Miami-Dade Detective Douglas Bartelt and narcotics detector canine Franky give a demonstration in Miami in 2011. Alan Diaz/AP hide caption

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Miami-Dade narcotics detector canine Franky, who came out of retirement to give a demonstration, sniffs marijuana in Miami in 2011. Franky's supersensitive nose is at the heart of a question being put to the U.S. Supreme Court: Does a police K-9's sniff outside a house give officers the right to get a search warrant for illegal drugs? Alan Diaz/AP hide caption

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A New York case in which a same-sex couple was denied a tax benefit is likely headed to the Supreme Court. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

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Sen. Arlen Specter, a member of the Senate Government Affairs Committee investigating campaign fundraising abuses, questions a witness during hearings on Capitol Hill on July 9, 1997. Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Abigail Fisher, the Texan involved in the University of Texas affirmative action case, talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

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Students walk through the University of Texas, Austin, campus near the school's iconic tower on Sept. 27. Eric Gay/AP hide caption

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The U.S. Supreme Court is embarking on a new term beginning Monday that could be as consequential as the last one, with the prospect of major rulings on affirmative action, gay marriage and voting rights. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke with NPR on Tuesday at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Kainaz Amaria/NPR hide caption

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