Abortion, guns, religion top a big Supreme Court term

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The future of abortion rights is in the hands of a conservative Supreme Court that begins a new term on Monday that also covers major issues of gun rights and religion.

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The court’s credibility with the public may also be on the line, especially if a divided court is based in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade’s decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion nationwide.

Justices are returning to the courtroom after an 18-month absence due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the possible retirement of moderate Justice Stephen Breuer, 83, also looms.


This is the first full term with the court in its current alignment.

Justice Amy Connie Barrett is part of a six-judge conservative majority, the last of three high-court appointments from former President Donald Trump. Barrett was nominated and confirmed amid the pandemic, a little more than a month after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.

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Trump and the Republicans who control the Senate moved quickly to fill the seat shortly before the 2020 presidential election, leading to a dramatic change in the court lineup that set the stage for a potentially law-changing word of mouth on a number of high-profile issues. prepared.

University of Chicago law professor David Strauss said abortion, guns and religion are already on the agenda, and a challenge to affirmative action awaits the court will answer an important question next year. “Is this the word in which the culture wars largely return to the Supreme Court?” Strauss said.

There is no bigger issue than abortion.

Judges will hear arguments on December 1 in Mississippi’s bid to enforce a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. Lower courts blocked the law because it was inconsistent with high court rulings that allow states to regulate but do not prohibit abortion before viability, the point around 24 weeks of pregnancy when the fetus is outside the womb. can survive.

Mississippi Is What conservative commentator Carrie Severino called a “rip-the-band-aid-off” approach to the case, asking the court to relinquish its support for abortion rights placed in Row and Planned Parenthood in 1992. In the case of V. How.

Mississippi is one of 12 states with so-called trigger laws that would go into effect reversing the cry and banning abortions outright.

By a 5-4 vote in early September, the court has already allowed a ban on most abortions in Texas, although no court has yet ruled on the essence of the law.

But that vote and the Mississippi case highlight a potential risk to the court’s reputation, said David Cole, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Cole said the arguments made by Mississippi were considered and rejected by the Supreme Court in 1992.

“The only difference between then and now is the identity of the judges,” he said.

Jeff Wall, a top Justice Department lawyer under Trump, said the court could rapidly expand gun rights and eliminate the use of race in college admissions, but only to shift public perception of the court from abortion. is likely to. “I still don’t think it’s going to make some groundwell in the public until there’s some sort of watershed decision on abortion,” Wall said.

In early November, the court will challenge New York’s restrictions on carrying a gun in public, a case that gives the court a chance to expand gun rights under the Second Amendment. Before Barrett joined the court, judges turned down similar cases over the dissatisfaction of some conservative members of the court.

Until Barrett came along, some judges supporting gun rights questioned whether Chief Justice John Roberts would provide a fifth, majority-making vote “for a more detailed reading of the Second Amendment,” the George Washington University law. Professor Robert Cottrell, who said he hoped the court would now expand gun rights.

More than 40 states already make it easier to be armed in public, but New York and California, the nation’s two most populous states, are among the few states with stricter rules.

Gun control advocates are concerned with the case.

“A detailed Second Amendment decision by the Supreme Court could restrict or restrict sensible solutions that have been shown to end gun violence,” said Jonathan Lowy, vice president and lead counsel for gun violence prevention group Brady. Lowy included state laws requiring justification for carrying a gun as an example of such a “sensible solution”.

A case in Maine gives the court another opportunity to weigh religious rights in education. The state excludes religious schools from the education program for families who live in cities that do not have public schools.

Since even before Ginsberg’s death, the court has supported claims of religion-based discrimination and the expectation among legal experts is that parents in Maine who sued religious schools would be able to access taxpayer money. did, although it is not clear how widely the court could rule.

Affirmative action isn’t on the court’s agenda yet, but it could still get the word out in Harvard’s lawsuit over the use of race in college admissions. Lower courts upheld the school’s policy, but that’s another case in which a change in the composition of the court could prove decisive. The court recently upheld the same race-conscious admissions policies as five years ago, but before Trump’s three appointments increased the court’s conservative leanings.

In other notable cases…

Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Supreme Court

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