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Supreme Courtroom to listen to arguments in main abortion and weapons circumstances. You need to know that

At 4.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

Abortion and guns take center stage as the Supreme Court returns to the bank in November to hear oral arguments on some of the most prominent cases of the tenure.

On Monday, judges will hear back-to-back arguments in two cases, Whole Woman’s Health v Jackson and United States v Texas, challenging a restrictive Texas law that bans most abortions after about six weeks of gestation.

Two days later, the court will hear arguments in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association against Bruen, a case in which the protection of the right to carry guns in public is protected by the second amendment.

The cases, which deal with two of the most sensitive and polarizing issues in American politics, are being dealt with by a court that had already fueled violent backlash and politicization charges before the start of his last term in office. Experts say the court’s conservative postponement during the Trump administration could be one reason some of these cases are heard in the first place.

Here’s what you should know:


The court will consider questions about the structure of Texas law, SB 8, on Monday, rather than addressing the legal precedent for abortion – including Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that the state is alleged to have violated.

The United States Capitol Police in riot gear stand among suffragettes and anti-abortion activists as they gather in front of the Supreme Court after a rally in Freedom Square for the annual Women’s March 2, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Tasos Katopodis | Getty Images

SB 8 was signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in May and went into effect in September. It bans almost all abortions in Texas by banning the procedure after detecting a fetal heartbeat that occurs as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.

Rather than hiring state officials to enforce the six-week ban, SB 8 delegates that power to individuals who are empowered to sue anyone who “aids” or “incites” an abortion for at least $ 10,000.

Critics refer to this enforcement mechanism as a loophole to avoid accountability and judicial review. The Supreme Court hears oral arguments against the law from the Department of Justice and a group of abortion providers, both of whom have filed lawsuits against Texas officials.

Texas argued that the abortion law is not enforced by the state and that they shouldn’t defend it in court. “No official in the state executive actually enforces this [the law], “Texas wrote in a 93-page letter to the Supreme Court on Wednesday,” making the injunction an improper attempt to impose a law, not a person. “

The Justice Department wrote in its own court letter that “other states are already viewing SB 8 as a model” and that “if Texas is right, no decision by that court is certain”.

Judges will hear arguments on December 1 in another case, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, aimed directly at the judgments that upheld abortion law for decades.

Court observers following Monday via livestream audio – a novelty of the coronavirus pandemic – will be listening attentively for clues as to how certain judges, including Chief Justice John Roberts, will approach Roe and Casey in this case and in the near future.

“I think everyone will be watching the Chief Justice very closely,” said Jaime Santos, a Supreme Court partner and Appeals Office at Goodwin law firm.

“Of the conservative judges, he is most inclined to protect the principles of state decision-making” – adhering to precedents in similar cases – “and is most concerned about the public perception of the court as a fair and independent body,” said Santos.

The oral arguments over Texas law are taking place on a much accelerated schedule less than two weeks after the court approves the two cases. The missile docket trial could also cause judges to make decisions much faster than if the cases were moving at normal speed, Thomas Cooke, professor of business law at Georgetown University, told CNBC.

Pro-choice activists march past the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, United States on Monday, October 4, 2021.

Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Proponents and abortion rights vendors in Texas urged the Supreme Court in late August to temporarily block SB 8 before it went into effect at midnight on September 1. But the court didn’t react until hours after the law went into effect.

In a late-night ruling, a slim majority of five judges – including all three appointed by former President Donald Trump – voted to reject the lawyers’ urgency motion mainly on procedural grounds. Roberts sided with the three liberals of the court and wrote in a dissenting opinion that “the legal regulation in court is not only unusual but unprecedented”.

As a result of the 5-4 ruling, abortion providers say hundreds of patients in Texas have been denied care while clinics in neighboring states have been overwhelmed.

Critics, including President Joe Biden, were furious. Supreme Court approval ratings sank to a new low, and calls for Supreme Court reform – already a subject of study by the Biden administration – grew louder.

Several judges, including Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett, have come out in quick succession in defense of the court. “This court isn’t made up of a bunch of partisan hackers,” Barrett reportedly said in September.

That same month, the abortion providers whose application had been denied filed another application with the Supreme Court. This time, they asked the judges to quickly reopen their case and challenge the law, despite a lawsuit pending in the 5th District Court of Appeals.

Separately, the DOJ sued Texas in federal court and won an injunction that was then suspended by an appeals court. The agency then turned to the Supreme Court asking it to block Texan law by overturning the lower court’s decision to reinstate the ban on abortion.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear both cases on the accelerated schedule in late October.

Two other cases originally put up for discussion on November 1, Ramirez v. Collier and Shinn v. Ramirez, were postponed to later in the term.


Arguments on Wednesday centered on a centuries-old New York law requiring some applicants to demonstrate “correct reasons” in order to obtain licenses to carry a concealed handgun in public.

Tom King, director of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) and challenger on a case heard by the US Supreme Court regarding the right to carry handguns in public, poses in the NYSRPA East office Greenbush, New York, USA, October 20, 2021.

Cindy Schultz | Reuters

The Supreme Court case stems from a 2018 lawsuit brought by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and Robert Nash and Brandon Koch.

Nash and Koch are New York residents whose applications to carry guns in public for self-defense have been denied. The admissions officer, who denied their applications, said they had “shown no particular need for self-defense that stood out”. [them] by the general public. “

The motion to the Supreme Court to review the case argues that a lower court ruling that upheld New York law was “untenable”.

In a July letter, petitioners argued that the wording of the second amendment – “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” – referred to two different rights. “Keeping” weapons means being able to own them, while “carrying” weapons means being able to carry them, they argued.

New York attorney general Letitia James argued in February that the Supreme Court should not take the case.

“The bill is consistent with the historical scope of the second amendment and directly promotes New York’s overriding interests in public safety and crime prevention,” wrote James.

The most recent Supreme Court rulings on firearms came in the District of Columbia v Heller case more than a decade earlier when the court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to carry a firearm indoors for self-defense.

Last year, in another case, the court dismissed a material ruling over New York gun regulations, which feature some of the toughest regulations in the country. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second appointee, urged his colleagues to hear “soon” another case of the second amendment.

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