2013: A year for big issues in the courts
December 27, 2012 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
Chief Justice John Roberts re-administers the oath of office to Barack Obama at the White House on January 21, 2009.
- Jeffrey Toobin: 2013 will see pivotal decisions in several key areas of law
- He says Supreme Court could decide fate of same-sex marriage
- Affirmative action for public college admissions is also on Court's agenda
- Toobin: Newtown massacre put gun control debate back in the forefront
Editor's note: Jeffrey Toobin is a senior legal analyst for CNN and a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, where he covers legal affairs. He is the author of "The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court."
(CNN) -- What will we see in 2013?
One thing for sure: The year will begin with Chief Justice John Roberts and President Obama getting two chances to recite the oath correctly.
After that, here are my guesses.
1. Same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court. There are two cases, and there are a Rubik's Cube-worth of possibilities for their outcomes. On one extreme, the court could say that the federal government (in the Defense of Marriage Act) and the states can ban or allow same-sex marriage as they prefer. On the other end, the Court could rule that gay people have a constitutional right to marry in any state in the union. (Or somewhere in between.)
CNN Opinion contributors weigh in on what to expect in 2013. What do you think the year holds in store? Let us know @CNNOpinion
on Twitter and Facebook/CNNOpinion
2. The future of affirmative action. In a case pending before the Supreme Court, the Court could outlaw all affirmative action in admissions at public universities, with major implications for all racial preferences in all school or non-school settings.
3. Gun control returns to the agenda. The Congress (and probably some states) will wrestle with the question of gun control, an issue that had largely fallen off the national agenda before the massacre in Newtown. Expect many invocations (some accurate, some not) of the Second Amendment.
Court same-sex marriage reaction
4. The continued decline of the death penalty. Death sentences and executions continue to decline, and this trend will continue. Fear of mistaken executions (largely caused by DNA exonerations) and the huge cost of the death penalty process will both accelerate the shift.
5. Celebrity sex scandal. There will be one. There will be outrage, shock and amusement. (Celebrity to be identified later.)
Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter
Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeffrey Toobin.
Part of complete coverage on
May 22, 2013 -- Updated 1242 GMT (2042 HKT)
Peter Bergen says there's a great deal of misinformation about the counterterrorism policies President Obama will address in a speech Thursday.
May 22, 2013 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
Two decades ago, Joshua Prager was one of more than 20 people in a terrible bus crash. The author revisits the scene to see how others have made sense of the event.
May 22, 2013 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
Joshua Wurman says tornado deaths can be reduced, prediction and preparedness can be improved, but it's up to individuals to make sure they heed warnings and have a safe place to go.
May 22, 2013 -- Updated 1457 GMT (2257 HKT)
Ruben Navarette says under Obama, a record number of immigrants have been deported. So why is his drive for immigration reform now in conflict with enforcement officials?
May 22, 2013 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Nathan Gunter says Okies have learned to love the big sky, but also to watch it carefully for signs of trouble: When the sky betrays us, we cope by helping one another.
May 22, 2013 -- Updated 1333 GMT (2133 HKT)
LZ Granderson says the heroics of teachers who shielded kids in the Oklahoma tornado remind us of what they do for our country
May 22, 2013 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
Tornado researcher Louis Wicker says progress is being made on understanding and predicting extreme storms, but if you hear a warning, take cover immediately
May 21, 2013 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
The masked henchmen grabbed three fingers on each of the Syrian political cartoonist's hands and pulled them back all the way -- so far that they cracked.
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
Meg Urry says loss of the failing, planet-finding Kepler satellite would be huge for NASA--but one way or another, it's a matter of time before we find signs of life on other worlds
May 21, 2013 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Yahoo isn't buying a technology company so much as the community that uses it, Douglas Rushkoff says
May 21, 2013 -- Updated 1515 GMT (2315 HKT)
Joseph Nye says it's far too early to write off the rest of the president's second term because of the IRS controversy, other issues
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton write that people pass up opportunities to spend their money to avoid disagreeable tasks
May 19, 2013 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Bob Greene on how 18th century Americans tried to make sense of the day with no sun
May 18, 2013 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
With guest Rep. Keith Ellison, John Avlon, Margaret Hoover and Dean Obeidallah discuss the president's scandal trifecta, hope for immigration and what Jolie's revelation means for women.
May 17, 2013 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
The press has turned on President Obama with a vengeance, writes Howard Kurtz
May 18, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Donna Brazile says our democracy is endangered, not by the Russians, North Korea, Iran or even terrorists. To quote Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us."
May 18, 2013 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
Photographer Arne Svenson defends his show "Neighbors," portraits of the occupants of a building near him taken through their windows.
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1337 GMT (2137 HKT)
Theater critic Kevin Williamson was kicked out of a play when he took the phone away from an audience member and threw it. He says it was worth it.
May 18, 2013 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
Gil Welch says women must not panic over Angelina Jolie's mastectomies: 99% of women don't carry the BRCA1 gene.
May 18, 2013 -- Updated 0852 GMT (1652 HKT)
JR's "Inside Out" project brings public spaces alive with giant representations of people
May 17, 2013 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
Roger Colinvaux says the IRS scandal is fundamentally about disclosure of donors, not tax-exempt status.
May 16, 2013 -- Updated 1514 GMT (2314 HKT)
Maia Goodell says the military should use civil legal remedies on sexual assault cases.
Today's five most popular stories