New Supreme Court Term to Feature Affirmative Action, Environmental, Elections Cases

The new Supreme Court term begins Monday.


The new Supreme Court term begins Monday. The Court’s 6-3 conservative majority will tackle major affirmative action, environmental, elections, and free speech cases.

  • The first case of the term is between Idaho landowners and the Environmental Protection Agency, “a dispute that could redefine the scope of the country’s clean water regulations.” The court’s decision could potentially narrow the scope of the EPA’s regulatory power.
  • On Tuesday, the court will hear a challenge from Alabama to provisions of the 1965 Civil Rights Act related to the drawing of congressional districts to diminish the clout of black voters.
  • Two cases from Harvard and the University of North Carolina will determine the legality of race-conscious admission policies for private and public colleges.
  • In a case reminiscent of Jack Philips, the Colorado baker at the center of a free speech case, evangelical website designer Lorie Smith sued Colorado arguing she cannot be forced to produce websites for same-sex marriages in a case balancing free speech, religious and LGBT rights.
  • A recent Gallup poll found just 46 percent of Americans have at least a “fair amount” of trust in the Supreme Court, a 20-percentage-point drop from 2020. Public perception of the court has taken a hit since the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times predicted there would be “a lot of 6-3 decisions” dominated by the court’s conservative majority and noted one elections case, Moore v. Harper, that “has the potential to reshape federal elections by amplifying the power of state legislatures to draw voting districts and set voting rules.”
  • The editorial board of The Washington Post praised the Supreme Court for keeping its live audio feed, a pandemic-era innovation, and urged the court to adopt live video broadcasts of oral arguments.
  • CNN noted that newly appointed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson will attend her first oral arguments on Monday, necessitating a new seating arrangement for the seniority-conscious Supreme Court.



  • The Wall Street Journal wrote one X-factor this term will be whether the five conservative justices will stick together in moving decisions rightward or whether one or two will join with Chief Justice John Roberts and the liberal justices on a more moderate course.
  • The Dispatch’s “Advisory Opinions” legal podcast covered what actually goes on at the “long conference” at the beginning of the Supreme Court term along with the legal challenges to President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.
  • National Review covered another important legal story: A federal judge upheld Georgia’s voting practices and rejected a lawsuit from a Stacey Abrams-backed group first filed shortly after she refused to concede defeat in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election.


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© Dominic Moore, 2022