists mentioned same sex marriage cases, religion and prisoners’ rights, employment cases, and securities cases.

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