The Supreme Court opens its new term Monday facing decisions on the so-called Dreamers, LGBTQ rights, religion and abortion.

The justices will decide whether President Trump may revoke the Obama-era protections for more than 700,000 young immigrants, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the country illegally as children. And they will rule on whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which forbids job discrimination “because of sex” — protects gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual or queer employees from being fired.

The cases come before a court with five conservatives appointed by Republicans and four liberals appointed by Democrats.

Compared with the relative calm of last year, this term’s lineup of cases will almost surely spark more ideological splits, predicted Irv Gornstein, director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law School. “We will likely see a court moving further and faster in a rightward direction,” he said. “The docket almost guarantees it.”

But the wild card again may be Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who often strives to show that the high court, unlike the rest of official Washington, is not divided along political lines.

“When you live in a politically polarized environment, people tend to see everything in those terms,” Roberts said last month at an appearance in New York City. “That is not how we at the court function.”

California and 21 other states have laws that forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation, but Congress has not added such explicit protection to federal law. 

On Nov. 12, the court will hear the case of the Dreamers vs. President Trump. Shortly after Trump took office, his administration said it would reverse President Obama’s order that granted relief from deportation and allowed work permits to be issued to 700,000 young immigrants who arrived as children.

However, Trump’s advisors did so by claiming that Obama’s order, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), was unconstitutional and illegal. A judge in San Francisco and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the reversal on procedural grounds. Those judges said Obama’s order was entirely legal and therefore cannot be rescinded based on a false claim.

The justices are also weighing religious-rights appeals from Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia, which says it was removed from the city’s foster care system because it refused to place children with same-sex couples, and from a Christian florist in Washington state who was charged with violating the state’s civil rights law for refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.

“This could be one of the most consequential terms for religious freedom in a very long time,” said Luke Goodrich, a lawyer for the Becket Fund on Religious Liberty.Full story at LA Times.