Highlights of some high-profile cases that the Supreme Court will take up in its term that begins Monday:
_Guns: The Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms has never been held to apply to state and local laws restricting guns. The court is taking up a challenge to a handgun ban in Chicago to decide whether this right, like many others in the Bill of Rights, acts to restrict state and local laws or only federal statutes. If the court sides with gun rights supporters, lawsuits to overturn all manner of gun control laws are likely.
_Animal cruelty videos: A 1999 federal law bars depictions of acts of animal cruelty, including pit bull fights. A federal appeals court overturned a Virginia man's conviction and struck down the law because it impermissibly restricted his First Amendment rights. The Obama administration says courts should treat this issue the same as child pornography and rule that pictures and videos deserve no constitutional protection.
_Mojave cross: For most of the past 75 years, a cross on public land in a remote part of the Mojave National Preserve has stood as a memorial to World War I soldiers. The court takes up a long-running legal fight over whether the cross, which Congress declared a national memorial, violates First Amendment religious protections despite Congress' decision to transfer the land to private ownership.
_Mutual fund fees: A fight over the fees paid to an investment adviser gives the court a timely chance to weigh in on compensation paid to financial services executives. Individual mutual fund investors claim in a suit that they are paying unreasonably higher fees than institutional investors to the adviser who chooses their funds' stocks. The court could use this case to resolve disagreements among lower courts about whether plaintiffs have to prove merely that the fees are excessive or demonstrate that the adviser misled the mutual funds' directors who approved the fees.