(UnitedVoice.com) – The last time the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) made wide-changing, consequential decisions for the country was in the 1960s. In the next few weeks, the justices will decide on important cultural issues like, abortion, religion, and the separation of powers.
In the last few weeks, the court already ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees and ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to revise its procedures for how it deals with Dreamers.
However, its most impactful rulings will be in the next few weeks as the court ends this term and begins its summer recess. Many legal scholars expect Chief Justice John Roberts to continue in the role as the swing decider of the group. As a result, the reliability of the conservative court remains in question.
What are the big decisions that have not been announced at this point?
In Louisiana, a law was passed that requires doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure occurs. Lawmakers say that the law protects health and safety, and ensures that patients have access to emergency care in the event something goes wrong. In some states, few local doctors perform the controversial procedure and practitioners come from out of state.
However, abortion-rights advocates say the law is intended to shut down clinics and conflict with the court’s 2016 ruling that struck down a law they say is similar in Texas.
Approximately a dozen states are considering similar laws, or have already passed them, limiting or outright banning abortions. However, those pieces of legislation are on hold as they work their way through the courts. Abortion advocates fear the conservative court is chipping away at Roe v. Wade and will make it obsolete in the near future.
A Democratic House committee and New York grand jury are demanding that President Trump’s accountants and banks supply them with his tax returns. Democrats have wanted to get their hands on them since 2016. No law requires a candidate to provide tax returns as a condition to run for office.
Democrats claim it’s for oversight, and New York prosecutors say it’s a legal matter. However, Trump believes once they have his tax records, someone will break the law and leak them. Once the cat’s out of the bag, there’s no putting it back in. In 2012, the Obama campaign selectively used Mitt Romney’s tax returns to paint a false and negative picture of his finances.
Electoral College and States
Twice in the last 20 years, the winner of the national popular vote lost to the Electoral College – just as the founders intended it. However, there has been a growing movement among liberals to do away with the electoral college. Since there are not enough states that will agree to amend the Constitution, liberals have sought another means: to force delegates by law to vote for the popular national winner.
However, last year an appeals court ruled that electors have free-speech and Constitutional requirements to defy those laws.
The Supreme Court will also be deciding if:
- States can exclude state-sponsored tuition aid programs to private religious schools.
- Congress violated the separation of powers when it created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010 (the President can appoint but cannot fire the director).
- The Trump administration can exempt employers on religious or moral grounds who do not agree with providing contraceptives to employees.
- Catholic schools are entitled to a religious exemption from federal anti-discrimination laws.
Stay tuned as rulings are handed down over the next few weeks.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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