The future of abortion rights, gun rights and religion are in the hands of the Supreme Court as the new term begins

The future of abortion rights, gun rights and religion are in the hands of the Supreme Court as the new term begins

WASHINGTON — The future of abortion rights is in the hands of a conservative Supreme Court that is beginning a new term Monday that also includes major cases on gun rights and religion. The court’s credibility with the public also could be on the line, especially if a divided court were to overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade decision from 1973 that established a woman’s right to an abortion nationwide. The justices are returning to the courtroom after an 18-month absence caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the possible retirement of 83-year-old liberal Justice Stephen Breyer also looms. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the last of former President Donald Trump’s three high-court appointees, is part of a six-justice conservative majority. Barrett was nominated and confirmed last year amid the pandemic, little more than a month after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump and Republicans who controlled the Senate moved quickly to fill the seat shortly before the 2020 presidential election, bringing about a dramatic change in the court’s lineup that has set the stage for a potentially law-changing term on several high-profile issues. With abortion, guns and religion already on the agenda, and a challenge to affirmative action waiting in the wings, the court will answer a key question over the next year, said University of Chicago law professor David Strauss. “Is this the term in which the culture wars return to the Supreme Court in a big way?” Strauss said. The justices will hear arguments Dec. 1 […]

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