TOP STORIES The Impatient and Ambitious Five - The New York...

The Impatient and Ambitious Five – The New York Times


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My colleague Adam Liptak, who oversees the Supreme Court, describes the five Republican-appointed justices, other than Chief Justice John Roberts, as “an eager and ambitious majority.”

They largely rejected Roberts’ more cautious approach to narrow cases and slow law change. Instead, the five choose to set American law the way they think it should be set, even if they have to reverse a longstanding precedent. To do otherwise, they believe, is dishonest.

With the court overturning the Roe v.
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Wade ruling on Friday, the obvious question has been: what other changes to the law could come in the near future? Initial attention was focused on the possibility that the court could soon restrict LGBT rights, access to contraceptives, or interracial marriage. All of these questions involve some kind of logic that led to the abortion decision, as both Judge Clarence Thomas and the three liberal judges have pointed out in their writings accompanying the decision.

But in fact, these are not the most pressing issues that the court is likely to consider next. In today’s newsletter, I want to focus on the controversial decisions that are most likely to be made in the near future. One such decision may occur today; The court is due to announce some of its final deadline decisions shortly after 10 am ET.

The first reason to doubt that the court is on the verge of overturning the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, or access to contraceptives coming straight from Friday’s abortion ruling. In a separate agreement explaining his vote, Judge Brett Kavanaugh – one of the eager and ambitious five – made it clear that those other rights were safe.

In his 12-page consent, Kavanaugh wrote that he wanted to discuss “how this decision will affect other precedents related to issues such as contraception and marriage.” He then listed four cases concerning these issues, including a 2015 ruling establishing the right to same-sex marriage. “Rejection of Rowe’s decision No means the abolition of these precedents, and No threaten or challenge these precedents,” Kavanaugh explained.

Unless Kavanaugh changes his mind – or Roberts decides to rebut these precedents – there is no majority who would. So far, only Thomas has said that he prefers to go back to earlier cases. “I don’t think there are five votes to overturn any of these decisions,” Adam Liptak told The Daily weekend.

The second reason to think other divisive issues will come first is that the court has already announced many of the cases it will hear next year. They tend to cover other topics, such as affirmative action, electoral laws, and business regulation.

It’s a question that looks like it will determine the next term of the trial, just as abortion did this term. The court agreed to hear two cases, one involving the use of race in admissions to a public university (University of North Carolina) and the other in a private university (Harvard).

I have been writing on the subject for the past two decades, and the university officials I spoke to are much more concerned that the court will ban their current approach to admissions than they were in the lead-up to previous Supreme Court cases. If this happens, the number of black students in selective colleges will seem especially likely to decrease.

The basic argument for affirmative action is simple: in a society where racism and racial inequality remain defining issues, ignoring race in hiring or hiring decisions is fundamentally unfair.

Nevertheless, affirmative action—at least as commonly practiced in the US—tends to be unpopular. When a policy appears on the ballot in state referendums, usually loseseven in liberal states like California. (The survey questions, depending on their wording, point in conflicting directions.)

One problem may be that traditional affirmative action has focused almost entirely on race with little or no attention to economic class. This approach likely undermined support for the policy among many white, Asian, and even Hispanic voters. His weak popular support would, in turn, make it easier for conservative judges to ban policies they had long opposed.

“The way to stop racial discrimination is to stop racial discrimination,” Roberts once wrote.

Is there a chance the court will stop short of outlawing affirmative action? Of course. Many corporate executives and military leaders support this policy, and they may well influence judges. But most observers consider such an outcome unlikely.

In a 2003 ruling supporting affirmative action, Judge Sandra Day O’Connor — a more moderate Republican appointee — suggested that she thought the policy might no longer be needed “in 25 years.” If the court reverses this policy in 2023, the current eager and ambitious majority will be only five years ahead of O’Connor’s timeline.

Two other contentious issues before the court are election law and business regulation. In both cases, the court, including Roberts, has recently leaned heavily towards right-wing political views.

Election laws. The court has already agreed to hear a case about whether Alabama could draw up a congressional map that lumps many black voters into one congressional district, effectively weakening their political power. About 27 percent of Alabama’s residents are black, and there are seven counties in the state.

The court may also decide to hear a case that could limit the ability of state courts to review how state legislatures allocate districts and otherwise control elections. Adam Liptak recently wrote an article explaining why this issue is so important, especially as many Republican lawmakers have indicated they are ready to reverse the election results.

Business regulation. Even before President Donald Trump’s three appointees shifted the court to the right, he tended to take a hands-off approach, limiting Congress’s ability to regulate corporate behavior. The current court could go even further, especially on climate policy, and rule that federal agencies cannot limit pollution unless they have been given specific authority by Congress to do so.

In October, the court will hear one case related to the Clean Water Act and is likely to make a decision this week regarding the Environmental Protection Agency. I will elaborate on this issue after the announcement of this decision.

  • In New York, Democratic candidates for governor are focused on two Supreme Court rulings – on abortion and guns – ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

  • A far-right candidate could win the Republican primary for governor of Illinois thanks to Trump supporters and Democratic money.

Chinese economic expansion beats small countries the US ignores Dorothy Wickhamjournalist from the Solomon Islands.

Ads are easier to avoid thanks to free streaming services, skippable ads on YouTube, and more. Companies and marketers are responding with increased product placement.

When done well, a little product placement may seem natural; after all, real kitchens are filled with branded products. But the repeated appearance of certain items can start to look strange. Why do so many TV characters drink this blue cap water? And why do they keep linking to the same real estate app?

Learn more about the trend, including examples from your favorite shows.

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