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The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

SCOTUS Shifts to the Right


America has a problem and it is far-right extremism within each branch of the government. The Conservative bloc of the Supreme Court, consisting of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas, passed judgment on a handful of cases and simultaneously weakened the already tenuous unity of the nation. 

During a time when scientists agree that we’re rapidly approaching the point of no return, the bloc voted to hinder the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the energy sector (West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency). 

Despite Indian reservations being sovereign land, the bloc gave states the right to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians, effectively taking away power from these nations (Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta). 

The month after an alt-right domestic terrorist massacred ten shoppers in a Buffalo grocery store, and another killed 22 people, mostly children, in Uvalde, the court ruled that states cannot place limits on carrying guns in public (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen). 

These three decisions infringe upon the rights of sovereign nations and actively work against protecting citizens from harm and should be enough to raise concerns. However, the conservative bloc did not stop there. 

Years after Colin Kaepernick was criticized by American conservatives for kneeling in religious protest against brutality, it was decided that a coach at a public high school is constitutionally allowed to pray after the games on the field (Kennedy v. Bremerton School District). A similar case ruled that states must allow private religious schools to access a public tuition fund program (Carson v. Makin). 

The most controversial and well-publicized case, Dobbs v. Jackson, overturned Roe v. Wade. Half of the members of the bloc have stated under oath that Roe v. Wade was “precedent on precedent” (Kavanaugh), “settled law of the land” (Roberts), and that they had “no agenda against (it)” (Thomas). 

This decision removes the constitutional right to an abortion and possibly opens up the removal of access to contraceptives, same-sex marriage, and relations. All three of these cases severely erode the separation of church and state and seemingly stand in stark contrast to the First Amendment, which protects against laws respecting an establishment of religion. 

Each case has echoed far-right, conservative views and represents a conflict of interest that judges are expected to abstain from when casting judgment. Almost every member of the Conservative bloc has ties to far-right, extremist, or religious organizations seemingly guiding their decisions through amicus briefs, donations, and familial conflict. 

More decisions are expected in October, including cases that may jeopardize the future of free elections (Moore v. Harper, Merril v. Milligan), provide more environmental rollbacks (Sackett v. EPA), and affect affirmative action (Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College). 

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Alfred Simpson, Staff Writer
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