NBC 7 reporter Brandi Powell talks to local legal experts on what to expect in this week's Supreme Court decisions.
Groundbreaking decisions are expected this week at the Supreme Court as highly-anticipated rulings come down on four major civil liberty cases.
Two of those cases deal with same-sex marriage, while the others concern affirmative action and voting rights.
Many believe the rulings will impact individuals, families and communities far and wide, including David Loy, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties (ACLU).
“These four cases in particular have the power to be a path-breaking change in our society,” said Loy.
One case challenges the constitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. A second case challenges the constitutionality of California proposition 8.
"Yeah I think they should have the same rights, I mean there's no reason to hold somebody back on account of what their lifestyle is,” said San Diego resident Jeffrey Laxton, referring to the two cases.
A third case raises the question of whether part of the Voting Rights Act is constitutional, in jurisdictions with documented instances of discrimination.
“[If overturned], those jurisdictions will continue to require federal approval, for changing any aspect of voting procedures and laws, to make sure no one is denied access to the ballot,” explained Loy.
A fourth case addresses whether state universities continue to engage in voluntary affirmative action.
“I think it should be basically based on your grades and your educational output,” said local Joy Mateo about that particular case.
Loy breaks down the affirmative action case like this:
“Will the court will turn its back on a legacy of protecting diversity in higher education by allowing public universities to consider race or ethnicity as one factor among many in achieving the compelling interest of producing diverse student body?"
Answers on these major, and potentially groundbreaking, civil liberty cases could come as early as Monday or Thursday – the days when the Justices usually announce their decisions.