Thursday, December 2, 2021

Supreme Court to consider gun rights and abortion rights in new timeline

The Supreme Court is set to expand gun rights and restrict abortion rights with a new deadline, starting Monday, that could show how quickly and how far the conservative majority will move the law to the right.

“This term will tell if it’s a far-right or center-right court,” said Aaron Tang, a law professor at the University of California, Davis and former clerk of Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

Guns, abortion, and possibly affirmative action in colleges will be brought to trial in the coming year – all areas where conservatives have sought to change the law. And with a majority of 6: 3, the judges are ready to do just that.

For a decade, gun rights advocates grumbled as the court refused to consider objections to laws in California, New York, and other blue states that restricted who could carry firearms in public or prohibited the sale of certain rapid-fire rifles and high-capacity stores. …

But Trump’s three presidential appointees – Judges Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Cavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett – believe the 2nd Amendment protects the right to arms, and they have been joined by Judges Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. can strike. down state laws that get in the way.

They voted in favor of a New York hearing in which the court is asking to rule that the Constitution protects the right to carry a loaded pistol when leaving home.

According to UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, this “could mark the beginning of a new era of judicial hostility towards gun control.” He said the decision in favor of New York gun owners could have a big impact in Los Angeles County, where permits to carry concealed weapons require a “special need” and are rarely granted.

The victory of the 2nd Amendment application will “mean that many more people will carry arms on the streets of cities like New York, Washington and Los Angeles,” he said. “There are only a few hundred people in Los Angeles today with concealed weapons permits,” but after the ruling affirming the right to carry weapons, “Los Angeles can expect about 500,000 people to carry firearms with a permit.” Arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. vs. Bruen is scheduled for November 3rd.

The abortion law could also be amended. In May, judges voted to hear Mississippi’s defense of a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It was blocked by the lower courts in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion for up to 24 weeks, when the fetus is viable or able to live on its own.

After winning the “viability” limit review, state lawyers expanded their case and called on the court to overturn Rowe altogether. In July, they said it was “blatantly wrong,” arguing that the red states should have the right to ban all abortions except those necessary to save the mother’s life.

In years past, abortion rights advocates sounded the alarm when states such as Texas and Louisiana passed regulations that made it difficult for abortion clinics. Now they are faced with a threat of a different scale.

“This is an absolutely critical time for abortion rights,” said Jennifer Dulven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. Since Rowe’s time, “access to abortion has never been at such a risk,” she said.

There seems to be no doubt that Mississippi law will be respected. What is unclear is whether court conservatives will go further by allowing additional restrictions on abortion or abolishing this right altogether.

Court will hear arguments in Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, December 1, and cannot deliver a written decision until June.

The judges can write an opinion stating that Roe v Wade is canceled, leaving no doubt about the outcome. Or they can form an opinion that predicts what lies ahead. Much will depend on how the right to abortion is described.

“If they think the prohibitions on premature abortion should be reviewed for mere rationality or rationality, this is a very strong indication that the court is extremely right,” Tang said. “If it is reasonable for the state to protect human life by banning abortion after 15 weeks, it is difficult to see why the same does not apply to banning abortion after six weeks.”

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By contrast, he said, the court can uphold the principle that states cannot place an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion.

“With this more center-right approach, a prohibition like the Mississippi prohibition might well be acceptable because a prohibition on abortion after 15 weeks may not be an undue burden,” because pregnant women will have time to consider abortion. “But a six-week ban would be an undue burden as many women don’t even know they are pregnant,” he said.

The outcome and speed of change is likely to depend on Cavanaugh. He called abortion rights “an established precedent” and sometimes joins Chief Justice John J. Roberts, Jr. in favor of limited and moderately conservative decisions.

However, Gorsuch and Barrett, like Thomas and Alito, say that respect for precedent is not enough to stand for misinterpreting the Constitution. And most conservatives insist that the protection of “freedom” in the 14th Amendment of 1868 should not be understood as protecting the right to abortion.

In the past month, the prospects for a moderately conservative abortion retreat turned bleak.

Faced with the entry into force of a six-week abortion ban, court conservatives have remained on the sidelines. By 5 votes to 4, they refused to block an unusual new Texas law that bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy and allows private lawsuits against doctors who perform such abortions and others.

Roberts said the court should have delayed the passage of the law while the judges were weighing constitutional objections to it. But none of his more conservative colleagues, including Cavanaugh, agreed to join him.

The abortion ban in Texas remains in place, and most pregnant women have no choice but to leave the state in search of an abortion. If Roe v. Wade is rejected, at least a dozen Republican-led states in the South and Midwest are prepared to make almost all abortion illegal.

Affirmative action by the college is also being considered in court. In June, judges considered an appeal in which the court asked for a ruling that colleges and universities could not weigh a student’s race or ethnicity when deciding on admission. In an appeal case, a conservative group sued Harvard, alleging that it systematically discriminates against Asian American applicants.

Rather than tackling the Students for Enrollment Fair and Harvard in the fall, the judges asked the Biden administration to weigh the matter. This could postpone a hearing decision until early next year, which could postpone the decision until the next time limit.

It is also about the social status of the Supreme Court. Prior to Judge Anthony M. Kennedy’s resignation in 2018 and Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last year, the court was right, but divided over the most controversial issues. Most of the terms have produced several unexpected results.

But that seems less likely with six Conservative Republican candidates and three Liberal Democratic candidates. And the judges are very knowledgeable about the change in perception.

“My goal today is to convince you that this trial is not a bunch of guerrilla break-ins,” Barrett said last month.

She spoke days after the court split along ideological lines and issued emergency orders that allowed the Texas abortion law to come into effect, lifted President Biden’s moratorium on evictions, and upheld a Texas judge’s order to reinstate Trump’s “stay in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers.

Barrett’s intended message was not helped by the fact that she spoke to a select audience in Louisville, Kentucky, at the invitation of Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who used a narrow GOP majority to expedite her Senate nomination days before the vote. rejected Trump’s application for re-election.

Judges Stephen G. Breuer and Thomas also spoke last month to try to convince listeners that the court’s decisions are based on law and a philosophy of justice, not politics. But several opinion polls have shown a sharp drop in public opinion in court since the beginning of the summer.

“I think they may be deceiving themselves,” said Georgetown law professor Irv Gornstein, who runs the Supreme Court Institute. If court conservatives win huge victories for abortion rights, weapons, religion and affirmative action, “the perception of the court could change forever.”

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