UW law professor warns of 10 rights at stake under the next SCOTUS member

Jun 29, 2018, 11:09 AM

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The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington. (AP)


President Donald Trump will soon be charged with replacing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy who announced his intention to retire Wednesday. But that nomination has some concerned as the president is likely to pack the SCOTUS with an even more Conservative judge, weighing down the court.

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“He is the last break on the Conservative block,” University of Washington Law Professor Ronald Collins told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “If you take Anthony Kennedy out of the equation and put in somebody to his right, it’s basically full-speed ahead for the Conservative block of the court.”

“This next confirmation may well be one of those pinpoints in time that determines the destiny of our nation. It is that significant,” he said. “With this appointment, we are likely to see a new era of judicial activism, mainly Conservative activism.”

Justice Kennedy was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. His votes have primarily leaned Conservative. But there were some issues that his vote strayed away from the Conservative pack on the bench, such as gay rights, women’s health, or capital punishment.

US law is apt to take a sharp turn if the Supreme Court is weighed down with a new judge harboring an even more Conservative bias. There are 10 key areas of law that Collins predicts will be affected.

“They are very significant areas having to do with separation of powers, federalism, and individual rights,” he said. There is a lot at stake here.”

10 rights at stake under new SCOTUS

According to Collins, these 10 areas of law will be affected under a new SCOTUS:

  • Scope of executive power: “President Trump has wielded executive power without a check by Congress in ways we haven’t seen since FDR.”
  • Curbing congressional power: SCOTUS is “likely to rule in favor more and more for state autonomy. Taking the power of Congress and giving it to the states.”
  • Dismantling of the administrative state: “I think we will see more and more cases where the federal administrative state’s powers are curbed.
  • Rise of religious conscious claims: “I think we will see more of those in a variety of contexts. We’ve seen some of that this term with the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.”
  • Continuation and expansion of free speech rights: “But in the service of Conservative ends.”
  • The expansion of Citizens United: “That precedent will probably be expanded which will allow more money in state, federal, and local campaigns.”
  • The demise of reproductive rights: “I don’t think there will be five votes to overrule Roe vs. Wade, but I think there will be five votes to dismantle it over time.”
  • Dismantling of affirmative action: “I think the days of affirmative action will come to an end soon.”
  • Favoring big business
  • Ending expansion of gay rights: “I don’t think you are going to have any more cases where the court expands gay rights.”

Collins said he also doesn’t expect to see any more cases over the expansion of Second Amendment rights.

The Democrats will likely fight any nomination that Trump presents. But Collins doesn’t think they’ll get far.

“We’re in the ninth inning, there are two outs, there’s no one on base, and there’s not a very strong hitter up to bat,” Collins said. “That’s where the Democrats are at right now.”

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UW law professor warns of 10 rights at stake under the next SCOTUS member