The current Supreme Court partisan moment competes with Bush and Gore

The individual judges speak for themselves.

Former President Donald Trump has vowed to appoint judges who will oppose abortion rights and oust Roe against Wade, and all three of his appointees appear to be working toward that goal quickly. fast.

More than anything in recent years, the actions of judges in abortion cases from Texas and Mississippi countered Chief Justice John Roberts’ adage about 2018, in refute Trump himself: “We don’t have judges Obama or Trump, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”

While the Texas dispute has suspended abortion rights in that state, a pending Mississippi case would have a nationwide split. In oral arguments on December 1, the majority expressed willingness to overturn the Roe v. Wade is half a century old, making abortion legal nationwide. Judges in 1973 said the 14th Amendment’s privacy guarantee included the right of women to terminate a pregnancy in its early stages.

The current situation recalls, and perhaps rivals, the Bush-Gore controversy in 2000, when a dissident with Senior Justice John Paul Stevens lamented the loss of “national confidence” join the judge as a fair defender of the rule of law.”

Last week during the Texas abortion, Chief Justice Roberts warned, “the very role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system is at stake.”

The 2000 lawsuit that settled the disputed presidential election results in Florida and ensured then-Texas Governor George W. Bush won the White House over then-Vice President Al Gore sent shockwaves throughout the world. country. Legal issues are largely contained, albeit with clear national implications. The case was decided 5-4 along ideological, if not political, lines.

Today’s disregard for precedent and the potential domino effect in other cases represents an entirely new era in the US supreme court.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor regularly warns the country about the court’s approach. “The choice to shorten from Texas’s challenge to federal supremacy would have far-reaching consequences,” she wrote last Friday. “I suspect the Court, let alone the country, is prepared for them.”

Roberts as an objector, however, is a newcomer.

“The express purpose and practical effect of SB 8 is to nullify the judgments of this Court,” he said of Texas’ abortion ban, adding, in language from 1809 precedent, that if other states “annul the judgments of the courts of the United States. States, and destroy the rights obtained under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery.”

Signs of time

It is a sign of the right march of this court that Roberts, a conservative Republican appointee, has faced a turn of events.

President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Committee on Supreme Court Reform, Issued conservative reporting, measured last week without specific recommendations, highlighted the politics of the moment and questions about the legality of the court.

It highlights how much power individual judges now hold (serving an average of 26 years, up from the 15-year average in the 1960s) and the investment of rival political parties. to whom is appointed.

Draft report detailing the Biden Supreme Court committee & # 39;  profound & # 39;  disagreement over adding seats to the bench

“The highly polarized politics of the current era threatens to turn this already-stakeholder process into a severely disrupted process,” the committee wrote, saying current calls for expansion court size until 2016 when Senate Republicans refused. acting on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.

After the GOP-controlled Senate shut down Garland, it accelerated Trump’s picks of Neil Gorsuch in 2017, Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 and Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.

Those three new judges, adding to their previous right-wing leanings, have altered public expectations for both sides of culture war issues like abortion, guns and religion.

During debates in Mississippi earlier this month, Kavanaugh downplayed precedent and, alienating the right to be protected in 1973, imagined a Constitution that was, in his words, “neutral … not pro or pro-life.” His words contradict his 2018 Senate testimony, when he professed to respect Roe and related cases.

In a separate, contentious area of ​​law, the conservative majority increasingly allows for a mixture of church and state. In recent oral arguments, there seems to be a willingness to attack a Maine educational program that offers vouchers to public and private schools, not those with denominational programs.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan highlights the unique nature of the program serving students in isolated areas and increases the risk of a far-reaching decision to transfer taxpayer money to non-religious schools. Excluding non-binary and LGBTQ students: “These schools are blatantly discriminatory. They pride themselves on discrimination. Others won’t understand why in the world their tax dollars go to schools. learn to discriminate.”

Unlike the new controversy over abortion rights, the shift toward conservative religious interests has grown over the years. And the pattern of church-state dilemma is not without warning, as seen this week when judges denied religious objections to New York Committee on Vaccines.
The Supreme Court ruling on Texas law is the result of decades of pressure from anti-abortion groups to shape the court.

On the side of doctors and nurses, who objected that the mandate did not have any religious immunity, Gorsuch wrote in dissent: “We should know the price to pay when this Court silent because the majority infringes the constitutional rights of the unpopular and unorthodox.”

The change in abortion rights led to the fiercest internal and public outcry. It became clear on September 1 when the court with a 5-4 vote allowed Texas to proceed with a law banning abortion after detecting a fetal heartbeat, at about six weeks. State legislators have tried to protect themselves from federal lawsuits by transferring the power to enforce the law to private citizens.

That tactic dissented Roberts and three libertarians in September, and also last week’s decision to the detriment of abortion clinics seeking to thwart the imposition of laws against them.

Gorsuch and other conservatives have largely expressed concern about Texas instituting itself from liability, and, alternatively, finding the clinics’ position difficult, as they seek to block the order. Prohibition may result in serious liability. “Troublesome,” writes Gorsuch, “the petitioners failed to introduce any meaningful limiting principles to their theory.”

California governor says he will use legal tactics of Texas abortion ban to enforce gun control

Under SB 8, any person can sue a doctor or anyone assisting a woman with an abortion after six weeks; it allows minimum damages of $10,000 for successful suits.

The Gorsuch bloc allowed lawsuits against a group of public officials, certain licensing officials, but kept SB 8. Roberts said the law cooled the abortion provision in Texas, denying women’s rights. which the court had previously upheld.

A separate case from Mississippi involves a ban on abortions after 15 weeks. Although less restrictive than the Texas regulation, it clearly conflicts with court abortion rights decisions that prohibit states from interfering with a woman’s choice to end a pregnancy before the fetus reaches its full potential. Viability, i.e. being able to live outside the uterus, at about 23 weeks.

Roe v. Wade set limits on fetal viability, and it was reaffirmed in a 1992 decision called Planned Parenthood v. Casey. By then, the majority, the five judges who had been Republican appointees, had taken into account any political pressure to force them to reverse the precedent. In their refusal, they emphasized the importance of stability in the law.

Kagan observed that following Roe in 1992 during arguments this month in the Mississippi case, helped “prevent people from thinking that this Court is a political institution that will function again depending on what part.” the public’s loudest screams and … will go back and forth depending on changes to the membership of the Court.”

But the membership changes have now transformed America’s highest court. As the precedents dissipate, everyone can only guess where the court will go next.


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