US Supreme Court: abortion, weapons among cases still to be decided | News about courts

Reducing abortion rights and expanding the right to be armed in public are long-sought goals of the conservative legal movement that the Supreme Court looks set to achieve within the next month.

The judges could also facilitate the use of public funds for religious education and limit the Biden administration’s efforts to fight climate change.

These disputes are among the 30 cases that the court has yet to resolve before an extended summer break in the US, usually around the end of June. That’s a big, if not unprecedented, distance from the court at this point in his tenure.

June is typically a tense time at court, where judges rush to put the finishing touches on the most controversial cases. But this year, the tension appears to be even greater, with a potentially historic abortion ruling and in the wake of a leaked draft advisory that appears to have sparked discord within the court and heightened security concerns.

At least one of the 30 remaining cases will be decided on Wednesday, the court reports on its website.

Slower than usual

The court’s pace of work has been slower than usual, and it’s unclear how much that has to do with a leaked draft opinion suggesting a conservative majority will overturn and, for the first time, strip the landmark Roe v Wade decision on abortion rights. . an individual fundamental right.

The leak occurred in early May and Judge Clarence Thomas has suggested that the breach of the confidential advisory process has caused serious harm to the court.

“You start looking over your shoulder,” Thomas said at a conference in Dallas last month.

Abortion rights and weapons

With three appointees from former President Donald Trump, the court now has a conservative majority of 6-3, and anti-abortion rights activists could consider a little less than the rejection of Roe v Wade and the Planned Parenthood v Casey decision of 1992, which entitles the confirmed to end a pregnancy, a bitter defeat.

But even without explicitly jettisoning the abortion cases, the court is about to drastically weaken abortion rights. The case involves a Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy, much earlier than the court has previously indicated that states can ban abortions.

Even before the draft opinion leaked, the court seemed ready — based on arguments made in December — to at least uphold the Mississippi law.

Arguments in November in a case over New York’s gun-license requirements also strongly suggested the court would make it easier to carry a gun in public, a decision that could affect many of the country’s largest cities.

It’s not clear if a series of mass shootings in recent weeks has had any effect on the court’s deliberations or when the decision in the New York case should be released.

Religion, environment

Among the other major pending decisions is a challenge from Republican-led states and coal companies that could hinder the government’s efforts to reduce climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

President Joe Biden has set an ambitious goal to halve emissions of greenhouse gases that warm the planet by 2030, and power plants account for about 30 percent of CO2 emissions.

The judges can also rule any day in a lawsuit over a Maine program that provides educational aid for private schools but excludes religious schools. The decision could ease access to taxpayers’ money for religious organizations and give new impetus to school elective programs in some of the 18 states that have so far spent no taxpayers’ money on private religious education.

leak investigation

The court was the mother of the internal investigation that Chief Justice John Roberts ordered and assigned to Gail Curley, the court marshal, the day after the leak.

But CNN has reported that Curley is seeking affidavits and cell phone records from the judges’ lawyers. Competing theories left and right have suggested the leaker likely came from one of 37 clerks, four for each judge plus one for retired Anthony Kennedy.

The court could investigate government cell phones and email accounts, said attorney Mark Zaid, who often represents government whistleblowers. But it couldn’t force clerks to hand over personal devices or access their own phones without a warrant, Zaid said.

However, other attorneys have said the court clerks, many of whom will become leaders in the legal profession, should be happy to talk to the court’s investigators.

Zaid and others said clerks should talk to a lawyer before agreeing to anything.

No audience

Before COVID-19 changed things, the court would make its views known in public courtroom hearings that sometimes produced moments of great drama. In particularly careful cases, judges on both sides read out summaries of their dueling opinions.

But the court remains closed to the public, and since shortly after the draft advisory on abortion rights came out, the court has been surrounded by a two-meter barrier and the streets closest to the building have also been closed to vehicles.

Barring a change, opinions in the abortion rights and gun cases will be posted online, giving the public quick access but not giving judges a chance to hear their views.

End of the period

The judges would like to have their work finished by the end of June, although they gave their final verdict in early July for the past two years.

Summer learning commitments often mean you have to get out of the city. This year it appears that only one justice has an education-related deadline. A law school program at George Mason University in Padua, Italy, advertises that Judge Neil Gorsuch will participate.