Overview of the 1998 Supreme Court Term
The Supreme Court has already granted review in more than half of the cases it is likely to hear during the upcoming Term. Although the Court is never able to escape controversy entirely, for the second year in a row its docket is not loaded with headline-generating cases. That, in itself, is an interesting commentary on the Supreme Court's role in our constitutional system given the political turmoil now swirling around the other branches of government. There are, nonetheless, several cases on the docket that could lead to important rulings with long-term consequences for civil rights and civil liberties. In addition, there are a number of pending petitions for certiorari that raise substantial constitutional questions; some of those petitions are almost certain to be granted in the next several months. As always, therefore, the complexion of the Supreme Court year can look very different at the end than at the beginning.