The Supreme Court still has some major cases to decide before the end of its current term, and several of them have the potential to have a profound effect on American life.
Justices have yet to issue rulings on key lawsuits that could upend affirmative action in college admissions, President Joe Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan, LGBTQ+ civil liberties, and the federal election process.
Although the top court’s terms always begin on the first Monday in October, there is no hard end date but sessions usually conclude in late June or early July.
The Court agreed to hear 59 cases for argument during the 2022-2023 term, but 30 cases remain undecided as of Thursday.
On Thursday, a 7-2 ruling authored by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected because of “lack of standing” a case known as Haaland v. Brackeen, which challenged the Indian Child Welfare Act, which permitted Native American children to remain with Native American families in the midst of custody battles.
Several petitioners, including the state of Texas, sued the United States government in an effort to overturn the law on the basis that it was unconstitutional considering it disrupted non-Native American families from adopting Native American children.
“The issues are complicated,” Barrett wrote in the opinion. “But the bottom line is that we reject all of petitioners’ challenges to the statute, some on the merits and others for lack of standing.”
The current session is the second one featuring the radical new conservative supermajority.
Three conservative justices —Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch —were nominated by former President Donald Trump, whose malign influence reversed some major precedents, including the constitutional right to privacy that protected a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The Trump effect on the high court has invited a rightward shift regarding abortion, gun control, workers’ rights, religion, and LGBTQ clashes.
In two separate cases, the Supreme Court is considering the use of race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. The cases were brought by conservative activists who argue that the Constitution forbids the use of race in college admissions.
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the activists, it could have a major impact on college admissions at selective schools across the country. It could also make it more difficult for other institutions, such as workplaces and government agencies, to use race-conscious policies to promote diversity.
The Supreme Court is also considering a challenge to President Biden’s plan to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers. Department of Education v. Brown is the case that challenges the Biden administration’s plan to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers.
The plan has been met with strong opposition from Republicans, who argue that it is an unconstitutional use of executive power.
If the Court rules against the President, it could have a major impact on the millions of Americans who are struggling with student loan debt. It could also make it more difficult for future presidents to use executive power to address other issues, such as climate change or healthcare.
The Court is also hearing a case that could have a major impact on LGBTQ rights. The case centers on a challenge to Colorado’s public accommodations law by a website designer who refuses to create wedding websites for same-sex couples.
The designer argues that the law violates her right to freedom of speech. However, Colorado argues that the law is necessary to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.
The Court’s ruling in this case could have a major impact on LGBTQ rights across the country. It could also affect other laws that protect people from discrimination, such as laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or national origin.
The “Independent State Legislature” Theory
In a case that has drawn national attention, the Court is considering a theory that could give state legislatures unfettered power to gerrymander congressional districts and overturn the results of elections.
Moore v. Harper is a case that asks whether state legislatures have unfettered power to set the rules for federal elections. The “independent state legislature” theory, holds that state legislatures are the only entities that can set the rules for federal elections.
A victory for the right-wing conservatives would mean that state courts, state constitutions, and even governors would have no power to intervene if a legislature creates district boundaries in a way that favors one party or another or even make decisions that supersede the will of the voters.
The Court’s ruling in this case could have a major impact on the fairness of future elections and make it more difficult for voters to hold their elected officials accountable.
These are cases that the Supreme Court is considering, in which rulings could have a major impact on American life for years to come.
- Biden v. Texas – This case challenges the Biden administration’s plan to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are pending in U.S. immigration court.
- Comstock v. Gonzales – This case asks whether the federal government can detain people indefinitely who are considered a danger to themselves or others, even if they are not charged with a crime.
- First Liberty Institute v. City of Houston – This case asks whether the city of Houston violated the First Amendment by refusing to allow a Christian group to hold a prayer rally in a city park.
- Gupta v. Principi – This case asks whether the Department of Veterans Affairs can deny benefits to veterans who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if they refuse to participate in therapy that includes exposure to the traumatic event that caused the PTSD.
- Harkrider v. Virginia asks whether the death penalty is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment.
- Navarro v. American Airlines, Inc. – This case asks whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) allows companies to require employees to arbitrate their claims, even if the claims involve employment discrimination.
- Oneok, Inc. v. Learfield Holdings, Inc. – This case asks whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) allows companies to require customers to arbitrate their claims, even if the claims involve antitrust violations.
- Reed v. Town of Gilbert – This case asks whether the First Amendment protects the right to use religious symbols in government-owned cemeteries.
- Smith v. Bayer Corp. – This case asks whether the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate generic drugs.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue its rulings in these cases by the end of its current term, which ends on June 30, 2023.