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A radical Supreme Court term under consideration News and comments

A radical Supreme Court term under consideration  News and comments

The recently concluded US Supreme Court term was the most conservative in a century, as President Trump’s three nominees used their newfound power to turn the law radically to the right. The ACLU was involved in many of the court’s most subsequent cases, including on abortion, religious freedom, criminal rights, voting rights and freedom of expression. Here is a brief summary of the court’s most important civil liberties and civil rights decisions.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Supreme Court repealed Roe v. Wade – the landmark decision that recognizes the federal constitutional right to abortion almost 50 years ago. The decision marks the first time the court has eliminated a right that is so central to half the nation’s equality and autonomy. It will allow anti-abortion politicians in states across the country to ban abortion and force countless people to stay pregnant and have children against their will. As we continue to fight in court, often using state constitutional arguments, the ACLU will mobilize supporters across the country to take to the streets, lobby its representatives and go to the polls to defend the right to abortion.

Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson

The ACLU, along with Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights, challenged a new Texas law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, a manifestly unconstitutional law at the time, but conferred the power to enforce the law on private citizens instead of state officials. an attempt to evade federal court review. Usually, one would challenge such a law by suing government officials who are charged with enforcing it. But the Supreme Court ruled that because no government officials were authorized to enforce it, no lawsuits could be filed to block the law in advance. Because the law imposed draconian financial penalties, it had the effect of closing all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy in Texas.

Kennedy v. Bremerton School District

The Supreme Court stood with a football coach from the public school who demanded the right to pray for matches on the 50-yard line. The decision significantly erodes the distinction between church and state in public schools. The ACLU and the ACLU in Washington filed an amicus brief in the case, claiming that the school was entitled under the establishment clause to stop Kennedy’s prayers, out of concern that they would be seen as carrying the school’s imprimatur, and risking forcing students to ask to play.

Carson v. Makin

The court ruled that the state of Maine was constitutionally obligated to use taxpayers’ funds to support private religious schools, even where they engage in indoctrination, as long as the state supported private secular schools. Maine offers residents living in rural areas who do not have public school grants to send their children to private schools, but excluding those who engage in religious indoctrination. The ACLU submitted an amicus brief in support of the practice, arguing that the use of state funds to support religious schools raised serious concerns about the establishment clause. The case turns the religious clauses upside down, forcing what was once forbidden: official support for religious indoctrination.

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New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen

The Supreme Court overturned New York’s restriction on covert sustainability and eroded the legal basis for gun regulations, ruling that states can only regulate guns today if they can refer to similar laws in the 18th and 19th centuries – even though the threat of gun violence today differs markedly from those epochs. Judges Kavanaugh and Roberts made it clear, however, that states could, in their view, impose different conditions before granting a public transportation permit, including background checks and training requirements, as long as they limit the discretion of licensing officials. The New York Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU delivered an amicus brief in the case, arguing that unregulated carrying of weapons publicly undermines the sense of security required for an open, healthy democracy, and that state and local governments have long enforced strict regulations on public carrying of weapons.

Vega v. Tekoh

That was decided by the Supreme Court Vega v. Tekoh that a person may not sue a police officer under federal civil rights laws for violating their right to self-incrimination in the Fifth Amendment by failing to provide a Miranda warning. ACLU, which represented Ernesto Arturo Miranda in 1966 Miranda vs. Arizona case, filed an amicus brief in the case in support of Terence Tekoh, who was illegally questioned without Miranda warnings. With this ruling, the court further widens the gap between our constitutional guarantees and our ability to hold government officials accountable for breaches of them.

Egbert v. Boule

The Supreme Court struck a blow to federal police responsibility in Egbert v. Boule, when it ruled that border patrol officers could not be sued for breach of constitutional rights. The case, in which the ACLU delivered an amicus brief, involved Robert Boule, who runs a bed and breakfast on the US-Canada border. Boule sued Border Patrol Agent Erik Egbert for damages for violating his rights under the first and fourth amendments to the US Constitution. The court ruled in a 6-3 decision that Boule is not entitled to claim financial compensation for the damage caused by Egbert’s excessive force and retaliation, even though it is believed that Egbert violated the constitution. The ruling further limits people’s ability to hold border patrol agents accountable in court, and undermines an important deterrent to fraudulent behavior.

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United States of America v. Vaello-Madero

The Supreme Court ruled that the equal protection clause does not require Congress to extend benefits of additional security income to residents of Puerto Rico on the same terms as all other U.S. citizens. The ACLU and our partners submitted an amicus letter urging the court to rule that residents of Puerto Rico, and residents of all federal US territories, are entitled to equal protection under the US Constitution, and that this law violated equal protection.

FBI against Fazaga

The Supreme Court ruled that the government can claim the privilege of state secrecy by defending a case alleging illegal surveillance of Muslims based on their religion. Decades ago, in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Congress established protection for people who challenge violent espionage in court, and the ACLU claimed that this statute replaced the state secrecy privilege. The court rejected that argument, making it much more difficult for those who have had their rights and privacy violated by discriminatory surveillance to prove their claims in court.

Garland vs. Gonzalez

This case deals with whether the Immigration and Citizenship Act requires the government to arrange a bond hearing to demonstrate the need for detention before immigrants are detained for more than six months during an immigration case. The Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Immigration Act does not require such hearings, regardless of how long the proceedings take. But it was left open, to be decided by the courts below, whether the fair trial clause requires such hearings. There is no more basic fair procedural principle than that the government cannot detain anyone for months or years without a hearing.

Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center

The Supreme Court allowed Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to intervene in the appeal in this case to continue his eleven-hour attempt to revive an abortion ban that two courts had deemed unconstitutional. As we continued to defend our previous victory in federal court, the ACLU, ACLU in Kentucky and Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana and Kentucky last week filed a state court challenge that sought to block two abortion bans, claiming the Kentucky Constitution protects the right to privacy and bodily autonomy.

Shurtleff vs. City of Boston

IN Shurtleff vs. Boston, in which the ACLU submitted an amicus letter in support of Camp Constitution, a fundamentalist Christian group, the court ruled that Boston violated the first amendment when it selectively refused to give a Christian group access to temporarily flag the group in front of City Hall. For more than a decade, Boston approved nearly 300 applications to carry private flags on its flagpole without denying a single applicant – until the Camp Constitution attempted to fly its Christian flag. Although we acknowledged that displaying a religious flag on state property would typically be in violation of the establishment clause, our letter claimed, and the court agreed, that where a city makes its flagpole a public forum for all who come, it cannot reject a flag simply because it is religious.

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Biden towards Texas

The Supreme Court rejected Texas and Missouri’s claims that the immigration law requires the Biden administration to maintain the cruel “Stay in Mexico” policy introduced by the Trump administration. The Supreme Court rejected the argument that this policy is required by law, and opened the door for the Biden administration to end it once and for all.

Ramirez v. Collier

Does the constitution require that a person at risk of the death penalty has the right to have his minister present, praying and imposing hands, in the execution chamber? The Supreme Court ruled that it does. The ACLU submitted an amicus card in the case on behalf of ministers who had done just that during executions, and former prison guards, who had monitored dozens of executions and claimed that the individual’s religious freedom could be respected in accordance with security considerations.

Migliori v. Lehigh County Electoral Board

The Supreme Court rejected an attempt to block a voting right for the ACLU, and rejected a request to stop the count of 257 timely received postal ballots in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. The ballot papers were kept up and not counted because they lacked a handwritten date on an outer return envelope. However, that date made no difference to the validity of the ballot papers, which were legally valid if received by election day. Every vote means something, and every valid vote must be counted. As a result, these voters eventually got to count their ballots, as required by federal law.

Nance against Ward

Georgia’s death row inmate, Michael Nance, was told that because of his unique medical condition, which had evolved over many years of living on death row, his execution by lethal injection would likely be torturing, in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruelty. and unusual. punishment. The ACLU and our partners submitted an amicus letter in support of Mr. Nance, arguing that, contrary to Eleventh Circuit reasoning, individuals facing execution should be allowed to challenge the execution method under 42 USC 1983, and are not limited to habea’s review (which sets strict limits for such requirements in most cases). The Supreme Court took in a 5-4 ruling side with Michael Nance and the ACLU.

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