The current session of the Supreme Court is set to be historic in a number of ways. The highest court in the land has already made history this session by holding their oral arguments over teleconference. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Supreme Court to hold session over the phone, the public can listen in, in real time.
This has already had huge ramifications, leading to scholars calling for this to be a normal occurrence from now on. Even after in-person court sessions resume, legal scholars hope the live audio feed remains a feature of all Supreme Court hearings. This level of access to the court during their normal operations is unprecedented.
Court to Hear Huge Cases This Month
2020 has already been a huge year for the history books. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with widespread civil unrest and a looming presidential election, make this year set for huge news. What’s more, the Supreme Court will be hearing some landmark cases this month.
This month, the court could essentially strip all Americans of the right to abortion. In June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, the Supreme Court will decide whether a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital is constitutional. Since the law looks innocuous on its face, it drew little criticism until this case.
However, the law makes it very difficult to operate an abortion clinic. Since it is also unlikely to advance the health of patients, critics of the law refer to it as targeted restrictions on abortion providers, or “TRAP” law. With Justice Kennedy no longer keeping the balance of the court split, it’s possible that this law could effectively shut down American’s access to safe abortion providers.
LGBT Labor Laws
In another case, the court will decide whether it is legal to fire an employee over being LGBT. Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, Bostock v. Clayton County, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC both have the potential to be bombshell cases in this regard.
On issue is whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, also protects LGBT people.
Advocates of LGBT rights argue that the “sex” portion of the bill does cover them. However, it will be up to the Supreme Court to make a decision in the case.
Subpoena Powers of Congress
Notably, in Trump v. Mazars and Trump v. Deutsche Bank, the Supreme Court could decide whether Congress actually gets to use subpoena powers the Constitution says it has. In these cases, the Department of Justice has argued that the president should have sweeping immunity to Congressional oversight.
In short, this is to be a huge term for the court. And since the court’s recent shift to a conservative majority, Democrats could be in for a huge series of losses at the judicial level.