The Supreme Court's back in season
As America becomes more modern, Justices debate over whether the Constitution was meant to evolve, or remain traditional. Americans, from all parties, hope to see their political beliefs represented in the court’s decisions on upcoming cases.
The Supreme Court was established on Sept. 24, 1789, to help interpret the highest law-The Constitution, according to history. com. The Justices discuss cases in which changes to laws are under consideration.
“Most people don’t realize the court only hears approximately 70 cases per year. However, this number fluctuates,” AP Government teacher John Carmichael said.
Some cases the court will be addressing include Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. involving a 17-year-old transgender boy and his right to use the women’s restroom. And, Los Angeles County v. Mendez, in which two police officers entered a homeless person’s shed-- housing two people--without a search warrant, shooting one of the homeless people, both according to constitutioncenter.org.
Arguably one of the biggest ongoing discussions in and out of the Supreme Court is over abortion rights. Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, held in 2013, was a major influencer in this discussion.
“This case challenges Texas’s notorious House Bill 2 (HB2), which would effectively close nearly all abortion clinics remaining in the state of Texas,” salon.com said.
The case ruled in favor of Hellerstedt, saying that the restrictions Whole Women’s Health wanted to put on abortion rights caused women excess burden in accessing proper medical treatment.
“The fate of abortion access all over the country, not just in Texas, hangs in the balance [of the Supreme Court],” salon.com said.
No matter the case, the Supreme Court’s final decision must be constitutional. This means it’s the Justices’ job to interpret the Constitution.
“[To be constitutional] refers to the idea that the law or the act they are ruling on is protected by the US Constitution,” Carmichael said.
The Supreme Court has members with three political ideologies: conservative, liberal and moderate. This is significant because they all have to--despite their opposing views--come to a decision together.
“I think [the Supreme Court’s decisions] definitely affect all of us in a way. It’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that affect us,” senior Michael Miller, who typically sides with the Republican Party, said.
When it comes to interpreting the Constitution, conservatives interpret what the Founding Fathers wrote verbatim. They’re usually pro-life and anti-gun control. Liberals, believe that the Constitution can change over time. They tend to be pro-choice and pro-gun control, according to washingtontimes.com.
“I think a conservative would take it very literally, whereas a liberal would interpret the Constitution as more open-ended,” Miller said.
Why does this matter for students? As far removed from their reality as they seem, the outcome of these cases will ultimately influence students’ lives.
Daniel Duckett is an Attorney at Law in Manchester, New Hampshire. He currently works at the Law Office of Daniel Duckett. “As a student, you give up certain rights to privacy like your locker when the police- bring in detection dogs. Frankly, every car that’s parked in your parking lot, a police officer can go around and look in every window. Your backpack [can be searched as well],” Duckett said.
These are guidelines that have been put into place by the Supreme Court, the ‘behind the scenes stuff’ that could go unnoticed. No matter one’s political beliefs, the Supreme Court’s decisions affect everyone whether it’s discussing major issues or students’ rights at school; the court’s arm has a long reach.
The Court’s back in session, it’s probably in everyone’s best interest to pay attention.