Last year, the legal world was swept up in the Affordable
Care Act (ACA) debate. Was the individual mandate constitutional? Was it a
penalty or a tax? For months, it was the topic that everyone wanted to
discuss.

In 2013, we expect the ACA to remain a hot topic in the
legal community, though it’s unlikely to capture the same level of media
attention as the individual mandate case. The ACA birth control mandate became
effective on January 1, and non-exempt employers like religious
colleges
and family-owned
companies
are asking federal appellate courts to find that the mandate
violates their Free Exercise rights. Even if the contraceptive coverage issues
are resolved in 2013, we expect even more litigation in 2014, when the bulk of
the ACA becomes effective.

Healthcare, however, will not be the only topic in the
courts in 2013. Here are five more trending legal topics that lawyers and
consumers alike will be discussing in 2013.

  1. Same Sex Marriage. In March, the
    Supreme Court will consider challenges to California’s Proposition 8, (an
    amendment to the state constitution which bans gay marriage) and the Defense of
    Marriage Act, (a federal statute limiting the definition of marriage to
    heterosexual couples for the purpose of federal benefits). Twenty-nine states
    have constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage, so the Court’s
    decisions could have broad implications.
  2. Gun Control. Lawmakers will respond
    to the gun-related tragedies in Aurora, Colorado and Newton, Connecticut with
    new gun control laws, and citizens and interest groups will respond to new gun
    control laws with lawsuits.
  3. Immigration. Last year, the Supreme
    Court struck down most
    of the challenged sections
    in SB 1070 — the controversial Arizona
    immigration law — but the Court upheld the so-called “show me your papers”
    provision. The likely result is two-fold: More states will adopt similar laws,
    and people stopped under such laws will argue that they are the victims of
    racial profiling.
  4. Affirmative Action. The Supreme Court
    heard arguments last year in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case
    which could alter the future of affirmative action in public
    universities. The Court is expected to issue a decision by the end of
    June.
  5. Family Law. America’s collective
    obsession with celebrities’ personal lives has created a greater awareness of
    legal issues associated with marriage, divorce, and custody issues. Last
    year, readers flocked to FindLaw to learn about celebrities’ international
    child custody disputes
    , quickie divorces,
    and prenuptial agreements.
    It may seem silly, but we expect even more interest in family law topics this
    year due to the news that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are expecting
    a baby together
    . The couple’s situation presents a number of unique legal
    issues in light of West’s lyrical
    predisposition
    to prenups and Kardashian’s not-yet-finalized
    divorce.

Regardless of whether you’re interested in a trending
legal topics or a less-talked-about issue, FindLaw.com will remain an invaluable
resource to help you learn about the legal issues that matter to you in
2013.

– Kevin Ahlvin, Director, Business Marketing
with Robyn Hagan Cain, FindLaw Audience Team

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