It ended its last term with the conservative justices bending the law sharply rightward in a series of momentous decisions on abortion, gun rights, environmental regulations and religious rights that will reverberate for decades. The Court currently splits 6-3 amongst the conservative-liberal ideological divide.
So, what makes for a controversial Supreme Court decision? A ruling can be controversial for a variety of reasons, including:
- Political implications: Some Supreme Court decisions have significant political implications that can divide the country along ideological lines. For example, a decision on a hot-button issue like abortion or gun control could be highly controversial because it may be seen as favoring one side of the political spectrum over the other.
- Constitutional interpretation: The Supreme Court is tasked with interpreting the Constitution, which can be a highly contentious issue. Different justices may have different views on how to interpret specific clauses or amendments, leading to dissenting opinions and controversy.
- Social impact: Some Supreme Court decisions can have a significant impact on society, particularly for marginalized or underrepresented groups. For example, a decision on affirmative action or LGBTQ rights could be highly controversial because it may be seen as either promoting or limiting social justice.
- Precedent-setting: The Supreme Court sets legal precedent with its decisions, meaning that they can have far-reaching implications beyond the specific case being heard. If a controversial decision sets a precedent that some people disagree with, it can lead to ongoing controversy and debate.
- Public opinion: The Supreme Court’s decisions can have an impact on public opinion and may be viewed as either reflecting or diverging from the views of the majority of Americans. If a decision is seen as out of step with public opinion, it could lead to controversy and calls for reform or judicial reform.
As several of the 2022-2023 term’s most important cases have already been argued, here are some of the major cases in which we’re awaiting decisions.