Opinion: The Supreme Court’s new term begins Monday – watch for crucial rulings on affirmative action, LGBTQ rights and electoral laws

Some of the court’s most important upcoming cases focus on the Future of Affirmative Action, Equal treatment of LGBTQ peopleand the control of electoral laws. The court will hear the cases in the fall and then likely decide in spring 2023.

As a close observer of the court, I find The verdicts of this term will continue to reject the court’s previous liberal rulings, instead reflecting a conservative interpretation of the constitution’s historic significance. At least three of these upcoming judgments are likely to have a profound impact on the everyday lives of people in the United States.

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College admissions and scholarships can change the course of a life.

College administrations want diverse student populations but are less clear about which categories — including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, and wealth — should influence admissions and financial aid decisions. When it comes to which individuals are under-represented and which are over-represented in higher education, the questions become thorny.

Many different groups feel abused when their specific circumstances and histories are taken into account.

The Supreme Court will hear two laments on October 31, filed by the Anti-Affirmative Action Organization Students for fair admissions. This group argues that Harvard and other schools blatantly discriminate against Asian students. But the claim is a proxy for all other identity-based preferences, including those that favor black applicants and those that disadvantage whites.

The two cases – one against Harvard and the other against them University of North Carolina— address both private and public bodies.

Nine states currently have laws this ban positive action in college admissions. The scale and focus of existence Diversity policies vary widely.

Universities justifying their diversity policies argue that the 14th amendment and its guarantee of “equal protection of the law” encourages giving an advantage to historically oppressed groups.

Affirmative Action’s opponents argue that the 14th Amendment was intended to maintain racial neutrality, meaning that all people should be treated equally regardless of their race. From this perspective, the Constitution forbids the consideration of race in almost all decisions affecting individual advancement.

The core conflict is whether the equal protection clause protects equality or justice.

When it comes to equality – treating all races equally, regardless – it supports the argument that universities must not favor applicants of one race over another.

If the Fourteenth Amendment turns out to guarantee justice—or seeks to create equal outcomes for all by favoring historically disadvantaged groups—it supports the argument that affirmative action is constitutionally sound and perhaps even required in public institutions.

The current court, with a conservative majority, almost certainly favors the argument that the equal protection clause advocates equality, not justice.

in one 2007 verdict on public high schoolsfor example, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “the way to end racial discrimination is to end discrimination based on race.”

LGBTQ Equality versus Religious Freedom

Another important case 303 Creative vs. Elenisthe court asks whether state law can compel a private company to serve LGBTQ customers — or whether the First amendment protects business owners who violate these laws for religious reasons.

The controversy centers on a website designer who wants to expand her business to offer personal wedding sites – but not for same-sex couples, as requested by Colorado’s Nondiscrimination Laws.

The case approaches the longstanding conflict between an individual’s freedom to practice religion, guaranteed by the First Amendment, and a state’s power to enforce equal treatment for all citizens.

However, the question asked in this case focuses on the website designer’s freedom of speech and artistic expression rather than the religious motivation at the heart of the conflict.

The Recent History of the Court support religious freedom indicates that the website designer will prevail.

Who Controls Electoral Laws?

The third major case of this term –Moore vs. Harper– is about the control of the right to vote and the so-called The theory of independent state legislation.

The somewhat obscure question is whether only the US Constitution controls state legislatures’ decisions regarding federal electoral rules in their states, or whether state constitutions and courts can also oversee election laws that apply to national elections.

In this case the court will decide over whether the North Carolina Supreme Court can strike down and replace the Legislature’s congressional card that the provincial court determined has been tampered with in violation of the North Carolina Constitution.

In an atmosphere of political distrust and Allegations of voter fraudthe court determines who controls federal suffrage in each state.

The constitutional text on this question is of course unclear.

Proponents of the theory of independent state legislation argue that the constitution States that Congressional election rules “are prescribed by the state legislature of each state,” and that authority is exclusive to the state legislature.

This interpretation means that electoral rules are not constrained by state constitutions, which often provide additional protections “free and equal” elections, enforced by state courts. Instead, only the US Constitution could restrict state legislatures — and only federal courts, including the Supreme Court, could review those decisions.

Critics of the independent state legislature theory argue that although the US Constitution mandates the state legislature to oversee voting rights, ordinary checks and balances that limit that legislature still apply. This would mean that other state officials and state courts would retain their usual role in limiting the powers of the legislature, which should not be fully independent.

Concerns about independent state legislatures are driven in part by two fears. One is that if lawmakers are truly independent, they are allowed to be impose discriminatory laws that benefit their party— often Republicans at the state level.

The other fear is that Republican lawmakers may attempt to do so change the final list of voters in the 2024 presidential election when former President Donald Trump runs and loses the popular vote in states with GOP legislatures.

In this case, part of the issue is trust — whether Americans trust state legislatures or state courts to oversee legitimate elections. and Trust in the American Public is in in short supply.

The year at court

The outcomes of the cases during this term will profoundly impact the lives and values ​​of Americans, especially for college applicants, LGBTQ citizens and those with strong religious beliefs.

The state legislature’s case is the most difficult to understand and perhaps the most influential, reflecting in many ways the general loss of confidence in elections and growing suspicions of fraud. I believe that this case, however resolved, will diminish perceptions of the legitimacy of many future election results.

Morgan Marietta is Professor of Political Science at UMass Lowell. This was first published by The conversation —”The Supreme Court is back in session with new controversial cases that will change the lives of many Americans – here’s what to expect“.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/supreme-courts-new-session-starts-monday-watch-for-crucial-rulings-on-affirmative-action-lqbtq-rights-election-laws-11664572895?rss=1&siteid=rss Opinion: The Supreme Court’s new term begins Monday – watch for crucial rulings on affirmative action, LGBTQ rights and electoral laws

Brian Lowry

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