A brief look at the new cases that the Supreme Court said Thursday it would consider during its 2014-2015 term, which begins Monday:
–Whether retailer Abercrombie & Fitch discriminated against a Muslim woman who was denied a job because her headscarf conflicted with the company's dress code, which the clothing chain has since changed. The Obama administration is appealing a lower court decision that said the New Albany, Ohio-based company did not discriminate because the job applicant did not specifically say she needed a religious accommodation. At issue is how employers must deal with laws that require them to make allowances for a worker's religious practices, as long as doing so does not cause the business too much hardship.
–Whether the court should take away a powerful legal tactic the Obama administration and others have used to combat housing discrimination. A Texas case challenges the theory, known as disparate impact, that certain housing or lending practices can illegally harm minority groups, even when there is no proof of intent to discriminate. The court tried to tackle the issue twice before, but those cases were settled out of court in 2012 and 2013, just weeks before oral argument. While this legal device routinely has been used in employment discrimination cases, it is not explicitly covered under the Fair Housing Act.