The U.S. Supreme Court's 2021–22 term is rapidly coming to a close. By the end of June, the Court is expected to release decisions in a number of high-profile cases that deal with some of the most important and contentious issues in American law and politics. Here are three big cases to watch out for in the weeks ahead.
1. Carson v. Makin
Both advocates and opponents of school choice are closely awaiting this one. At issue is whether Maine's tuition assistance program ran afoul of the Constitution by excluding private schools that offer "sectarian" education. Judging by the December 2021 oral arguments, during which Chief Justice John Roberts pressed Maine's chief deputy attorney general to explain why his state's approach should not be judged guilty of religious discrimination, the school choice side stands a good chance of emerging victorious.
2. New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen
The Supreme Court has not ruled on the merits of a major Second Amendment case since 2010. But that will likely change this month. At issue here is the constitutionality of a state law requiring anyone seeking a license to carry a concealed handgun in public to first satisfy a local official that he has "proper cause" to do so. According to the state, a "generalized" wish to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense purposes is not sufficient to meet the proper cause standard. Judging by the November 2021 oral arguments, a majority of the Court appears poised to recognize at least some sort of limited Second Amendment right to carry a concealed gun for self-defense purposes outside of the home. It is also possible that the Court recognizes an even broader Second Amendment right to conceal carry. Either way, the oral arguments were promising for the gun rights side.
3. Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization
We already know what the "first draft" of this opinion looks like, thanks to the famous leak published by Politico. The question now is whether Justice Samuel Alito still has at least four other justices willing to join his draft opinion overruling Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the key precedents securing a woman's constitutional right to have an abortion. Make no mistake, the Alito approach may still be the ultimate winner. But another possibility is that Chief Justice Roberts attracts enough votes for a narrower decision, one that upholds Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban (and thereby invites more such abortion bans in other states) while technically leaving Roe and Casey in place. Roberts seemed ready to endorse that approach during the December 2021 oral arguments. Either way, things do not look promising for the abortion rights side.