Full-Court Press: Apres Kennedy, Le Deluge?

I won’t try to predict who will be nominated for Anthony Kennedy’s seat. I  only vaguely recall the list of names that was floated before the 2016 election; the ones I recognized ranged from the outrageous to unthinkable.

I didn’t recognize Gorsuch then; but now we know that anything is possible, and lily Tomlin was RIGHT:

So let’s consider some of those legal landmarks that are now in deeper peril.

At the top of my non-lawyer’s list is Obergefell v. Hodges, the  5-4 decision legalizing same sex marriage. Kennedy wrote that decision, which came down three years ago this week. Now the door is open for a  5-4 reversal.

This year it was wedding cakes. Next time: the whole shebang. And as for trans rights?

Then comes Roe v. Wade. My guess is that the new court will go for a kind of repeal that will let states have their way; several states have laws criminalizing all abortions already in place; a new 5-4 could pull the triggers.

I imagine a few providers will stand up for their work, followed by some show trials,  which they’ll likely lose.  Anybody who takes that road better be prepared to do hard time, or worse.

And let’s not forget the Voting Rights Act. Already there’s not much left of it since the notorious Shelby case in 2013, and the latest spate of gerrymandering and vote suppression decisions all tended toward upholding increasing restrictions. Recall that even in the worst of the Jim Crow decades, the segregated states did not formally “repeal” minorities’ “right to vote.”

Plus, I don’t know the name for the cases, but resegregation and privatization of public schools, big green lights.

Affirmative action? Out the window.

And bow your heads for “religious liberty.” The present court just upheld the odious Muslim ban. And it took the cake. Watch what’s next.

Any labor union cases? Forget about it. Consumer rights vs. corporate power; no way.

Environmental protection? Reining in Big Pharma?

Okay, I’m getting too depressed to continue. But the list should definitely be longer. So concerned readers: send me your nominees for precedents likely to be reversed, or trends in line to be strengthened. We’ll do a followup expanded list.




2 thoughts on “Full-Court Press: Apres Kennedy, Le Deluge?”

  1. I heard on NPR late this PM that President Trump has added names to the list the Republicans gave him before he was nominated. I predict that he will pick anyone he wants, especially if he waits until AFTER the election and it shows him helping elect people.

    As for changes:
    I can imagine the draft being re-imposed for those with specialized skills, at least.

    Americans with Disabilities are up the creek without a boat.

    You can be sure a court challenge against what remains of the Affordable Care Act. (prior conditions coverage?)

    I worry about Medicare and Social Security being robbed by the “President’s Men”. I know these are laws, but if there is an budget shortage, then he might use that as a “National Emergency” to change the formulae.

    I am very worried that voter suppression will be impossible to stop in the states where that is already expanding. Here in GA, I can see early voting going away completely.

    The Republicans understand “local” politics much better than the Democrats and so the gerrymandering for State elections will continue. This will create more Red districts, especially as the US Population moves to the South. (of course, the fact that all states are “Right to Work”, now, may actually help the Northeast States get some foreign investment.

    The 2020 Census will for sure undercount inner city people and help move Federal money to the Republican districts.

    It will be harder to win appeals to stop a death sentence.

    1. Thanks very much, Free. Your list sounds very plausible & ominous. The only exception for me would be a future draft. That would come from Congress, and the Supreme Court has long upheld it, so I doubt if the court would need to become involved. Where litigation might come up is in relation to conscientious objector status. My understanding is this status is not established as a constitutional right, so whether & what kind of provision was made for it in a new draft would be up to Congress — and there might be none at all. Sleep well . . . .

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