The Supreme Court went out with a bang in 2023 – before heading off to recess, SCOTUS struck down affirmative action, ruled Biden’s loan forgiveness grab unconstitutional, and prioritized the First Amendment in a creative design case. Each of these cases (save for KBJ’s recusal on the affirmative action vote) was decided 6-3: the conservative majority versus the liberal bloc. Despite the ensuing media mayhem that accompanied the rulings, however, the cases are each staked squarely in the law – not political pandering. Indeed, politics aside, Biden lacked the authority under the HEROES Act to forgive billions in debt; the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause prevents quotas based on race in universities; the First Amendment prohibits forcibly asking an individual to provide services for a cause they are opposed to. Polls suggest that Americans are losing faith in the efficacy of the Courts, but likely only think so based on the political fervor that persuades us that these decisions were not made in good faith. So, we brought in a legal expert to explain just how these decisions are made.
Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. At GWU, he is also the Director of the Environmental Law Advocacy Center, and Executive Director for the Project for Older Prisoners. Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, members of Congress, and more. He publishes columns on jonathanturley.org.