The U.S. Supreme Court tilts to the right-but how far will it go?


Experts say that the U.S. Supreme Court undeniably turned to the right in the first term after the death of the liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the core group of conservative justices used Their influence to change the decision.

But the nine judges of the Supreme Court made nearly 70 rulings during this term. Overall, these rulings were more than what some conservatives had hoped when Amy Coney Barrett took office. For subtle Sworn in As Ginsberg’s successor last year—for example, he refused to challenge the health care law signed by Barack Obama, which Republicans have long hoped to overturn.

However, other cases have led to a sharp decline in the power of the 6-3 conservative majority, such as a ruling that supports two voting laws in Arizona. Opponents claim that the law discriminates against minorities, which is on the last day of the term. Decided, and neatly divided according to the ideological line.

When the court returns in the fall to an agenda that already includes controversial issues such as abortion and gun rights, the court’s willingness to compromise will be tested.

“There is no doubt that replacing the very liberal Ruth Bud Ginsberg with the very conservative Amy Connie Barrett clearly makes a difference,” George Mason University Law Professor and Libertarian Cato’s part-time scholar Ilya Somin said. graduate School.

“On the other hand… it is wrong to say that this is an overall conservative court that will fundamentally modify a large number of areas of the constitution,” he added.

Legal experts point out that the four justices appointed by the Republican Party-Chief Justice John Roberts and Donald Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Barrett-are capable Adjudication of the case.

“Any two of them can join the three Democrats, and they have joined the three Democrats,” said Lee Epstein, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. “It’s not… In this court, the Democrats will lose every case.”

A widely cited ruling is the court’s 7-2 View Dismissed the Republican Party’s latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion, and two other liberal judges Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan and four conservative colleagues joined the ranks. The seven justices agreed that the plaintiffs had no reason to sue because they did not suffer any harm in Obama’s flagship healthcare reform. Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito disagreed.

The other one is from the court Unanimous Decided to stand on the side of the student athletes, they put forward an antitrust challenge to the National University Sports Association. The nine judges agreed that the NCAA’s restrictions on scholarships and other benefits were unfair.

Jonathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University School of Law, said: “The combination of justices is fascinating today.” “Most opinions don’t show the kind of clear boundaries or robot responses suggested by critics. “

However, progressives worry that the court may tilt further to the right next year, when the judge seat will hear the two most politically divided issues in the United States: abortion And guns.

A decision on both is expected to be made in the spring or summer of 2022-just a few months before the midterm elections, when both houses of Congress will compete.

A line chart of the percentage of cases in each term of office shows an increase in the Supreme Court’s unanimous or nearly unanimous rulings

The challenge of abortion Rowe VS Wade, The 1973 decision stipulated the constitutional right to abortion. It centers on Mississippi state law, which prohibits abortion after 15 weeks. The gun case questioned how far states can go in regulating gun rights, especially when the weapons are brought outside the home.

Legal experts said they hope that the conservative majority can rule in a way that satisfies the “pro-life” or anti-abortion movement, as well as gun owners who are angry about any restrictions on the rights of the Second Amendment.

After the court ruled on Arizona’s voting law, militants have remained vigilant. Brian Fallon, the executive director of the left-leaning group Demand Justice, said: “In cases involving democracy and voting rights, the Republican justices are a whole.” “Democrats need to deal with the emergency like​​ Treat this situation in the same way.”

It is not clear to what extent the judges are willing to overturn previous decisions of the Supreme Court during their future terms of office—especially when Roberts and the deputy judges expressed their hope that the court will be regarded as a solemn independent institution. The field of partisan politics.

“By any standard, it is the most conservative court in recent memory,” said Debo Adable, a partner at Wilmer Hale. “But the court is an institution. It is an institution that must consider its legitimacy and credibility in a very divided political environment and a very divided country.”

So Ming of George Mason University said he believes that the conservative majority is “very likely” moving in a “more conservative direction.” .. But how much they move is very important, which is far from clear.”

Epstein of Washington University in St. Louis said: “My guess is that they want to allow restrictions on abortion, relax restrictions on guns, etc.” “But how far are they willing to go?”

Additional report by Christine Zhang in New York

Court compromise

The last two rulings of the Supreme Court this semester were made with a score of 6 to 3 in accordance with the party line, which favored the conservative majority. However, several decisions made earlier in the term showed signs of compromise.


California vs Texas

problem: Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)

vote: 7-2

ruling: The court Refuse to try Nullified the Affordable Care Act and ruled that the plaintiff had no reason to sue.The decision marks the third time The court rejected the challenge to Obamacare, although the court did not resolve the question of whether the ACA is constitutional.


Fulton vs Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

problem: Same-sex adoption

vote: 9-0

ruling: The court ruled that Philadelphia violated the First Amendment because the city did not renew its contract with a Catholic organization that refused to place foster children with same-sex parents. The vote was unanimous. Chief Justice Roberts gave a majority opinion, and three liberal justices also joined the vote. However, the unanimous opinions of other conservative justices criticized the narrow focus of the ruling and avoided the larger issue of religious freedom immunity.


National College Sports Association VS Alstom

problem: Student athlete compensation

vote: 9-0

ruling: The court upheld the lower court’s ruling that the NCAA cannot prohibit universities from providing education-related benefits to student athletes.


Mahanoy Regional School District vs BL

problem: Student speeches

vote: 8-1

ruling: The court ruled that a school district in Pennsylvania violated the First Amendment and punished students for posting profanity to Snapchat for failing to become a cheerleading school team.



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