How far will the Supreme Court’s right turn go? And the counterfire?

(Washington) The conservatism of the United States Supreme Court, cemented by Donald Trump, has manifested itself this week with a withdrawal of the right to abortion. Will she relapse on other issues? How will the Democrats react?

Posted on Sep 4, 2021 at 7:31 am

Charlotte PLANTIVE Agence France-Presse

What does the ruling show about Texas law?

The Supreme Court hid procedural questions Thursday to oppose the suspension of a Texas law that had gone into effect the day before that bans most abortions in the state.

The decision, which was made by a slim majority of five out of nine judges, is “a clear right turn” for the High Court, said Steven Schwinn, professor of law at the University of Illinois.

Although “she didn’t decide on the matter,” she “shortened” her iconic Roe v. Wade of 1973, who recognized women’s right to abortion, he emphasizes.

Such a result would have been impossible for him a year ago, when the feminist Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sitting in the temple of American law. His death in September 2020 enabled Donald Trump to cement the court’s conservative majority by appointing a judge who shares his values ​​for the third time in his tenure.

This new majority initially guaranteed their independence and refused to follow the Republican on his crusade against the election results.

It then slowly reached a turning point in a series of decisions to protect religious freedom, such as putting forward “elaborate legal arguments that seemed apolitical” and “used as a cover,” notes Tracy Thomas, director of the Constitutional Law Center in Akron. University.

“The curtain has fallen” on the Texas dossier, she told AFP. Americans have clearly seen that the judges’ decision-making process is “influenced by their political opinion, their environment, their belief system”.

What can we expect from the court in the future?

The court will soon review a Mississippi bill that bans abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, six to eight weeks earlier than it is today. This time she will make a well-founded decision and use the opportunity “the in Roe v. Wade, or even to cancel entirely, ”predicts Steven Schwinn.

It also grabbed a New York law that was being challenged by the gun lobby and could invalidate regulations that restrict the carrying of guns in certain cities or states.

In addition to these sensitive issues, “the Court is also active in the area of ​​administrative law. […] and could transform our entire regulatory system “with very far-reaching implications for businesses, the environment, and so on,” notes Tracy Thomas.

For them, this court wants to “shape the law” and has been “the most invasive for decades”.

What are the democratic levers?

Several voices on the left have been calling for a reform of the court for months and advocating an increase in the number of judges in order to weaken the influence of the conservatives.

Initially “not a fan” of the idea, President Joe Biden eventually set up a committee of experts to examine the various options. She has to make her recommendations before the end of the year.

Legally, several scenarios are possible, “the question is whether they are politically wise,” notes Tracy Thomas. The danger of increasing the number of seats is “that the next party in power will do the same” and the court will be bloated.

The idea of ​​limiting the term of office of judges now serving life seems to be gaining more support. “That was not a viable option a few years ago”, but the Texan dossier “served as a drop in the bucket” and encouraged the desire for change, adds the scientist.

The Democratic President, who has so far been reluctant in his remarks to the High Court, has also cracked a murderous statement accusing him of causing “unconstitutional chaos” and “insulting the rule of law”.

However, the blocking minority available to Republican senators limits their room for maneuver, and Steven Schwinn believes it is unlikely that there will be “major reform” in the near future.

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