From June 15 to June 29, 2020, The Supreme Court released three decisions that revealed a major shift in the balance of the Highest Court in the United States. New York Times banner headlines the next days heralded the story.
LANDMARK DECISION PROTECTS L.G.B.T. WORKERS June 16
JUSTICES IN BLOW TO TRUMP, REJECT PLAN TO END DACA, June 19
ROBERTS SWINGS COURT IN TOPPLING AN ABORTION CURB, June 30.
June is always the time when major decisions often are reached and revealed to the public. This year produced three very significant decisions on subjects that were of great import to the nation.
The Supreme Court ruled in the first decision that gay and transgender Americans workers are protected under a landmark Civil Rights law. Before this decision, it had been legal in more than half of the states for employers to fire gay, bisexual and trans gender workers. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority in the 6-3 ruling. The liberal bloc: Ginsburg, Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor were joined by conservatives Gorsuch and Roberts. The three dissenting Justices were Thomas, Alito, and Kavanaugh, all conservatives. Opinion and Dissent covered l68 pages.
Same sex marriage was approved by the Supreme Court in 2015. However, an employee who married a same sex partner could be fired that afternoon. There were major flash points in culture wars about use of bathrooms, sports teams and locker room usage that involved gay and transgender men and women. This decision protects people under the long standing 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The role of Chief Justice Roberts joining the liberal bloc was the second time he took part in a major case that affects millions of Americans. The first was when he saved The Affordable Care Act for the American people by voting against the Trump led offensive to destroy it It should be noted that Donald Trump continues to go to court to try to overturn Obama Care as it is often called. His lawyers have filed another lawsuit at this time aimed at taking it away from twenty million Americans during the escalating pandemic.
DACA was the subject of the second major Supreme Court decision in June. There are 700,000 ‘Dreamers’, men and women who were brought to the United States as children by their parents who immigrated to The United States. They have grown up and many attended college, found jobs and paid taxes.
Under Obama, a bi partisan group of House members and Senators developed a plan for them to become citizens. That plan is called DACA. It has been put on hold under Trump who has moved from supporting them at one time to calling for an end to DACA . He talks of” sending them back to where they came from. “
The Second Supreme Court Decision was a 5 to 4 ruling that kept protection for the ‘Dreamers’ against deportation. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority decision himself that upheld the executive action by President Barack Obama that established the program. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. He did write that the decision was based on procedural issues and could be raised again by the administration..
Trump responded with an angry attack upon The High Court on Twitter. “These horrible and political decisions coming out of The Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people who are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives.”
Young ‘Dreamers” said they were surprised and delighted to know the High Court Ruled in their favor at this time.
Donald Trump’s polling numbers are sinking nationally and in many of the swing states at this time. The ‘Dreamers’ continue to keep their hopes alive, counting on Joe Biden who has been a strong supporter winning the November election and making their dreams come true.
The third Supreme Court ruling was 5-4 again with Roberts siding with the liberal bloc of Justices. The case was about a Louisiana 2014 law that required doctors performing abortions to have admitting principles at nearby hospitals. The Pro Life activists have succeeded in passing laws in different states that chip away at the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision that upheld the right of a woman to have an abortion. Most of the states are in the South and Midwest. There are five states that have only one abortion clinic left: Missouri, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Dakota and South Dakota. States continue to add to the list, dozens of laws have been passed in recent years.
Poor women lack money to travel to nearby states. They often felt forced to resort to desperate measures to stop the pregnancy if they already had children to raise and feed. It should be noted that most women seeking abortions are married , not single.
This Supreme Court decision is a victory for Roe v. Wade. The Pro Life movement has a long list of cases they are bringing to abolish the 1973 Supreme Court decision that gives women control over their bodies.
John Roberts as Chief Justice voted to extend federal protection to American women through Roe v. Wade. Conservatives reacted with anger. Ted Cruz, Republican senator from Texas said on Twitter, “ Chief Justice John Roberts is at it again. This time he has sided with abortion extremists who care more about abortion on demand than protecting women’s health.:”
Justice Stephen Breyer writing for the four liberals who joined Roberts in the majority said, “that the Louisiana law was almost word for word identical with the one from Texas that the Supreme Court struck down in the 2016 decision. “
The legal right to an abortion remains a hot issue in senate races for 2020. The Chief Justice voting as he did in the Louisiana case gives Republican senators including Mitch McConnell a tough subject to deal with during the months ahead as they campaign for reelection.
Donald Trump is angry with the Chief Justice for his support for all three Supreme Court Decisions. He has clashed with him before and would be wise to avoid any clashes with him at present. The president has had a bad month in the polls. Taking on Chief Justice Roberts would be a very foolish mistake on his part. Women’s votes, crucial to his election are falling fast in all national and state polls.
…………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson