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The Supreme Court’s Big Summer

BY RELEVANT CURRENT / GLOBAL / ISSUE 65 August 19, 2013

The Supreme Court had a very busy summer. Here are some of the most important (and controversial) cases they decided:

###DOMA and Prop 8

In two rulings determined the same day, the Supreme Court ruled parts of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal recognition of same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. They also upheld a lower court’s decision to overturn California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in the state.

###Patentable DNA

The court ruled that naturally occurring DNA segments cannot be patented. The ruling allows labs across the country to perform screenings once only available at clinics that held a monopoly on the DNA code. However, the court ruled artificial DNA strands were subject to patents.

###Voting Rights

In an extremely controversial decision, the Supreme Court cut many elements of the Voting Rights Act, which was first enacted in 1965. The decision no longer requires states to receive federal approval before changing voting requirements, which some critics say opens up the process to potentially discriminatory policies.