BBC correspondent for North America
The US Supreme Court ended its term this week with a string of decisions highlighting the sharp political and ideological divisions between the six conservative justices and their three progressive colleagues.
US President Joe Biden described it as “an abnormal court”saying that she was willing to roll back legal decisions of broad precedent in order to carry out her ideological agenda.
The six conservative justices were nominated by Republican presidents and stuck together to block Biden’s plan to forgive college students’ debts, prevent American universities from considering race in their admissions processes, and allow creative professionals to refuse to work on material that promotes marriage equality .
the only thing they could do the three progressive justices, nominated by Democratic presidents, was to write sharp dissenting opinions.
The decisions come after in the previous period, the Court handed down landmark rulings that eliminated abortion protections, limited the scope of environmental regulations and expanded the rights of gun owners.
All these were also decided with the same difference of votes: 6-3.
But beyond the cases that made the headlines, there is room for nuance – there are even some surprises included – in the decisions that the Court issued in this period.
In some cases, conservative justices sided with their progressive counterparts to form a majority that halted some of the most ambitious Republican priorities — aggressive enforcement of immigration laws, for example, or strengthening state power over federal power.
The Court accommodated the President Biden’s immigration policieswhich prioritize the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes, or who have just arrived in the US.
It also gave rise to provisions established in the Voting Rights Acta critical piece of civil rights legislation from the 1960s that requires states to ensure that minorities have representation in Congress and state legislatures.
The highest court did not endorse a far-right theory that state legislatures have the absolute power to run elections, a proposition that would have given states the power to undo the results of any future presidential election.
University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck says decisions like these expose differences between different judges on the Court.
Some are more aligned with the more “traditional” and conservative legal world prior to the arrival of former President Donald Trump, while others coincide with the current Republican agenda.
On issues like abortion and gun control, he points out, conservatives are fairly aligned: “No one should confuse this Court with a moderate one,” he says, “but there is a difference between average justice and the type of justice that I think is more aligned. on the right”.
With the Conservatives controlling the majority on the Court, these divisions may come into play when the new term begins in October.
The Court is expected to hear potentially momentous cases involving US law, seeking to limit what it sees as the expansive power of the federal government.
This is a first legal challenge from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a consumer protection agency created by Democrats after the 2008 financial crash.
Another has to do with established legal precedent that gives agencies power to interpret how laws are applied and enforced.
Both in the case of student loans from this period and last year’s decision regarding how the environmental protection agency could regulate gas emissions, the Court restricted the freedom of agencies to implement new generalized policies.
Next term, the Court could go further in stripping away the powers of what many conservatives call the “administrative state,” setting a precedent that it would make it more difficult for presidents and their political appointees to navigate the impasse in Congress and achieve achievements in public policies.
Remember that you can receive notifications from BBC News World. Download the latest version of our app and activate them so you don’t miss out on our best content.
Do you already know our YouTube channel? Subscribe!
See original article on BBC
Source: La Opinion