ByÂ MARYANN BATLLE, Â Cronkite News
WASHINGTON â€“ The U.S. Supreme Court begins its 2012 term Monday right where it left off the last term â€“ hearing a case from Arizona.
The high court, which heard Arizonaâ€™s SB 1070 immigration law this spring as one of its last acts in the 2011 term, is scheduled to hear arguments Oct. 9 on an Arizona death-penalty case.
Arizona has two other cases in the wings, challenging lower court decisions that voided part of the stateâ€™s voter registration law and another on benefits for same-sex partners of state workers. And itâ€™s filed papers in support of an Alabama suit challenging federal oversight of some statesâ€™ elections procedures under the Voting Rights Act.
That doesnâ€™t even count the likely appeals this year from Arizona death-row inmates of their sentences.
Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said it is â€œrelatively rareâ€ to have multiple cases before the Supreme Court in the same term. He estimated that during his time as attorney general, from 2003 to 2011, the office averaged about one case a year.
â€œAnd I think thatâ€™s very high. Whenever youâ€™re talking about multiple cases from one state, itâ€™s very high,â€ Goddard said.
Toni Massaro, a constitutional law professor at the University of Arizonaâ€™s James E. Rogers College of Law, could not say Friday whether Arizonaâ€™s caseload this term is unusual. But she said Arizona has taken a â€œleadership roleâ€ before the high court when it comes to statesâ€™ rights, the issue that was at the core of theÂ SB 1070 caseÂ it argued in April.
â€œAs the federal regulatory reach expands, collisions with state regulatory powers are inevitable,â€ Massaro said by email.
â€œIt is fair to say that in the revival of interest in stateâ€™s rights and less federal power, Arizona is likely in many areas to take a leadership role in advancing statesâ€™ rights,â€ she wrote.
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