This court will likely to worsen America’s existing fault lines. It’s the opening day of the United States Supreme Court, the largest court in America. Although there won’t be a marching band to usher in Monday’s first day of the new term, there will be plenty of fireworks during this Supreme Court season. We barely made it to the Supreme Court this year. We barely had the time this year to visit the Supreme Court.
Justices typically sign our yearbooks in June with a brief “HAGS!” (Have A Great Summer!) They can disappear for months while they give well-paid speeches at far-off locations. They stayed put this year and continued to work on many “shadow docket” decisions. They approved Texas’ restrictive abortion law and gave a thumbs-down to President Joe Biden’s attempts to extend the federal moratorium on evictions and his efforts to end President Trump’s “Remain In Mexico” policy. They now return to their regular programming. They have already given oral arguments in key cases which could change the legal and political landscapes and worsen existing social fault lines. The court will hear arguments on Dec. 1 about Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks.
This law contradicts the current Supreme Court precedent set nearly 30 years ago in Planned Parenthood. In that case, the court upheld its “essential holding” in 1973’s Roe v. Wade. The Casey court ruled that states can ban abortions once a fetus has been declared viable. However, pre-viability means that states cannot impose restrictions on women’s right to have an abortion. The Casey standard does not allow Mississippi to ban abortions after 15 weeks. This is because fetal viability usually begins around 24 weeks into pregnancy. A ban is more than an undue hardship.
Twenty-four weeks is longer than 15 weeks. At least four of the members of the court agreed to review Mississippi’s abortion laws. This almost certainly means that they are comfortable with overturning Roe & Casey. This number will likely be closer to six, which is the same number who voted to keep Texas’ abortion law in force. The court will hear arguments on the second most important and consequential question this term. It will decide whether New York can require that concealed gun owners obtain a concealed weapon license. To the dismay of some conservative justices, the Supreme Court has mostly avoided taking large Second Amendment cases since 2008, when it overturned a District of Columbia law that prohibited the possession of unregistered handguns. It also barred registration of handguns.
However, the chief of police was allowed to issue handgun licenses for a year. People who are legally able to possess firearms must keep them in an inoperable state, such as by locking them with trigger locks. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority of the court and famously stated that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms. This is in contrast to the militia’s right. Also, this right allows one to have a gun in their home for self defense. In the gun case that it will hear on Nov. 3, the court will decide how powerful states can restrict the ability of a person to have a gun in their home. California, Delaware and Hawaii also have restrictions on concealed weapons being carried outside the home. All of these laws may be repealed.
This term, the court will address more than gun control and abortion. The court will decide Wednesday whether the government can stop a Guantanamo prisoner from obtaining information in a lawsuit against CIA contractors who tortured and tortured him. The legal question in this case is whether the government has the right to use the “state secret” privilege to block the release of national security information. Other pending cases could be affected by the court’s decision, including the case of five men charged at the U.S. Military Tribunal in Guantanamo for their assistance to the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks. This term, the court will address more than gun control and abortion. On Oct. 13, the court will hear arguments regarding Dzhozhar Tsarnaez’s case. He, along his brother, was one of the Boston Marathon bombers.
Appeal court overturned Tsarnaez’s death sentence because it failed to inquire about potential jurors the media coverage about the case. It also excluded evidence from the sentencing phase regarding his brother’s involvement with a separate murder case. The Supreme Court will decide if the death sentence should remain in place. November will be the Supreme Court’s First Amendment month. Justices will hear two cases relating to the freedom of religion, and one pertaining to the scope of the free expression clause. John Ramirez is a death row inmate who claims that he has a constitutionally-protected right to have his Baptist pastor touch him and pray loudly while he’s put to death. These requests have been denied by Texas. These cases have not been heard by the court. They only concern whether death row inmates can have a spiritual adviser present in the execution chamber. It is not clear what the advisor can do once inside. The court heard a challenge by Camp Constitution, a Christian group against Boston. Camp Constitution wanted to fly its flag from a City Hall flagpole, which has a Latin cross.
You might be asking, “What about the separation between church and state?” Camp Constitution complains about Boston’s openness to other groups using its flag poles. These include those who celebrate gay pride or Juneteenth. The city won the appeal in both lower courts. On Nov. 2, a case involving the First Amendment free speech clause will be heard by the Houston Community College System Board of Trustees. The court will review the censure of one of its members in public for comments he made about other members of the board. The censure claimed that the First Amendment rights of the member were violated. However, the federal district court rejected the claim and found that the censure was a mere “statement” by the board.
The court of appels disagreed. The court of appeals disagreed. Another case, yet to be scheduled, deals with the free speech clause. This one addresses the ever-growing problem of money and politics. Ted Cruz, a Texas senator, admitted that he loaned money to his 2018 re-election campaign to contest a federal law that limits the amount of money candidates may raise to repay personal loans. Cruz borrowed $260,000 to his campaign the day before the election. He hopes to be able raise the money necessary to repay his $260,000 loan after the election. He claims the law is in violation of the First Amendment because it burdens political speech without providing sufficient reasons. The government claims the law is necessary in order to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption, which could result from candidates raising funds after the election to pay off personal campaign debts.