The Supreme Court, after a transformation, is returning to the bench on Monday. It will now start a momentous term where it will eliminate the constitutional right to abortion. It will also work on the vastly expanding gun rights and will further chip away at the wall that is separating the state and church.
The case of abortion is a challenge to the Mississippi law. It bars most abortions after 15 weeks. It has attracted most of the attention. The court is now getting dominant with six Republican appointees. It will be used to undermine and overturn Roe v. Wade. The 1973 decision has established a constitutional right to abortion. It has barred the states from banning the procedure before fetal viability.
This highly charged docket will test the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts. He has lost his position at the ideological center of the court with the arrival of the last fall of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Five justices are now outflanking him. It is further limiting his ability to guide the court toward the incrementalism and consensus that he prefers.
The chief justice sees himself as the custodian of the institutional authority of the court. He is now leading a court with an association of partisanship. The recent polls show that it is suffering a drop in public support. At a time, the justice has become uncharacteristically defensive in public about the record of the court.
It has been decades since the court has faced a similar kind of dip in the confidence of the public. The recent poll is following a spate of an unusual late-night summer ruling in politically charged cases. The conservative majority of the court has rejected the Administration policies of Biden on asylum and evictions. It has allowed a texas law that bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. In the Texas decision, Roberts joined the three Democratic appointees in dissent.
In a variety of public appearances, many justices have insisted on their ruling without politics. Barrett said in Kentucky; his goal is to convince people that the court is not getting the compromise with a bunch of partisan hacks.