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SCOTUS: A Recap Of A Surprising Supreme Court Term And Look Ahead To Fall

Activists hold a banner in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on June 18, 2020. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
Activists hold a banner in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on June 18, 2020. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court has surprised both the left and right with rulings on abortion, presidential power, LGBTQ rights and more. Is Chief Justice John Roberts showing that this court can rise above partisanship? We recap the biggest cases of this term and look ahead to the fall.


Joan Biskupic, CNN legal analyst and Supreme Court biographer. Author of “The Chief.” (@JoanBiskupic)

Stephen Henderson, host of “Detroit Today” on WDET since 2015. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked for the Detroit Free Press, the Baltimore Sun and the Chicago Tribune. (@SHDetroit)

Lawrence Lessig, professor of law and leadership at Harvard Law School. Lead counsel in ‘Chiafalo v. Washington.’ (@lessig)

Lori Windham, chief counsel at the firm Becket Law. Counsel for ‘Little Sisters’ in ‘Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania.’ (@LoriWindham1)

From The Reading List

CNN: “Chief Justice Roberts gave everyone something to call a win” — “Chief Justice John Roberts’ rejection of President Donald Trump’s claim that his finances must be kept secret provided a fitting capstone to a Supreme Court session dominated by Roberts, who balanced his conservative impulses with a quest for institutional respect.”

Associated Press: “Thomas spoke, Roberts ruled in unusual Supreme Court term” — “Justice Clarence Thomas spoke and Chief Justice John Roberts ruled.”

New York Times: “In a Term Full of Major Cases, the Supreme Court Tacked to the Center” — “In an era of stark partisan polarization, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. steered the Supreme Court toward the middle, doling out victories to both left and right in the most consequential term in recent memory.”

CNN: “Two conservative justices joined decision expanding LGBTQ rights” — “Five years after the US Supreme Court declared a fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry, the justices produced another landmark for the gay rights movement by ruling that federal anti-bias law covers millions of gay, lesbian and transgender workers.”

Politico: “Actually, the Supreme Court Just Gave Congress a Big Win” — “In the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s Supreme Court rulings on who has the right to access the president’s financial records, numerous commentators cast the decisions as a ‘split’ that gave prosecutors a clear win but thwarted Congress’s ability to obtain Trump’s financial records.”

NPR: “Supreme Court Rules State ‘Faithless Elector’ Laws Constitutional” — “The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld laws across the country that remove or punish rogue Electoral College delegates who refuse to cast their votes for the presidential candidate they were pledged to support.”

CNN: “John Roberts shatters expectations for the Supreme Court” — “Chief Justice John Roberts has shattered societal and political expectations of the conservative Supreme Court and thrust it — and his stewardship — to the center of the national scene.”

New York Times: “For Oklahoma Tribe, Vindication at Long Last” — “The sorrow and death of the Trail of Tears were still fresh when a band of Muscogee (Creek) people gathered by an oak tree in 1836 to deposit the ashes of the ceremonial fires they had carried across America and begin a new home in the West.”

Washington Post: “Opinion: Two comforting revelations from the Supreme Court” — “Taking a step back from the stunning rebuke of the president’s claim to absolute immunity, there are two aspects of the Supreme Court decisions announced Thursday that deserve further attention: addressing the president’s obligation to respond to subpoenas.”

The Hill: “SCOTUS has walked us out onto a slippery slope” — “The U.S. Supreme Court just upheld two Trump administration rules that allow any ‘non-governmental employer’— even publicly traded for-profit companies — to deny their employees the contraceptive coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) based on ‘moral’ or ‘religious’ objections.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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