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The Supreme Court March To The Right: Fast And Furious, Or Incremental?

KCRW.COM OCTOBER 7, 2019 – The Supreme Court may be anxious to portray itself as an apolitical institution. But this term, political questions writ large are knocking at the high court door.

The upcoming term will almost surely be a march to the right on almost every issue that is a flash point in American society. Among them: abortion, guns, gay rights, the separation of church and state, immigration and presidential power.

Also headed to the court are cases testing the power of Congress.

The Supreme Court is a very different place since the 2018 retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, a centrist conservative, who often cast the deciding vote in closely contested cases. With President Trump’s appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to replace him, hard-core conservatives now have a firm majority on the court. And some of them have been itching for quite some time to reverse Roe v. Wade, to expand gun rights, religious rights, and more.

At a time when voters seem to approve of more gun regulation, the court seems headed in the opposite direction. Before the court is the first major test of gun regulations in the more than 10 years since the justices ruled that there is a constitutional right to own a gun for self-defense in one’s home.

Court observers have long attributed the hiatus on gun cases to a closely divided court on which neither the four conservatives, nor the four liberals, were sure how Justice Kennedy would cast his deciding vote.

But now Kennedy is retired, replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who as a lower court judge was an outspoken critic of gun regulations and a strong supporter of expansive gun rights. [Read More]

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