The Supreme Court: A Breakdown of Big Decisions This Term

The Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

The Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

Olivia Giangeruso, Writer

As the new term started for the United States Supreme Court on Monday, October 4th, the nine justices are bracing for judging multiple cases that will affect peoples’ lives and have the potential to alter the way the public perceives the overall Court. Cases with high stakes, and implications that could last for decades will be decided on controversial issues, three of the biggest ones including: guns, abortion, and the death penalty. 


The Second Amendment: New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett

Robert Nash and Brandon Koch sued after being issued a licence for only hunting and targeting, and ultimately being denied a firearm with the purpose for self-defense. Nash argued that there were recent robberies in his neighborhood as his reason for the license, while Koch argued he was well-trained in firearm safety. Both were denied again, citing that Nash and Koch did not have proper cause (demonstrate there was a certain need for possession of the firearm for self defense). Both then filed lawsuits, arguing that this decision violated their Second Amendment rights. If the Court rules in favor of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc, this case has the potential to change the way proper cause is used in state law, and the constitutionality of the term. 


Abortion: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization 

Jackson Women’s Health Organization sued in 2018 to challenge a Mississippi law that banned abortions after fifteen weeks of pregnancy excluding medical emergencies or birth defects. Both the United States District Court and the 5th Circuit Appeals Court ruled Mississippi’s law was unconstitutional. The outcome of this case has the potential to completely overturn Roe v Wade, which affirmed the claim that it is a woman’s constitutional right to seek an abortion without the government getting involved. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization could have devastating impact on those seeking abortions across the United States, and many states and organizations are bracing for this ruling because of the Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority. 


Death Penalty: Shinn v. Ramirez

David Ramirez, a prisoner on death row for the 1989 murders of his then girlfriend and her daughter, filed a petition for habeas relief (habeas corpus) in federal court, but his claim was procedurally reverted because he never raised this issue when he filed a prior petition for post conviction relief on a state level. Ramirez’s main argument is that his execution sentence should be overturned due to “ineffective counsel” during his trial, but due to him not raising his concern previously in state level court, federal courts so far have denied his petition. The outcome of this case could change or affirm when prisoners are allowed to make a specific claim in court, and what level court they should do so in.