WASHINGTON (AP) — Curbing abortion rights and expanding the right to be armed in public are long-sought goals of the conservative legal movement that the Supreme Court seems poised to deliver within the next month.
These disputes are among 30 cases the court still has to resolve before it takes an extended summer break, typically around the end of June. That’s a large, though not unprecedented, haul for the court at this point in its term.
June typically is a tense time at the court, where justices are racing to put the final touches on the most controversial cases. But this year, the tension seems to be even greater, with a potentially historic abortion ruling and in the aftermath of a leaked draft opinion that seems to have led to discord inside the court and heightened security concerns.
At least one of the 30 remaining cases will be decided on Wednesday, the court indicated on its website.
Slower Than Usual
The pace of the court’s work has been slower than usual, and it’s unclear how much that has to do with a leaked draft opinion suggesting a conservative majority will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights and for the first time strip away an individual constitutional right.
The leak occurred in early May and Justice Clarence Thomas has suggested the breach of the court’s confidential opinion-drafting process has done serious damage to the court. “You begin to look over your shoulder,” Thomas said last month at a conference in Dallas.
Abortion and Guns
With three appointees of former President Donald Trump, the court now has a 6-3 conservative majority, and abortion opponents might consider anything less than the overruling of Roe and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that affirmed the right to end a pregnancy a bitter defeat.
But even short of explicitly jettisoning the abortion cases, the court is on the verge of dramatically weakening abortion rights. At issue in the case is a Mississippi law that bans abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy, far earlier than the court has previously indicated states can prohibit abortions.
Even before the leak of the draft opinion, the court seemed poised based on arguments in December to uphold the Mississippi law at the very least.
Arguments in November in a case over New York’s gun permit requirements also strongly suggested the court would make it easier to carry a gun in public, a decision that could affect many of the nation’s largest cities.
It’s not clear whether a series of mass shootings in recent weeks has had any effect on the court’s deliberations, or when to release the decision in the New York case.
Among the other significant cases awaiting decisions is a challenge from Republican-led states and coal companies that could hamstring the administration’s efforts to reduce climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. President Joe Biden has set an ambitious goal of slashing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and power plants account for roughly 30% of carbon dioxide output.