clearn.png
Sunday September 20th, 2020 6:54AM

Abortion, immigrants, LGBT rights top high court's new term

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Abortion rights as well as protections for young immigrants and LGBT people top an election-year agenda for the Supreme Court. Its conservative majority will have ample opportunity to flex its muscle, testing Chief Justice John Roberts' attempts to keep the court clear of Washington partisan politics.

Guns could be part of a term with plenty of high-profile cases and at least the prospect of the court's involvement in issues revolving around the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump and related disputes between the White House and congressional Democrats.

The court also could be front and center in the presidential campaign itself, especially with health concerns surrounding 86-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Its biggest decisions are likely to be handed down in late June, four months before the election.

If last year was a time for the court to maintain a collective low profile following Justice Brett Kavanaugh's stormy confirmation, the new term marks a return to the spotlight.

"The court seemed to do everything it could to rise above the partisan rancor," said David Cole, the national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "This term, it's going to be harder for the court."

How far the court is willing to go in any case that is likely to divide the liberal and conservative justices probably will come down to Roberts. He is essentially the court's new swing justice, a conservative who is closest to the court's center. He also has spoken repeatedly against the perception that the court is a political branch of government, much like Congress and the White House.

Last term, on the same day in late June, Roberts joined the conservatives in ending federal court challenges to partisan electoral maps and sided with the liberals to block the administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The new term might pose the sternest test yet of Roberts' stewardship of the court. Roberts also would preside over any Senate trial of Trump, if the House impeaches the president.

The justices return to the bench Monday with cases about whether states can abolish an insanity defense for criminal defendants and allow non-unanimous juries to convict defendants of some crimes.

The next day, they will take up two cases about whether federal civil rights law protects LGBT people from workplace discrimination. They are the first rights cases since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who provided the fifth vote for and wrote the court's major gay rights decisions.

With Kavanaugh in Kennedy's place and Trump's other appointee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, also on the bench, the outcome is far from certain. The Trump administration also has reversed the Obama administration's view that LGBT people are covered by the Title 7 provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex.

"It would be huge for the LGBT community to have protection in the private sector from employment discrimination," said Paul Smith, a veteran Supreme Court litigator who has argued past gay rights cases.

Legislation is pending in Congress that would remove any doubt about Title 7's application in cases of sexual orientation and gender identity, but is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.

In November, the justices will hear arguments over the Trump administration's plan to end the Obama-era program that has protected roughly 700,000 young immigrants from deportation and provided them with permits to work in the United States legally.

Lower courts have so far blocked the administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

As in the LGBT rights cases, the court fight over DACA could be made irrelevant by congressional action authorizing the program. But Congress seems unlikely to do anything before the court rules.

The abortion case probably will be argued during the winter and is another test of whether the change in the court's composition will result in a different outcome. The Louisiana law that forces abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals is virtually the same as a Texas law the court struck down in 2016, when Kennedy joined the liberal justices to form a majority.

Roberts dissented in 2016, but he voted with the liberals in February to block the Louisiana law, at least temporarily. It was a rare vote against an abortion restriction that could point up the tension between Roberts' legal views on abortion and his institutional interests in upholding even prior decisions with which he disagrees.

Apart from its lineup of big cases, the court itself could be an issue in the unfolding presidential campaign. Some Democrats and liberals are talking about structural changes to increase the size of the court or limit the terms of future justices.

The 2016 campaign played out amid a Supreme Court vacancy following Justice Antonin Scalia's death in February. While Senate Republicans blocked any consideration of President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, Trump released a list of potential nominees and about one-quarter of Trump voters said the Supreme Court was the most important factor in their vote for him.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said Republicans would confirm a Trump nominee to the Supreme Court, even if a vacancy arose during 2020.

Election-year retirements are very unusual, and the two oldest justices, Ginsburg and 81-year-old Stephen Breyer, would not want to give Trump a third high court seat to fill. Both were appointed by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

But Ginsburg has had two bouts with cancer in less than a year, including radiation treatment in August for a tumor on her pancreas. She has kept up a steady stream of public appearances to signal that she is still here. The events, she said, energize her. "When I am active, I am much better than when I am just lying about feeling sorry for myself," she said at an appearance in New York.

She's hardly alone on the lecture circuit. Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Gorsuch have been out trying to drum up sales for their new books. Even the newest justice, Kavanaugh, will raise his profile somewhat. He is scheduled to be the principal speaker at the Federalist Society's November dinner in front of more than 2,000 people.

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Business
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Museum of the Bible quietly replaces questioned artifact
The Museum of the Bible in Washington has quietly replaced an artifact purported to be one of a handful of miniature Bibles that a NASA astronaut carried to the moon in 1971 after an expert questioned its authenticity
9:34AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Abortion, immigrants, LGBT rights top high court's new term
Abortion rights as well as protections for young immigrants and LGBT people top an election-year agenda for the Supreme Court, which begins its new term Monday
9:31AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Not so funny: Trump drama hobbles Ukraine's comic-president
Efforts by Ukraine's leadership to please President Donald Trump are hurting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's diplomatic reputation
9:23AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Iraq faces political crisis after days of deadly protests
Iraqi authorities have lifted a curfew in the capital, Baghdad, two days after imposing the measure in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations
7:32AM ( 2 hours ago )
Iraq faces political crisis after week of deadly protests
Iraqi authorities have lifted a curfew in the capital, Baghdad, two days after imposing the measure in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations
6:15AM ( 3 hours ago )
Pompeo continues Europe tour dogged by impeachment inquiry
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Saturday in Athens with Greek officials on the last leg of a four-nation European tour that has been overshadowed by the impeachment inquiry in Washington.
6:06AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Democrats subpoena White House in impeachment inquiry
The White House is preparing to formally object to Democrats' impeachment inquiry as soon as Friday
6:42PM ( 15 hours ago )
Violence escalates in Iraq even after top cleric urges calm
Security forces opened fire directly at hundreds of anti-government demonstrators Friday in central Baghdad, killing at least 17 protesters and injuring dozens
6:07PM ( 15 hours ago )
Watchdog: Treasury's actions on Trump taxes being probed
An internal watchdog says he's investigating the Treasury Department's actions in handling Congress' request for President Donald Trump's tax returns
5:55PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Judge finds no bias from Jussie Smollett special prosecutor
A Chicago judge says he's keeping a special prosecutor looking into why the state's attorney's office abruptly dismissed charges against actor Jussie Smollett, despite conflict-of-interest questions
8:12PM ( 13 hours ago )
Judge to weigh possible bias by Smollett special prosecutor
A judge could decide soon whether the special prosecutor investigating possible conflicts of interest in Jussie Smollett’s criminal case has a conflict himself
7:49PM ( 2 days ago )
Peru thrown into constitutional crisis amid power struggle
A bitter struggle between Peru's president and congress over who will govern the South American country is threatening to become a lengthy and destabilizing legal battle as each side digs in amid the deepest constitutional crisis in nearly three decades
7:23PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Narco testifies he gave $100k to Honduran candidates in 2009
A Honduran drug trafficker is giving more details about campaign contributions he says he gave to the current and former presidents of the Central American nation _ money he says was channeled through the brother of now-President Juan Orlando Hernández
7:20PM ( 14 hours ago )
The Latest: Campaign confirms Sanders had a heart attack
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has left a Las Vegas hospital after being treated for a blocked artery in his heart
6:45PM ( 15 hours ago )
The Latest: House panel subpoenas White House documents
A House committee has sent a subpoena to the White House demanding documents that could provide details on President Donald Trump's effort to push Ukraine to produce information that could damage Joe Biden's presidential run
6:27PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Elections
How old is too old? White House hopefuls confront age debate
Candidates’ ages are again on the front burner of the 2020 presidential campaign after 78-year-old Bernie Sanders was hospitalized
12:20AM ( 1 day ago )
Not just Ukraine, Trump now calls for China to probe Bidens
President Donald Trump is publicly encouraging China to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden
7:25PM ( 1 day ago )
Biden raises middling $15.2M in 3rd quarter for 2020 bid
Joe Biden has raised $15.2 million for his presidential campaign over the last three months
7:04PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Battle for Trump’s tax returns pits feds against state
Manhattan’s top prosecutor is pushing back against the Justice Department in the latest legal battle over President Donald Trump’s tax returns
8:48PM ( 1 day ago )
Harris faces questions about whether Iowa focus is too late
California Sen. Kamala Harris is looking to revive her presidential campaign with a strategic shift toward Iowa, but she faces questions about whether that’s too late
12:37AM ( 2 days ago )
2020 Democrats put focus on guns amid impeachment fever
Democratic presidential candidates are reiterating their calls for gun control and urging people against continued inaction following mass shootings
12:16AM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Prince Harry sues 2 UK tabloids over alleged phone hacking
Prince Harry is suing two British tabloid newspapers over alleged phone hacking
6:51AM ( 2 hours ago )
Hong Kong suspends trains, again rallies after 'dark day'
All subway and train services are suspended, lines formed at the cash machines of shuttered banks, and shops closed as Hong Kong dusted itself off and then started marching again
3:47AM ( 6 hours ago )
Hong Kong suspends trains, appeals to public after rioting
All subway and trains services are closed in Hong Kong after another night of rampaging violence that a new ban on face masks failed to quell
1:05AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business
Museum of the Bible quietly replaces questioned artifact
The Museum of the Bible in Washington has quietly replaced an artifact purported to be one of a handful of miniature Bibles that a NASA astronaut carried to the moon in 1971 after an expert questioned its authenticity
9:34AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Not so funny: Trump drama hobbles Ukraine's comic-president
Efforts by Ukraine's leadership to please President Donald Trump are hurting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's diplomatic reputation
9:23AM ( 28 minutes ago )
US appeals court to hear Mississippi 15-week abortion ban
Federal appeals court judges will hear arguments over a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy
9:10AM ( 41 minutes ago )
Prince Harry to sue 2 UK tabloids over alleged phone hacking
Prince Harry is suing The Sun and the Daily Mirror, two of Britain's most popular tabloid newspapers, over alleged phone hacking.
9:04AM ( 47 minutes ago )
A look at the issues in Portugal's general election
A frequent question asked in Portugal ahead of Sunday's general election is not whether the incumbent Socialist Party will win, but by how big a margin
8:53AM ( 58 minutes ago )