The Supreme Court began its new term Monday by declining to accept appeals in some 2,000 cases accumulated during its summer break. In doing so, the high court allowed lower court rulings to stand, says the New York Times. The cases included appeals concerning the Pledge of Allegiance, the Confederate flag and license plates bearing the words “Choose Life.”
The Pledge of Allegiance case concerned a Florida law that requires public school students who object to reciting the pledge to get a parent's permission to be excused from the exercise. A federal appeals court upheld the law. The court also declined to disturb a federal appeals court ruling that a Tennessee high school could forbid displaying the Confederate flag as part of its dress code. For at least the fifth time, the Supreme Court declined to wade into the heavily litigated question of whether state motor vehicles departments may or must offer specialty license plates that say “Choose Life.” The Supreme Court also declined to revisit a pair of fractured rulings from 1972 that said the Constitution does not require states to insist on unanimous juries in criminal cases. Only two states, Louisiana and Oregon, allow convictions by non-unanimous votes.