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Previewing Upcoming SCOTUS Decisions on 'Culture War' Issues


The Supreme Court will be issuing rulings on several cases this week that touch on hot-button “Culture War” issues like the Voting Rights Act, Affirmative Action and Gay Marriage. The Boston Globe writes that the rulings over the next week could reshape major social institutions and the meaning of legal equality.

The extraordinary run of blockbuster rulings expected in the space of a single week will also reshape the meaning of legal equality and help define for decades to come one of the Constitution’s grandest commands: “the equal protection of the laws.”

If those words require only equal treatment from the government, the rulings are likely to be a mixed bag that will delight and disappoint liberals and conservatives in equal measure. Under that approach, same-sex couples who want to marry will be better off at the end of the term, while blacks and Hispanics may find it harder to get into college and to vote.

The rulings began Monday with the court deciding 7-1 on Affirmative Action – punting the issue and Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the ruling that said a court should approve the use of race as a factor in admissions only after it concludes ‘‘that no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity.’’ The Associated Press notes that the decision did not question the underpinnings of affirmative action, which was last reaffirmed in 2003. The court will likely consider the case again when it comes back around next term.

On ‘Real News’ Monday the panel broke down the Affirmative Action decision and previewed the highly anticipated case rulings to come over the next week, all of which have the broad theme of equality and how we define it. The decisions, as we see from today’s may not please too many people.

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