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Sep 29, 2012 1:10 PM by Matt Stafford

Supreme Court begins new term Monday

WASHINGTON (AP) - With health care reform in the rear-view mirror, the U.S. Supreme Court is about to embark on a term that could be just as important as the last one.

One of the first cases the court will take up is the limited use of race to help fill out incoming classes at the University of Texas. The outcome could further limit or even end the use of racial preferences in college admissions.

The court is also likely to consider at least one of the many appeals pending at the high court on gay marriage, such as an amendment to the California constitution outlawing same-sex marriage that federal courts have struck down.

Another hot topic with appeals pending before the high court is the Voting Rights Act, a cornerstone law of the civil rights movement. It requires jurisdictions with a history of racial and ethnic discrimination to get advance approval from the Justice Department before making any changes that affect elections.

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