Enlarge / Front row from left, U.S.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Stephen Breyer, back row from left, Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Samuel Alito Jr., Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Neil Gorsuch pose for a group portrait in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court on June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Supreme Court’s 2017-2018 term begins today, and there are plenty of high-interest cases for Ars readers that are already on the docket or currently pending with the justices.

The issues at hand range from surveillance, freedom of religion, and the definition of hacking to what constitutes an online threat and whether a federal law that bans sports wagering in most states—online and off—infringes on states rights.
One of the cases in particular is perhaps the biggest privacy case to have reached the court in the Digital Age. Carpenter vs. United States asks a far-reaching question: do the authorities need a probable-cause court warrant to access people’s mobile phone location history? Warrantless mobile phone tracking has become a mainstay of the American surveillance state following the high court’s 2012 ruling that warrants were needed for the authorities to place GPS trackers on vehicles.
And beyond the case content, the 2017-2018 term is also notable because the court is again back at full strength with nine justices.

The Trump administration nominated judge Neil Gorsuch at the start of this year to fill the seat vacated after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

The Senate confirmed Gorsuch in April. While his prior decisions and opinions may provide a hint at where the new justice stands on issues before the court, such as privacy and online speech, this will be Gorsuch’s first full term at the court.
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