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They’re Back: Ultraconservative Supreme Court Justices Hearing Cases Again This Week

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4 months after overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s six-vote conservative supermajority returns to listen to a recent batch of cases that might further upset past precedent and dramatically rewrite the law on Oct. 3.

The court blew up a half-century of precedent on women’s rights in its last term, and this time around, it looks able to blow up one other half-century (no less than) of precedent related to race.

Justices can be hearing cases that might end affirmative motion in higher education, further gut the Voting Rights Act, empower state legislatures to enact restrictive voting laws and gerrymandered maps with no judicial oversight, and take away the flexibility of wrongly convicted prisoners, who’re disproportionately Black, to petition for the reversal of their punishments.

Along with cases that might dramatically reverse many years of progress on racial equity, the court may even hear vital cases that might hamstring antitrust enforcement actions, further hamper federal regulatory motion and make it easier for states to disclaim Medicare and Medicaid services to residents.

The court’s conservative supermajority is unlikely to stop its dramatic rewrite of American law.

Public support for the Supreme Court fell dramatically following its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that ended national abortion rights protections. The justices spent the summer feuding in regards to the court’s legitimacy — or, in Justice Samuel Alito’s case, doing an endzone dance in regards to the end of Roe.

These conservatives worked for many years to put in an unbreakable judicial bloc that might gut the remnants of the Latest Deal regime and roll back the advances of the civil rights movement, and now they’ve it.

Supreme Court justices, featuring newly seated Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, were photographed with President Joe Biden ahead of the opening of their October 2022 term.

Photo by Collection of the Supreme Court of the USA via Getty Images

The October term can be the primary full sitting for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Because of her previous position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, she is recused from considered one of the 2 affirmative motion cases because she previously heard it on appeal. Those two cases have been split in order that she will be able to participate.

These are an important cases to look at within the court’s October sitting.

Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. Harvard University, and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina

Scheduled Arguments: Oct. 31

The 2 cases difficult affirmative motion policies at Harvard University, a personal university, and the University of North Carolina, a public university system, will almost actually lead to the overturning of many years of precedent upholding the consideration of race in the school admissions process.

In each cases, Students for Fair Admissions, a gaggle run by anti-affirmative motion legal activist Edward Blum, is asking the court to overrule its prior precedent upholding the narrow use of race in college admissions decisions. Where Blum, an opponent of race-conscious policymaking, previously brought cases on behalf of white students, like Abigail Fisher, in each the Harvard and North Carolina cases, he argues that Asian American applicants are those most harmed by affirmative motion policies promoting the enrollment of Black, Latino and Native American applicants.

The court last heard an affirmative motion case in 2016 when Blum brought Fisher v. University of Texas before it. The court’s 4-3 decision against Fisher got here after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. Since then, the court’s composition has taken a big lurch to the best against race-conscious policymaking. It is nearly certain that Blum will succeed this time in ending race-conscious affirmative motion policies for higher education institutions. This may likely lead to fewer Black and Latino students attending probably the most highly selective American universities, colleges and graduate schools, depending on the admissions policies schools adopt in response.

Merrill v. Milligan

Scheduled Arguments: Oct. 4

Just as its affirmative motion decision could lower the variety of Black and Latino students at select schools, the court also seems poised to cut back the variety of Black and Latino elected representatives in Merrill v. Milligan.

The case originated as a lawsuit filed by Black Alabamians who claimed that Alabama’s recent congressional district map must have included two Black-majority districts relatively than one, in response to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. A 3-judge lower court panel featuring two Trump nominees agreed and ordered the state to attract a recent map, but five conservative justices on the Supreme Court stepped in, reversed the lower court decision, and took up the case for argument.

This rare reversal of a lower court panel’s ruling on a Section 2 racial vote dilution case signals that the court’s conservatives are out to rewrite the last 40 years of Voting Rights Act precedent. Alabama desires to gut the Voting Rights Act by introducing a race-blind test for redistricting. Such a test would eviscerate the Voting Rights Act and certain result in what some observers fear might be the “biggest decline in Black and Latino representation in generations.”

Moore v. Harper

In one other redistricting case, Moore v. Harper, North Carolina state legislative Republicans want the court to adopt a previously fringe theory that state legislatures are usually not certain by their state constitutions when enacting election law or drawing legislative district maps. If the court adopts this “independent state legislature theory,” it could mean that state legislatures could enact any election law or district map without state courts with the ability to rule on whether it violates a state’s structure.

The case doesn’t just threaten to overturn centuries of precedent; it seeks to make recent law out of thin air. The argument presented to the court by the North Carolina GOP is even partially based on a fraudulent document.

For the reason that Supreme Court has already ruled that partisan gerrymandering claims can’t be challenged in federal courts, there can be practically no recourse for anyone to challenge a partisan gerrymander if state courts cannot hear them either. This could enable the big variety of state legislatures already gerrymandered in favor of Republicans to solidify and expand those gerrymanders in perpetuity while enacting election laws not subject to state court review.

People at the 2022 commemoration of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches that led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act. Alabama is asking the Supreme Court to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2022.People on the 2022 commemoration of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches that led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act. Alabama is asking the Supreme Court to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2022.

Brandon Bell via Getty Images

Jones v. Hendrix

Scheduled Arguments: Nov. 1

The plaintiff in Jones v. Hendrix asks the high court to permit someone convicted of against the law in district court to petition for a reversal of their conviction based on a subsequent, retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision.

Marcus DeAngelo Jones desires to vacate his sentence regarding his conviction for possessing illegal firearms as an ex-felon. After he was convicted, the Supreme Court ruled in Rehaif v. U.S. that when prosecutors try cases for firearms possession by an individual with a felony conviction, they need to prove that the person knew each that they possessed a gun and that they may not legally possess it. In Jones’ case, prosecutors didn’t prove he knew he couldn’t possess the gun.

A district court denied Jones’ petition, and he’s now asking the Supreme Court to permit people to file habeas petitions in district courts when the law changes in a way that will affect their sentences.

This court, nevertheless, has grow to be increasingly hostile to the rights of criminal defendants and prisoners, who’re disproportionately Black. A ruling against Jones could cut off a key avenue for those difficult their wrongful imprisonment.

Axon Enterprise, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission, and Securities and Exchange Commission v. Cochran

Scheduled Arguments: Nov. 7

Each the Axon Enterprise and Cochran cases concern whether corporations subject to administrative proceedings by federal agencies for potentially violating the law can file suit within the courts to stop such an agency proceeding. Such a change would give corporations a recent tool to evade enforcement actions over financial, antitrust and other violations.

While the Federal Trade Commission’s structure isn’t being questioned as unconstitutional within the Axon case, a negative ruling against the commission could aid in future lawsuits brought by anticompetitive corporations in search of to neuter the highest antitrust agency because it sets a recent, more aggressive tone throughout the Joe Biden administration.

Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency

Scheduled Arguments: Oct. 3

It seems as if every court term now contains a case involving the Environmental Protection Agency. Last term, the Supreme Court limited the style during which the EPA could regulate greenhouse gas emissions at power plants, continuing conservative justices’ attempts to deconstruct the federal administrative state. In Sackett, a lawsuit involving the waters of the USA — the WOTUS — presents the court with one other opportunity to advance its program of disabling the federal agency regulatory process.

Health and Hospital Corp. v. Talevski

Scheduled Arguments: Nov. 8

Finally, the case of Health and Hospital Corp. v. Talevski presents a possibility for the court to explode Medicaid by precluding people from filing lawsuits to challenge how states administer federal programs.

The case involves a lawsuit brought by the Talevski family against Health and Hospital Corp. for operating a nursing home where their late relative suffered abuse in violation of their rights under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, which establishes such rights at hospitals accepting Medicare and Medicaid.

Health and Hospital Corp. argues that the Talevskis mustn’t be allowed to bring a lawsuit to implement a federal statute in any respect.

Current court precedent allows private individuals to sue to implement federal laws like Medicaid under Section 1983 of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. The law was initially enacted to enable formerly enslaved Black people to file suit in federal court against state or local officials terrorizing them or denying their rights in a way that violated federal law.

In 1961, the Warren Court interpreted the KKK Act to permit a personal right of motion to sue law enforcement officials for the usage of excessive force. It has since grow to be a principal tool for people to make sure that state governments don’t violate their rights by not following federal law.

If the court ends the private right of motion to force states to follow federal Medicaid guidelines, it may lead a state government against Medicaid to disable this system for hundreds of thousands within the state. It could also do the identical for other federal programs operated by state governments, like SNAP, the food stamp program.

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