The Supreme Court started a new term this week and it is being argued that this may in fact be one of the most important sessions in over 60 years. After a three-month recess which began after the last session upheld the Affordable Care Act — which included the divisive Individual Mandate — the Supreme Court has released its list of potential cases. A few stand out: the Voting Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and the imminence of same-sex marriage. Simply, here is a breakdown of those cases beginning with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This Act demanded federal intervention upon regions of the US that had a history of discriminatory practices against minority groups; it required those regions to appeal to federal courts in order to enact any change to the voting laws of that state in order to prevent discrimination. That’s the provision up for ruling before the Supreme Court, i.e. the constitutionality of that part of the Voting Act. That provision is in trouble of being scaled back which means 3/5 persons or payment required or other such inconveniences could be re-established. That’s being evidenced on the state level, which is why Florida now has a case of voting fraud against the GOP. Seems they got started early this election…
Next is the possible eradication of Affirmative Action. A student brought this case post graduation, accusing Texas of discrimination against white students by taking race into account on applications. This part of the law has been upheld because race isn’t the only demographic-related question on college applications. What the over-arching implications would be, assuming this law is struck down, is continued disparity between races in regard to opportunity; the tentacles of racism may reach further into grade schools by taking steps backwards to segregation depending on the states initiatives.
D.O.M.A., the Defense Of Marriage Act is up for review because of pressures from ballot initiatives in California, specifically Proposition 8 which states that marriage is between a man and woman. This is going to play out in a very interesting way assuming President Obama is re-elected.
This brings up a couple of points that may be overlooked. First, the Supreme Court is far removed from the public sphere. Also, the biggest piece of this puzzle is the appointment of judges in the lower courts. Whoever is elected President of these United States will have the power to ultimately affect drastic change on the local level with these appointments. Why? Well, Mitt Romney has stated publicly that he would overturn Roe vs. Wade if he gets into office. This could very well take choice from women across our nation, and that is why this election has very real repercussions for the public. Those appointments aren’t in the hands of Congress, and with those appointments, his wish to turn back the clock becomes a unilateral move against progress, Democrats, and the people of the nation.
This is why so many are referring to this upcoming term of the Supreme Court as huge, but still yet dwarfed by the November election for President. The Supreme Court has trended more conservative and those in line to replace the judges of the lower courts have notoriety for being further right still than those currently sitting. This implies that assuming Romney makes it in, he can push his agenda on not just choice for women, but marriage and many other issues that are up for a vote this election (like marijuana legalization). Take the time to vote this November as it may impact you more than you think.