SCOTUS Faces Politically Critical Cases This Year
From abortion access to the presidential election, the decisions the Supreme Court is set to make this year will have far-reaching consequences on American life.
From Roll Call. The Supreme Court will grapple with a sizable number of politically significant cases as the presidential election season heats up over the next few months, touching on abortion rights, gun control and the fate of criminal charges against the leading Republican candidate, Donald Trump.
The choices justices make this term could ripple through the election and the nation’s politics, experts said. That’s not just in terms of its decisions, but whether they take up a case, or the timing of their actions, could have immediate consequences. …
The court’s docket includes a case about whether Idaho’s six-week abortion ban should extend to emergency rooms and another about access to medication abortion nationwide. There are also looming decisions on whether the government can ban an attachment that makes a gun fire as rapidly as an automatic weapon and how much leeway government agencies get for regulations when a law is unclear.
And there are several cases that could determine whether Trump can be tried on federal charges tied to an attempt to overturn the 2020 election. On Thursday, the justices will hear oral arguments about whether that attempt is an insurrection that allows states to keep him from appearing on primary ballots.
This will be the first presidential election season where the current conservative-controlled Supreme Court will issue decisions, as the justices already are more in the public spotlight because of decisions that sided with Republican policy goals, such as wiping out the constitutional right to abortion.
They are expected to issue rulings before the conclusion of the term at the end of June. At the same time, the court has also seen a dip in public approval and had numerous reports about alleged ethical lapses among its members. …
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who heads the subcommittee with oversight of the federal courts, said the justices know what they’re doing and will likely issue nuanced opinions that take the law seriously on issues ranging from abortion to the ballot question. He and others put the blame for any fallout on outside actors who have forced controversial issues in front of the justices.
“I think they want to cry that the Supreme Court’s politicized. They’ve done things that they knew would get to the high court, and that they then could say it’s politicized. So they have no one to blame but themselves,” Issa said. …
Three cases surrounding the federal charges tied to Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election could end up on the court’s docket this term, or are already there. …
Perhaps the most prominent is Trump’s broad assertion of presidential immunity to any criminal charges, which is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. However those judges rule, the case will likely end up before the Supreme Court. …
Another case concerns a gag order from District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia restricting Trump’s ability to discuss the case against him. Trump, who spent months campaigning against the prosecution and disparaging witnesses in the case, argued it trampled on his free speech rights as a presidential candidate.
Earlier this month the D.C. Circuit denied Trump’s effort to reconsider that gag order, setting up yet another possible Supreme Court bout.
Separately, the justices will decide a challenge to a statute the Justice Department used in more than 300 cases tied to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The circumstances for the defendant in that case, Joseph Fischer, are different from those involving the former president, but both invoke the same statute.
How the justices handle those three cases could have a significant impact on whether Trump faces trial before the presidential election and what his campaign may look like if he does, experts said. …
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(Excerpt from Roll Call. Photo Credit: Brad Weaver on Unsplash)
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