WASHINGTON – Supreme Court justices are trying to finish rulings in remaining cases before the end of their busy wrap-up week so they can begin a three-month summer break.
Court members hear arguments in about 80 cases every term, and they usually save some of their biggest rulings for the very end.
Justices announced five rulings on Monday, on such issues as campaign spending and the death penalty. There are another two pending.
On Wednesday, the court issued three rulings on free-speech rights of inmates, a Texas congressional redistricting map and new trials for foreign suspects.
The court ruled by a 6-2 vote that Pennsylvania officials did not violate the free-speech rights of troublesome inmates by keeping secular newspapers and magazines away from them. Justices said the state could use newspapers as incentives to get inmates in a high-security unit to behave themselves. Click here to read the story.
Democrats won a small victory on another ruling that upheld most of the Republican-backed Texas congressional map engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay but threw out part, saying some of the new boundaries failed to protect minority voting rights. Democratic and minority groups argued that the map was an unconstitutional power grab in drawing boundaries that targeted Democratic incumbents. Click here to read the story.
The court also issued a ruling against two foreign suspects who argued an international treaty required police to inform them that they had a right to contact their governments when they were arrested. Justices did not decide whether a 1969 treaty signed by the United States and several other countries requires suspects to be informed of such a right. Click here to read the story.
The high court could resolve the final cases on Thursday or later this week.
The issues still to be resolved:
—Whether President Bush overstepped his authority with military war-crimes trials for foreigners held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
—Whether to strike down Arizona's insanity defense law, in an appeal brought on behalf of a schizophrenic teenager who killed a police officer.