OnPolitics: The Supreme Court returns with important questions and cases

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, center left, is escorted by Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts following her formal investiture ceremony at the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ORG XMIT: DCSA115

Happy Monday, OnPolitics readers!

The Supreme Court is back. The new term for the nation's high court kicked off on Monday with a new and historic justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson.

After more than two years of hearing oral arguments remotely or in a mostly empty courtroom because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nine justices faced a packed crowd as they took their tall, black chairs, according to Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze. For a look inside the court, read more here.

What cases will the Supreme Court hear this term? The nation's highest court agreed to hear 27 arguments so far – roughly half its expected caseload for the term that will likely end in June 2023. Some cases that the Supreme Court is set to hear include:

  • Two major cases with profound implications for how federal elections are conducted.

  • A debate over whether businesses that sell goods and services to the public may reject LGBTQ couples as customers.

  • A challenge to a 1978 mandate that authorities give preference to Native American families when a Native American child is placed for adoption.

What cases did it decline to hear this term? The court declined to take up a number of other controversies. It turned away an appeal from Michael Lindell, a prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump and the founder of MyPillow, who is fighting a $1.3 billion defamation suit over false allegations about the 2020 election. And it declined to review the federal ban on bump stocks, a device that lets a shooter fire a semi-automatic rifle more rapidly.

It's Amy with today's top stories out of Washington.

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Top races to watch update:

From the Texas gubernatorial race: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Democrat Beto O'Rourke met for their first — and probably only — in-person debate in the Texas governor's race on Friday.

Abbott's campaign messaging has centered on the economy and border security, while O'Rourke has campaigned largely on abortion rights and gun control. For a full recap of that debate, click here.

Real quick: stories you'll want to read

  • FBI says no credible threats to US elections: Federal authorities have identified no credible threats to U.S. election systems, senior FBI officials said Monday. But, tensions remain high.

  • Oath Keepers trial seeks to uncover "the full story": Prosecutors described members of the right-wing extremist militia group the Oath Keepers as leaders of a long-planned and carefully coordinated scheme to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power on Jan. 6, 2021 – by any means necessary. Ella Lee is in the courtroom today and will be sharing updates on the trial over the next few weeks!

  • 'We owe Puerto Rico a hell of a lot' As more rain threatened hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico on Monday, President Joe Biden promised to rebuild the island back — stronger than it was before it was hit by two devastating hurricanes in just five years.

  • Which state will go first in the 2024 primary calendar? Iowa has been the first state on the calendar for decades. Now, New Hampshire and Nevada are jockeying to move to the front of the line. Read about the factors influencing the primary schedule and which states are in the mix.

⚖️ Next on the docket for the Supreme Court: The justices will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a challenge to Alabama's recently redrawn congressional map. How this case could have major repercussions to voting rights in America.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Supreme Court returns to cases on elections, LGBTQ rights in new term