The US Supreme Court reshaped the legal landscape in dramatic ways in the past few months, and it may just be getting started.
When its next nine-month term begins in October, the nation’s highest court is scheduled to hear arguments on the use of race in college admissions, on the intersection of free speech and gay rights and on a challenge to an environmental permitting law.
In the blockbuster court year that ended Thursday, conservative justices used their 6-3 majority to strike down
“Last term saw the fewest decisions from argued cases since the Civil War, and this term isn’t on track for many more,”
The upcoming cases come for an institution that is facing
The court, which will include a Black woman for the first time, will consist of four members who’ve joined in the past five years. The new justices have shown they are not afraid to upend precedent -- long a key feature of American law and known as “stare decisis.” Chief Justice
Some liberal scholars say upcoming decisions by the court could impact underrepresented groups.
“You have a court who is looking to push the needle and looking to move the law to the right in very stark ways,” said David Gans, a civil rights lawyer at the progressive Constitutional Accountability Center.
But others argue that the court has taken a more moderate approach.
“We have not seen the kind of radical revolution that some people are claiming occurred,” said
With the exception of the abortion case, other decisions by the Supreme Court have been much more incremental, Somin said. For example, when the court struck down a New York law that required citizens to show a special need to carry a handgun in public, it made clear that a wide range of regulations would still be permitted, he said.
The 2022-2023 court term includes several cases that will test the court’s commitment to precedent. Among the cases to watch:
For years, universities have been able to take race into account in their admissions process, which the Supreme Court affirmed in a 2003 decision. But the current court agreed to
A special interest group called Students for Fair Admissions accused Harvard of favoring Black and Hispanic applicants over Asian Americans.
“The cases may offer additional insight into where the court is on stare decisis,” said
The court will hear an appeal from
Lorie Smith, a Colorado resident, is challenging a state law that prohibits businesses from discriminating on a variety of factors, including sexual orientation. Smith, who lost the case on appeal, argued that the law infringed on her right of free speech because it required her to communicate messages that were at odds with her faith, and because it kept her from posting a statement that explained her beliefs.
While Smith has invoked her religious rights, the justices have indicated that their focus on her case will be free speech.
The first case that will be argued on Oct. 3 involves a couple that has put up a 15-year fight to build a house on property that federal regulators say is protected wetlands. A ruling in their favor could let developers build more houses without having to get federal permits and give companies more flexibility on where they can dispose of pollutants.
A 2006 ruling by the court left ambiguity around when the Clean Water Act should be applied to wetlands. At the time, four justices, led by
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