Supreme Court Decisions
The United States Supreme Court’s term ended on June 30th with a flurry of many anticipated decisions.
Student Loan Forgiveness
It took six states suing the federal government to stop an overreach of the Executive Branch whose plan was to cancel up to $20,000 per person in student loan debt. No longer do students go to local banks to finance advanced education; it is all funded through the federal government. This plan would have cost taxpayers more than $400 billion.
In a 6-3 decision, Justice Roberts quoted former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, in the opinion which stated that federal law does not allow the Department of Education to cancel student loan debt.
The administration is now helping to craft legislation in hopes that Congress will codify the student loan forgiveness initiative.
Many have heard about the Harvard University admission process wherein race is considered and which, at least in recent years, has resulted in fewer Asian-Americans being admitted to the university despite stellar academic and other achievements.
In a 6-3 decision, the Court decided that the admissions processes for Harvard University and the University of North Carolina violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. In the opinion, Justice Roberts wrote, “the Court has permitted race-based college admissions only within the confines of narrow restrictions: such admissions programs must comply with strict scrutiny, may never use race as a stereotype or negative, and must—at some point—end.”
Experts believe that the ending of affirmative action with education admissions may lead to changes within employment practices in the future. This is something to watch.
1st Amendment vs. LGBTQ+ Rights
Many remember the Christian Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor on that case. However, following that ruling, the state of Colorado passed a Discrimination in Places of Public Accommodation law that essentially made it illegal to withhold goods or services from anyone, anywhere, except a religious facility, for any reason.
On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision ruled that the 1st Amendment trumps the aforementioned Colorado law for a wedding website designer. According to the opinion, the state cannot force “a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees.” Justice Gorsuch added, “the First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands.”
Federal District Court
Government Censorship & Social Media
On the nation’s birthday, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty from Louisiana issued an injunction against the federal government, listing specific agencies and several officials within the FBI, the CDC, the DHS and others, in the Court Order. Those named in the order are prohibited from having discussions with social media outlets to attempt “encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”
Judge Doughty reviewed the substantial evidence in the case and commented in the Conclusion of the Memorandum Ruling that the “evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’ ”
The Justice Department has already filed a Notice to Appeal Judge Doughty’s injunction to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. It doesn’t look like the federal government wants to give up its censorship power without a fight!
These recent rulings from the courts show two important points:
- It is critical to elect Constitutional jurists to every level of the court; and
- The legal system works, but it takes fortitude, diligence, patience, and financial resources to be successful.
Our Founding Fathers knew hardship and pain in forming this Constitutional Republic that we call home. The principles and mechanisms that they provided to We The People are still intact and must be used to preserve the freedoms that so many died to protect. Our founders thought it was worth the struggle. Do you?