—Affirmative action: A white woman denied admission to the University of Texas seeks to overturn the school'—s consideration of race among many factors in filling the last quarter of its freshman classes. A broad ruling could end the use of race in college admissions nationwide.
—Voting rights: A suburb of Birmingham, Ala., wants the court to end the nearly 50-year-old requirement for some state and local governments, mainly in the South and with a history of discrimination in voting, to get the advance approval of any changes in the way they hold elections.
—Native American adoption: A wrenching dispute over who gets custody of Native American girl, her biological father or the adoptive couple who cared for her until she was 2. The case involves the interpretation of a 1978 law intended to prevent American Indian children from being taken from their homes and typically placed with non-Indian adoptive or foster parents.
(Read More: Court Rules for American Express in Class Action)
—Generic Drugs: The industry is asking the Supreme Court to extend protections that makers of generic drugs have from state court lawsuits if federal officials have approved the design of the brand-name version the generic drug copied.
—Private property: A Florida property owner wants compensation, under the Constitution's requirement that the government must pay if it takes your property, for a local government's refusal to issue a development permit.
—Workplace discrimination: Two cases test different aspects of federal law barring discrimination on the basis of race. In one, the court has to decide what level of responsibility it takes to be considered a worker's supervisor in a discrimination complaint. The other asks whether an employer's action can be considered retaliation against an employee who complains of racial harassment if retaliation was a motivating factor, or must it be the only factor.