'I see no signs of them slowing down': Legal experts raise red flags as Supreme Court begins new term
On Monday the Supreme Court will reconvene with the newest addition, Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, taking the seat previously occupied by retired Stephen Breyer and legal experts are warning that the new session will likely be as tumultuous as the last.
As Ed Pilkington of the Guardian wrote, the last term saw a conservative supermajority overturn Roe v. Wade, relax already loose gun laws and hand the religious right huge victories.
The slate of new cases to be considered by the court, which features three justices appointed to the court by former president Donald Trump, has legal observers preparing for more controversy after the last term.
Writing, "The fallout of the spate of extreme rightwing rulings has shaken public confidence in the political neutrality of the court. A Gallup poll this week found that fewer than half of US adults trust it – a drop of 20 points in just two years and the lowest rating since Gallup began recording the trend in 197," Pilkington added, "With so much discord in plain sight, you might have expected the new supermajority created under Trump to opt for a calmer year ahead. No chance."
According to University of Texas at Austin law professor Tara Groves, "I see no signs of them slowing down," adding, "The supreme court has chosen to take on cases this term that raise a lot of hot-button issues – just after they decided a bunch of cases that raised a lot of hot-button issues.”
"From fundamental aspects of American democracy to LGBTQ+ equality, and the electoral power of racial minorities to protecting the environment, the conservative justices have selected a whole new slew of targets that fall squarely within Republican priorities," The Guardian is reporting before noting that affirmative action could be under assault this term.
Paul Smith, senior vice-president of the Campaign Legal Center explained, "It’s been the law of the land now for 50 years that universities can take into account all aspects of a person’s background, including their race. Schools have set up their entire systems based on reliance on that being the law, as reaffirmed multiple times by the supreme court, though it sure seems likely they will change course this time.”
"As if race and the future of American democracy were not enough, the conservative justices are also bearing down once again on the right to equal treatment for same-sex couples. They have taken on a case asking whether a graphic design firm, 303 Creative LLC, should be able to turn away gay couples requesting help creating wedding websites on religious grounds," Pilkington wrote before adding, "The supermajority also wants to revisit the Indian Child Welfare Act, which for the past 44 years has been protecting Native American children from being forcibly separated from their families and tribes and placed in non-Native homes. The ACLU has warned that if the court overturns the act it could put 'the very existence of tribes in jeopardy.'"
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