Down to final four decisions from Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a couple of rulings that could change the landscape of civil rights in America. The decisions are being called the "Final Four."

Two of the rulings deal with same sex marriage. The first challenges California's ban on gay marriage, also known as Proposition 8. While that ruling would not directly effect Alabama, it could set a precedent for other states.

The other same sex marriage ruling will be on a federal law that says that marriage is between a man and a woman. That law is known as the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. It prevents gay couple from getting married and therefore, prevents them from collecting federal benefits that married couples are eligible for.

Another big decision will come from Shelby County. The county wants section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to be lifted. It requires states and counties with a history of voter discrimination to seek approval through the Justice Department before making any changes to voting procedures. That includes things like moving polling places and redrawing district lines.

Shelby County argues that enforcing section 5 costs the county a lot of money and they believe the practice is outdated. Congress reauthorized the act in 2006. Opponents argue that the data used then was primarily from 1964.

Other people, including Kenneth Dukes, a pastor at Holly Grove Baptist Church says that the issue of voter discrimination is still alive today and the act needs to be upheld.

The other decision will be on a case that challenges the affirmative action policy at the University of Texas.

The high court could hand down decisions Monday or Thursday. The court recesses after that, but they do have the ability to appoint more decision days.

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