Supreme Court Set To Continue Pushing Right As New Term Begins

In June of this year, the Supreme Court issued a series of judicial bombshells that effectively abolished the right to abortion, legalized concealed carry of firearms, and severely curtailed government action to combat climate change. There are few indications that the court’s march to the right will slow as the justices return to the bench on Monday.

Affirmative action, voting, religion, free speech, and homos*xual rights will all be at the centre of heated debates in the coming term. And the conservative supermajority of the court, which currently consists of six justices, looks set to continue its control over the court in the upcoming term.

As Irv Gornstein, head of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law, put it, “on topics that matter most, prepare ready for a lot of 6-3s.” Race has been at the centre of several high-profile cases in fields as diverse as academia, politics, and adoption.

Harvard and the University of North Carolina, for example, have both faced criticism for their racially selective admissions policies. Like the abortion case from the last term, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, this one could potentially overturn decades of precedent.

Supreme Court Set To Continue Pushing Right As New Term Begins
Supreme Court Set To Continue Pushing Right As New Term Begins

Affirmative action programmes in higher education that aim to increase racial and ethnic diversity have been supported by the Supreme Court on multiple occasions, most recently in 2016. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declared the case closed in an interview the same year.

She opined, “I don’t expect that we’re going to see another affirmative action case, at least in education.” However, she also expressed concern about the future of the country if Donald J. Trump, who was at the time on the campaign trail, were to be elected president in the same interview

According to her, “four years for the country” is a realistic estimate. “I don’t even want to think about what that would mean for the court.” After Justice Ginsburg died in 2020, Mr. Trump appointed three new members to the Supreme Court, one of them was Amy Coney Barrett.

The Supreme Court’s endorsement of holistic admissions processes in 2003’s Grutter v. Bollinger, which said it was appropriate to use race as one criterion among many to promote educational diversity, is threatened by the new rules. The majority opinion in that case was written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who predicted that “race preferences” would be unnecessary “in 25 years.”

With two recent cases, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard (No. 20-1199) and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina (No. 21-707), the court appears ready to say that the moment for change has arrived several years early. The date for the oral argument is October 31.

Another voting rights case, Merrill v. Milligan, No. 21-1086, will be argued on Tuesday, and it, too, concerns the possible influence of race on governmental decision-making. An Alabama election map was challenged in this case under the Voting Rights Act because it diluted the influence of Black voters, as determined by a lower court.

Supreme Court Set To Continue Pushing Right As New Term Begins
Supreme Court Set To Continue Pushing Right As New Term Begins

The Supreme Court has previously made decisions that have effectively gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which had required federal approval of changes to state and local voting laws in areas of the country with a history of racial discrimination, and that have reduced the ability of minority groups to challenge voting restrictions under Section 2, among other things.

Redistricting is at the heart of the Alabama case, which also involves Section 2. It may be crucial to the outcome of a challenge to the validity of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which places restrictions on the ability of non-Native Americans to adopt Native children.

Case No. 21-376, Haaland v. Brackeen, will be argued before the Supreme Court on November 9. It concerns a statute that was passed in reaction to the practice of forcibly removing children from their families and communities. The justices may decide that these cases all present variants of the same topic, according to Kate Shaw, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Regardless of the motivations or outcomes, “the court might declare a series of regulations that, combined, read the Constitution to allow essentially no consideration of race,” she added. Moore v. Harper, No. 21-1271, is another election case that might significantly alter the way federal elections are conducted by giving state legislators more authority to create voting districts and establish voting procedures.

The date for the argument has not yet been set. Nor has 303 Creative L.L.C. v. Elenis, No. 21-476, which will bring the court back to a battleground in the culture wars: whether some publicly accessible businesses may decline to provide services to prospective customers based on religious or other convictions.

Lorie Smith, the owner of a website design company that claims it serves homosexual customers but plans to restrict its wedding-related services to celebrations of straight unions, is at the center of this dispute. She claims that making her cater to homos*xual and lesbian couples is an infringement on her First Amendment rights.

In 2018, the court looked into a similar dispute between a Colorado baker and a homos*xual couple but did not give a judgment on the matter. The majority of the Supreme Court’s justices in the Dobbs case were split on whether or not the judge’s reasoning warranted a reexamination of previous landmark rulings, such as the one that established a constitutional right to same-s*x marriage.

Supreme Court Set To Continue Pushing Right As New Term Begins
Supreme Court Set To Continue Pushing Right As New Term Begins

Although this latest case doesn’t directly address this issue, the court’s decision may shed light on the justices’ willingness to uphold LGBT rights and, more generally, on what it takes to make a swift shift to the right. The court’s popularity has plummeted as a result of its recent string of conservative judgments.

On Thursday, Gallup announced the results of a poll in which 58% of Americans expressed disapproval of the Supreme Court’s performance. This was the largest percentage of Americans who had expressed disapproval since the issue was originally asked by Gallup in 2000.

In a recent poll, only 47% of Americans said they had “a great deal” or “a good bit” of trust in the federal judicial system, indicating widespread public displeasure. That’s the lowest percentage since the survey was started in 1972, and it’s down 20 percentage points from two years ago.

Partisan lines could be seen in the responses, with Republicans more likely to express satisfaction with the Supreme Court and the federal court as a whole. In general, nevertheless, the results show that the court has shifted to the right of the median voter on matters like abortion soon following membership changes.

Several Supreme Court justices made a rare series of public appearances this summer, during which they debated the legitimacy of the Court in light of recent polling showing a decline in support for its rulings.

At a judicial conference in September, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. observed, “The court has always handled controversial cases, and rulings always have been exposed to fierce criticism and that is quite acceptable.” His final comment was, “I don’t understand the relationship between beliefs that people disagree with and the validity of the court.”

The court’s popularity has plummeted as a result of its recent string of conservative judgements. On Thursday, Gallup announced the results of a poll in which 58% of Americans expressed disapproval of the Supreme Court’s performance. This was the largest percentage of Americans who had expressed disapproval since the issue was originally asked by Gallup in 2000.

Supreme Court Set To Continue Pushing Right As New Term Begins
Supreme Court Set To Continue Pushing Right As New Term Begins

In a recent poll, only 47% of Americans said they had “a great deal” or “a good bit” of trust in the federal judicial system, indicating widespread public displeasure. That’s the lowest percentage since the survey was started in 1972, and it’s down 20 percentage points from two years ago.

Partisan lines could be seen in the responses, with Republicans more likely to express satisfaction with the Supreme Court and the federal court as a whole. In general, nevertheless, the results show that the court has shifted to the right of the median voter on matters like abortion soon following membership changes.

Several Supreme Court justices made a rare series of public appearances this summer, during which they debated the legitimacy of the Court in light of recent polling showing a decline in support for its rulings.

At a judicial conference in September, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. observed, “The court has always handled controversial cases, and rulings always have been exposed to fierce criticism and that is quite acceptable.” His final comment was, “I don’t understand the relationship between beliefs that people disagree with and the validity of the court.”

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