11/13/16 | Theo Teske | Regular Correspondent
On the Surface
There has been a vacant seat on the Supreme Court since the death of Antonin Scalia in February. With Trump winning the presidency and Republicans sweeping congress, Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland will most certainly be shot down, and Trump will likely appoint someone considerably more conservative. This opens the door for some important shifts in precedent.
Overturning Roe v Wade
Since even before the Reagan administration, the GOP has threatened to overturn the Roe v Wade, a landmark case that ruled women have the right to choose to have an abortion. The court is currently 4-3, leaning liberal (Justice Kennedy is considered a swing voter and has historically been pro-choice). However, with a new conservative justice bringing it to 4-4, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg likely to be reappointed (she’ll be 87 when Trump leaves office, and health issues are practically unavoidable), it’s very conceivable that a conservative majority could lead to new legal precedent on abortion.
The Supreme Court will hear a case next year entitled Gloucester County School Board v G.G., in which a transgender boy sued the school board for forcing him to use the bathroom corresponding to his biological sex. A new conservative Supreme Court is likely rule against the transgender boy. This decision would shift precedent and open the door for states to pass other laws restricting transgender rights.
Another major deadlock of the 4-4 Supreme Court was on Obama’s immigration policy. The President’s executive decision to let millions of illegal immigrants stay in the country instead of being deported left the court tied 4-4 on its constitutionality. The new conservative justice–especially considering Trump’s stance on immigration–would tip the scales in favor of mass deportation, and other strict immigration laws.