WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court begins a new term Monday and new on the court is its first Hispanic woman Justice, Sonia Sotomayor.
One thing court watchers will be looking for is whether her effervescent personality affects the court, and how.
Two of the high-profile cases that probably will dominate the term include a challenge to limits on corporate spending in political campaigns and a lawsuit seeking to strike down local handgun bans in the Chicago area.
In both cases, conservative majorities that prevailed in earlier cases appear solid.
Sotomayor will be watched closely to see whether her past as a prosecutor makes her more sympathetic to law enforcement in criminal cases. Unlike her colleagues, Sotomayor also has experience as a trial judge.
The criminal docket includes challenges to handing out life sentences with no chance of parole to people younger than age 18.