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The Supreme Court Wades Into the Culture Wars with Cases on Gun Rights & Abortion

A new term of the Supreme Court begins this week and conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett seem worried that many of us will believe that the opinions they render over the next nine months will be the work of a "dangerous cabal," of "partisan hacks.” Both spoke out after an avalanche of criticism in response to their opinion in the Texas anti-abortion vigilante case, a decision that even many conservatives are finding hard to defend.

The six conservative Justices are also aware of polling that shows that public trust in the Court has tanked to its lowest point in decades. A poll taken last month by Gallup found that only 40 percent of Americans approved of the job the Court was doing, the lowest rate since 2000, when Gallup first posed the question.

Americans widely understand that former President Donald Trump appointed Justices Barrett, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh to overturn Roe v. Wade and expand gun rights, among other conservative priorities. So, yes, it's understandable that many view the Justices as "partisan hacks" when they so enthusiastically do Trump's bidding. Expect more of the same over the next nine months.

The Court agreed to hear two very important cases this term concerning gun rights and abortion. The opinions in those cases will tell us a great deal about how quickly the Court will move in a more conservative direction. It's widely believed that Chief Justice John Roberts would like to move slowly, incrementally to the right, but Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and the Trump conservatives may have other ideas.

It's been over a decade since the Court has considered a major gun-rights case, but in November the Justices will hear oral arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. The case concerns a New York law that requires people who seek a license to carry a concealed gun outside the home to demonstrate a "proper cause," or a special reason to do so. The law is being challenged as an infringement of the 2nd Amendment, but it has been upheld by lower courts and is similar to concealed carry firearm regulations around the country. Moreover, laws protecting public spaces from the threat presented by people carrying guns is as old as our nation itself.

The Court has also agreed to hear a case from Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which many fear could lead the Court to overrule Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 Supreme Court decision that held that states could not impose an "undue burden" on abortion rights.

The Mississippi statute prohibits nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It was struck down by lower federal Courts, but pro-choice advocates believe the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in order to strike down Roe and Casey.

If the Court strikes down the New York statute and upholds the Mississippi abortion restrictions the Justices will have demonstrated that they are quite willing to fuel the culture wars, even if it diminishes public trust in the institution.

#news #law

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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