Center for Political Awareness

This Supreme Court Term was All About Undoing Democracy

The justices made racist gerrymandering easier—and that’s just the start.

Illustration: Mother Jones illustration; Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty; Shannon Finney/Rooted Logistics/Getty; LM Otero/AP

 

In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will wrap up a consequential term and issue decisions that are expected to undercut bedrock assumptions about each branch of government and create a new balance of powers—one that tips the scales toward an unassailable executive and an all-powerful judiciary. It began on Thursday, as the court gave states new leeway to discriminate against minority voters. The justices may soon add women’s right to healthcare to the list of privileges that a state may deprive its citizens, another step that would turn the clock back to a time when the Constitution viewed states rights as more sacrosanct than the rights of its people. Though the cases at issue address many different issues, a theme punctuating them all is that the Republican-appointed majority appears willing to do serious damage to American democracy. 

Two years ago, Americans enjoyed a fundamental right to an abortion. With that right since demolished, last month during oral arguments in a case involving an Idaho abortion ban, several justices contemplated whether states can deprive women not just of elective abortions, but ones necessary to spare their uteruses, kidneys, and even their lives. It was a stunning and rapid reversal of fortune for women in this country—and one that cannot be squared with a healthy democracy. 

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