With Eyes Of The Nation Fixed on the Capitol, Republican Supreme Court Continues Its Right Wing Crusade Under The Radar

01.13.21

With Eyes Of The Nation Fixed on the Capitol, Republican Supreme Court Continues Its Right Wing Crusade Under The Radar

While Americans have rightly been fixed on the special election in Georgia and Trump’s incitement of violent, seditious attacks on the Capitol, the right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has continued its relentless, under the radar attacks on Americans’ constitutional rights and the rule of law. In the latest example, last night the Republican-appointed justices reinstated a medically unnecessary rule requiring people to risk COVID exposure by traveling in person for medication abortion care.

In recent weeks, the new 6-3 Republican supermajority created by Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation has repeatedly put Americans’ health and rights at risk.

  • In Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s first opportunity to weigh in on abortion rights on the Court, the Republican-appointed justices overturned a lower court ruling and reinstated a rule that requires people to go in-person to a clinic, hospital, or medical office to get medication abortion care. As Justice Sotomayor noted in dissent, it was yet another example of the Court allowing “this country’s laws to single out abortions for more onerous treatment than other medical procedures that carry similar or greater risks.”
  • The Republican-appointed justices greenlit the execution of Lisa Marie Montgomery, the first woman to die under the federal death penalty since 1953, overturning a lower court ruling. The lower court would have stayed the execution until president-elect Biden takes office, recognizing that Biden is likely to reinstate the moratorium that had been in effect from 2003 to 2020. The Court had already allowed three other federal executions to move forward after Biden had been declared the winner of the election. Sotomayor wrote in dissent to one of the cases that it ““perversely rewards the Government for keeping exculpatory information secret.”
  • Contradicting the advice of public health experts, the Republican-appointed justices overturned New York’s restriction on mass gatherings at places of worship as the COVID-19 crisis accelerated. They also ordered courts to reconsider restrictions designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado, California, and New Jersey.
  • The Court ruled against inmates at a Texas prison that, as Justice Sotomayor worte in dissent, was “ravaged by COVID-19” because the state had failed to provide conditions in which prisoners could protect themselves.
  • The Court agreed to hear a challenge to a California law requiring non-profit organizations to disclose their major donors confidentially to state authorities for regulatory oversight purposes, setting up the latest attack on disclosure laws from the Republican justices. The challenge was brought by the Thomas More Law Center, a conservative Christian law firm that most recently worked with Rudy Giuliani to challenge the 2020 election results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia, and Arizona, and Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ primary political advocacy group.