[Washington, D.C., October 5. Image via Getty]

A pro-life activist demonstrates in front of the US Supreme Court on October 5, 2009 in Washington, DC. The US Supreme Court, which now includes its first Hispanic justice Sonia Sotomayor, begins a new term Monday that will focus on hot-button issues including gun rights and counter-terrorism. The nation's highest court, whose decisions deeply affect US policy, will also go to work amid growing speculation over the possible departure of a judge. The nine justices have agreed to examine 55 cases this term. They will soon decide whether to add to that roster an appeal brought by Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been cleared for release and are seeking resettlement in the United States. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)