September 28, 2022

Washington – Five years after Neil Gorsuch joined the Supreme Court, nearly four years after Brett Kavanaugh was replaced by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy and 20 months after Emmy confirmation Connie Barrett days before the 2020 election, the Supreme Court’s expanded Conservative majority has wielded its power across a long . It was marked by major decisions on abortion, the Second Amendment, and religious rights.

The semester that began in October officially ended on Thursday, as the judges made their final decisions — one of them restricting the EPA’s work. Regulatory Authority Greenhouse gas emissions and the second paves the way for the Biden administration backing down The so-called “stay in Mexico” immigration policy – before the summer holidays.

But it was judgments issued on consecutive days last week Abolishes the constitutional right to abortion And the Expand gun rights For the first time in more than a decade, it underscores how the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is leaving its mark on the law.

“What we’ve seen in that term, at least in the cases of guns, abortion and religion, is a bold court, which is a court that is bold in tone and also in the agenda. They are setting precedents and making big changes, including systematic, where we look for rights or how do we establish regulations Arms — they’ve changed what lower courts do,” Alison Orr-Larsen, William & Mary professor of law, told CBS News.

“When the court takes such big bites, big changes in doctrine, it’s hard to describe it as 5-4 or 6-3. It sounds different from what we’ve seen in the past. The tone of opinions looks different. Dramatic and final.” “They don’t seem quite in line with what we think of as Chief Justice Roberts’ court. He favors conservative steps, but not big steps all at once, big shocks. These decisions are tumultuous decisions.”

In their decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, in particular, conservatives in court cast aside Roberts’ approach of seeking incremental changes to the law rather than major shifts.

In a concurring opinion, Roberts said he would support a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks at the core of the court battle, but called Roe’s overturning decision a “serious shock to the legal system.” “The narrow decision would be significantly less worrisome,” he said.

“When Chief Justice Roberts was on the fifth Conservative vote, it wasn’t a headlong rush, partly because he is tiered and partly because he cares about the legitimacy of the court, particularly the one that bears his name,” Caroline Malla said. Corbin, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Miami. It is no longer a deciding vote. His vote is no longer necessary.

In addition to reversing Roe and repealing New York’s restrictions on carrying a handgun outside the home, the Supreme Court has also ruled in favor of religious rights in four disputes: Standing next to a death row inmate in Texas who wanted the priest to pray audibly and stretch his hands over him during his execution; Find the city of Boston violated the first amendment when she refused a request by an organization to hoist a Christian flag outside City Hall; Cancellation of the Tuition Aid Program in Maine Schools providing religious instruction were excluded; And the Supporting a former high school football coach Who lost his job after praying on the 50-yard line after games.

In the cases involving the Texas inmate and Boston City Hall, the court ruled 8-1 and 9-0 respectively, while cutting along ideological grounds in the other two controversies.

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Former Bremerton High School football coach Joseph Kennedy.

First Liberty Institute


Corbyn said decisions in religious freedom cases indicate that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority will “take away” rights it doesn’t like. But Mark Renzi, president of the Beckett Fund for Religious Freedom, believes the recent rulings in favor of religious rights are a course correction rather than an indication that the court’s conservative majority is pro-religion.

He told reporters this week that “the court is engaged in a decades-long cleanup project of the Religious Freedom Act that has largely lost its way.” “I think they are really committed to pluralism and respect for people’s ability to live different lives and they don’t always go where the majority want them to go.”

Renzi lamented that the nation in an age “unfortunately tends to be intolerant of differences”.

“If I’m governments or I’m anti-religious or religious, I might look at it and say, ‘Maybe I should stop picking those fights because it’s pretty clear that the Court really believes in the First Amendment,'” he said.

according to Court Duration Analysis Written by Adam Feldman, founder of the Empirical SCOTUS website, 17 decisions were passed unanimously, while the tribunal’s three liberal members – Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – dissented together in 13 decisions. Meanwhile, Roberts and Kavanaugh were in the majority most often, 94.9% of the time.

More fights to come

While the term has been filled with important and disruptive decisions, judges are already prepared to hear huge disputes that include religious freedomAnd the positive actionAnd the Voting rights And the Power of state legislatures To set the rules for the federal election when they meet for their next term in October.

One case concerned a Colorado web designer who did not wish to provide services to same-sex weddings due to her religious beliefs, in violation of the state’s anti-discrimination law. Web designer Laurie Smith says the law violates freedom of speech and religious rights, and judges will consider whether applying a public residence law to force the artist to speak or remain silent violates the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court is expected to continue its trend of promoting religious rights, but Larsen said the case could be one where justices take a more incremental approach.

Referring to the landmark 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, she said, “Instead of overturning Aubergeville, they may increase accommodations for people who religiously object to the participation or use of their services in a wedding between a gay couple.” “This is an example where we can go back to that step to the right for sure, but not a leap to the right.”

Court membership also changes with Breyer’s retirement, which is It came into effect on ThursdayAnd the appointment of Judge Kitangi Brown Jackson who was oath Hours after the final opinions were issued. Jackson is the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

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Justice Kitangi Brown-Jackson is sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

Supreme court


She joins the Supreme Court at a time when the secrecy surrounding her has been breached and breach of trust among its members with the Draft majority opinion leaked In the event of a miscarriage. Roberts has ordered an investigation into the source of the disclosure, but the identity of the person who shared the document with reporters from Politico remains unknown to the public.

“She’s entering a new family at a time when the family dynamics are very tense,” Larsen said of Jackson.

Jackson filling Breyer’s seat will not change the court’s ideological make-up, and the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is expected to last for years.

“Dissenting judges will have to embrace the long view and realize that they will not always be in the minority, and at some point their dissenting opinions will become a blueprint for majority opinion,” Corbyn said. “They go on to point out weaknesses in majority reasoning and the ways in which they deviate from accepted practices, and write a blueprint for decisions that may be far into the future, but may nevertheless become majority opinion.”

While Biden put his own historic stamp on the court with the appointment of Jackson, the reversal of the Roe case and the expansion of Second Amendment rights demonstrated the transformation of the court thanks to Senate Republicans and former President Donald Trump.

“If President Obama had been able to appoint the Supreme Court justice who was entitled to appoint him, they would not have a majority [to overturn Roe]Because Chief Justice Roberts would have written a majority in Dobbs, Corbyn said, the court might have eventually revoked abortion rights, but it would not have done so on Friday. “Really who is this legacy? Is it Mitch McConnell or is it Donald Trump?”

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