I’m feeling bullish.
Last year, I was far too cynical about the Supreme Court. I didn’t think that the 6-3 conservative majority would make much of a difference. As always, I expected John Roberts would prevail in the end and that Roe would be upheld in some face saving decision that preserved Mississippi’s abortion law while chipping away at abortion rights. A year later, Alabama and most other Southern states have ended a woman’s right to choose. This seemed unimaginable until it actually happened.
Uncle Tom is back. He has been waiting for this moment in his dissents for decades. The Supreme Court will be issuing major rulings in this term on affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act.
“WASHINGTON — The last Supreme Court term ended with a series of judicial bombshells in June that eliminated the right to abortion, established a right to carry guns outside the home and limited efforts to address climate change. As the justices return to the bench on Monday, there are few signs that the court’s race to the right is slowing.
The new term will feature major disputes on affirmative action, voting, religion, free speech and gay rights. And the court’s six-justice conservative supermajority seems poised to dominate the new term as it did the earlier one.
“On things that matter most,” said Irv Gornstein, executive director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law, “get ready for a lot of 6-3’s.” …”
Irv Gornstein anticipates major defeats for progressive activists.
Affirmative action, which has been on life support since Grutter v. Bollinger, looks like it is poised to fall next. Back when I was in college, Sandra Day O’Connor anticipated in Grutter in 2003 that “we expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest [in student body diversity] approved today.” It has been 20 years since Grutter.
“Several of the biggest cases concern race, in settings as varied as education, voting and adoptions.
They include challenges to the race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. As in last term’s abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, longstanding precedents are at risk. …
Those changes put more than 40 years of affirmative action precedents at risk, including Grutter v. Bollinger, a 2003 decision in which the Supreme Court endorsed holistic admissions programs, saying it was permissible to consider race as one factor among many to achieve educational diversity. Writing for the majority in that case, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said she expected that “25 years from now,” the “use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.”The court seems poised to say that the time for change has arrived several years early in the two new cases, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, No. 20-1199, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, No. 21-707. They are set to be argued on Oct. 31.
The role race may play in government decision-making also figures in a voting rights case to be argued Tuesday, Merrill v. Milligan, No. 21-1086. The case is a challenge under the Voting Rights Act to an Alabama electoral map that a lower court had said diluted the power of Black voters. …”
The two cases which will likely overturn Grutter, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, are set to be argued on Halloween. We should have a good idea about the fate of affirmative action before the midterms.