U.S. Supreme Court The most important term in decades, through blockbuster rulings on abortion, gun, religion and climate change policies, illustrates how its expanding conservative majority is willing to boldly use its power to have a profound impact on American society.
Democratic President Joe Biden appoints justice Ktangi Brown JacksonThe oath of office on Thursday to replace retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer did not change the ideological balance of the court, with a 6-3 conservative majority.
Majority confidence is likely to carry over in some major cases during the next court term, which begins in October.
Here’s what the court has done in its latest term, which ends this week, and where it’s headed.
Abortion and Personal Freedom
In the June 24 abortion ruling, court overturned The landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision legalized the process nationwide, giving conservative activists a long-awaited victory. Court returns abortion rules to states.
The decision immediately led conservative-leaning states to seek enforcement general ban and other abortion restrictions previously blocked by lower courts.
Some conservatives want to go a step further and ban abortion nationwide through an act of Congress or a Supreme Court decision, although it remains to be seen whether judges will embrace the practice.
conservative justice Clarence Thomas In his concurring opinion, he wrote that courts should consider overturning other decades-old precedents protecting individual liberties, including same-sex marriage, same-sex intimacy and access to birth control, raising alarm on the left. It was unclear whether other judges would agree to the move.
In another landmark ruling expanding gun rights, the court ruled on June 23 that the U.S. Constitution protects the right of individuals to bear guns pistol in public.
The ruling invalidated New York’s restrictions on the practice as a violation of the Constitution’s Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” and would have the greatest impact on states and localities implementing stricter gun control measures.
Legal scholars predict other gun restrictions will decline, as the ruling also declares that lower courts must assess the constitutionality of gun restrictions by comparing them to those traditionally employed in U.S. history.
Supreme Court on Thursday limited EPA’s ability to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the power plant in a ruling limiting the powers of federal agencies.
The decision, a blow to the Biden administration’s aggressive plan to curb carbon emissions, has wide-ranging ramifications as the court invokes what it calls the “major issues” doctrine, which holds that agency actions of national importance require Congressional approval. express authorization.
Business groups challenging the statute may now present the doctrine in court challenges, while judges are free to interpret what constitutes the main issue.
The court has further weakened the wall separating church and state in a series of recent rulings, eroding American legal traditions designed to prevent government officials from promoting any particular religion.
In all cases, courts have ruled that government officials’ policies and actions were designed to avoid violating the Constitution’s First Amendment prohibition on government recognition of religion — the so-called “establishment clause.”
This includes the June 27 decision to support a public high school football coach who leads the prayer On the field with the players after the game
Courts pursue further litigation over the extent to which government employees, including public school teachers, can express religious views at work, while also making it easier for religious entities to participate taxpayer-funded projects.
Two of the cases the court has taken up for the next term have given its conservative group the chance to end college education, University Policies Consider race in admissions to achieve more student diversity.
Conservatives have long complained that many colleges and universities use affirmative action policies to increase the number of black and Hispanic students.
The court will also hear a dispute over the legality of decades-old federal requirements that gave Native American families priority in adopting Native American children, which challengers say discriminate against non-Native Americans.
Supreme Court in recent years becomes harder Leave the courts guessing again about what politicians do when they set voting rules and electoral boundaries.
On Thursday, the justices agreed to hear an appeal from Republican-backed North Carolina in the next term that could give the state legislature more power over federal elections by limiting the ability of state courts to review its actions. The case could have broad implications for elections in 2024 and beyond.
According to legal experts, shielding the legislature from boycotts by state courts and even governors could affect who wins contested elections. It could also make it harder to challenge voting restrictions, including those enacted in some states by Republican lawmakers after former President Donald Trump. false statement He has seen widespread vote fraud in his 2020 loss to Biden.
Another case the court will hear next term could further weaken the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was enacted to protect black and other minority voters. The case involves a dispute over a Republican-drawn U.S. House of Representatives district in Alabama.