Supreme Court to rule on ‘culture war’ issues in high-profile cases this month
The Supreme Court is expected to issue rulings on abortion, gun rights and religious freedom in the coming weeks that will likely upend the country’s culture war and limit a judicial warrant that court watchers say was anything but monotonous.
“Abortion and guns are the biggest cases because they are the biggest culture war issues on the agenda,” said Ilya Shapiro, executive director of the Center for the Constitution and senior lecturer in law at the Georgetown University Law Center. “This term will probably be the one where the president [Donald] The three Trump nominees are making their collective mark.
The investigation into who leaked a draft notice last month that suggests judges will strike down national abortion rights is attracting the most attention. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, addresses the Mississippi abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The judges are weighing whether states can ban pre-viability abortions and whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision granting women a nationwide right to an abortion until viability. In 1973, viability was determined at approximately 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.
“Given the centrality of Roe v Wade to our legal and political debates of the last half-century and the unprecedented leak of the Dobbs project, this term will be long remembered,” Mr. Shapiro said.
In the leaked draft opinion, dated February, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. said abortion laws should revert to state legislatures.
“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion,” Judge Alito wrote in the opinion published by Politico. “Roe was completely wrong from the start.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the draft opinion was authentic, but noted that it did not represent a final decision. He ordered the court marshal to investigate who leaked the document.
Dobbs is just one of more than 30 cases the judges will decide in June. The court usually ends its term on July 1 for a summer break.
“The Dobbs case gets the lion’s share of media attention and talking heads. But the Court has other major cases on its role this term and we await potentially major opinions regarding the Second Amendment, separation of powers and religious liberty,” said Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network.
The court is set to rule on Second Amendment rights in a dispute over carrying a firearm in the Empire State in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc v. Brun.
Judges reviewed New York’s policy for granting a carry license after two candidates and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association challenged state law requiring anyone wishing to carry a handgun to outside the home to apply for a license and show “good cause” for the need to carry the gun.
Robert Nash applied for a license, citing a series of robberies in his neighborhood and verifying that he had completed an “advanced firearms training course”. Brendan Koch also applied for a permit, citing his “extensive experience” in the safe handling of firearms.
New York officials denied the two men a license, saying they failed to show “lawful cause” for carrying a firearm in self-defense.
The men and the gun advocacy group argue that the courts have split decisions on a state’s discretion to deny the right to keep and carry guns outside the home.
Religious freedom, parental rights
In Joseph Kennedy v. Bremerton School District judges will weigh First Amendment rights against the Establishment Clause in a dispute over a high school coach who lost his job because he couldn’t pray at the 50-yard line. He took his fight against the First Amendment to the High Court.
Joseph Kennedy, who coached high school football in Washington’s Bremerton school district for about eight years, prayed at the 50-yard line after games. Sometimes he was joined by players; other times it was not. The prayers lasted 15 to 30 seconds.
Mr Kennedy said he did not coerce the students to join him. But once school officials learned of the prayer – seven years after he started his routine – lawyers stepped in and the coach eventually lost his job.
And in Carson v. Makin, judges will assess the legality of a school voucher program in Maine and decide whether students can use state funds to attend private religious schools. Maine currently only allows non-sectarian schools under the program.
“Education and parental rights are increasingly hot political issues and will continue to resonate during elections this fall,” Shapiro said.
Lawyers are also monitoring an administrative law case involving the federal government’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
In West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, the court is considering the Trump administration’s cancellation of the Clean Power Plan, which in 2015 gave guidelines for states to regulate emissions from power plants.
No notices are expected to be published this week, which will make the last four weeks of June busy with around 33 cases still to be decided.