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.