The Supreme Court is preparing to rule on several key cases which could impact women’s access to abortions, second amendment rights and religious freedom. (Courtesy of Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Wikimedia Commons)
The Supreme Court is preparing to rule on several key cases which could impact women’s access to abortions, second amendment rights and religious freedom. (Courtesy of Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Wikimedia Commons)

The Supreme Court stands poised to issue critical decisions on abortion, a clarification of the Second Amendment and religious freedom and with the leaked opinion strongly suggesting that the Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, many wonder what rights may fall next.

Following a leaked memo that the high Court confirmed as authentic, it appears the justices will roll back constitutional protections established by its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed in 1992 in Casey v. Planned Parenthood. 

Nearly 50 years ago, the Roe v. Wade decision upheld abortion rights and prohibited states from banning abortions before fetal viability – approximately 23 weeks in length. 

The Supreme Court also expects to rule on a significant Second Amendment case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen.

That New York statute limits a person’s ability to carry concealed guns and requires that applicants show “proper cause” for a license to possess and carry a handgun outside of the home.  

Freedom of religion and the separation of church and state also count as an item on the Court’s schedule.

The case, known as Carson v. Makin, involves the challenge of several families to a law in Maine that prohibits families from applying for state tuition assistance if those funds would be used to pay for a student’s secondary school education at a school that, in addition to providing academic instruction, taught religion. 

According to Northeastern University in Boston researchers, the Supreme Court ruled two years ago that states do not have to provide public funding for private schools. However, if they do, they cannot discriminate based on the religious status of the institution. 

What’s at issue in Carson v. Makin remains the question of whether public funding can be denied to schools that provide religious or “sectarian” instruction. 

“The issue in the Bruen case is how much discretion a state has before it can grant a concealed carry license,” Business law attorney Matthew Carter wrote in an email.

“From the record, it looks like a majority of the Court is skeptical of New York’s law, which requires a showing of cause before someone can obtain the license. I am not sure this case will broadly affect Second Amendment cases. But, again, keep in mind that SCOTUS likes to rule narrowly when it can, despite what you may have heard on the news.”

The previous administration and recent political climate have “mostly, unapologetically been antithetical to Black lives,” said Andrea Boyles, an associate professor of sociology and Africana studies at Tulane University.

“There is no tangible reason to believe that the U.S. Supreme Court would act differently. By design, it was brazenly and hastily stacked with like-minded, far-right, conservative-leaning justices to reverse abortion, protect gun rights and ultimately decide all things’ pro-white and affluent life,’” Boyles said. 

“These selections and confirmations were calculated, contentious and politically ill-conceived, along race and gender lines, from the start. The idea that these decisions somehow aim to protect or advance Black babies, Black women and people generally, as many disproportionately reel from current daily, systemic policies and practices in their communities, is inconceivable and disingenuous,” she said.

Boyles believes the bottom line remains that Black women’s needs and choices concerning reproductive health and health equality matter, as do broader efforts to curb death and safeguard Black lives against pervasive gun violence. 

 “I am bracing for most of the court to toe the line and ironically rule favorably to ‘white powerful men’s right to choose’ – their right to reassert white and patriarchal privileges irrespectively,” Boyles said. 

“There is no other way to explain this, especially as it is contrary to the will of most of the country who largely support abortion rights and gun restrictions. 

“Specific to the Black community, it would also confirm and be in lockstep with white historical and ongoing thoughts and believed rights to act treacherously, as if in ownership and control of Black bodies and quality of life,” she said.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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